BranchInfo 2010 BranchInfo 2010 BA

Monday, November 22, 2010

Facebook Messages - Ripple Time

Facebook announced another new service last week, Messages - endowing Facebook users with a brand new e-mail address that Facebook hopes you will use for... well, everything.  Kind of a messaging integrator and aggregator.

But there is a bigger, far more significant Ripple here, and I'm not talking about my relaxation beverage of choice while using Facebook.

And that Ripple is AUTHENTICATION.  E-mail attached to a Facebook account is authenticated.  It's YOU.  No (theoretically) spoofing.

And that, not aggregation, is what is truly missing from today's messaging.  And authentication is what will symbolize its next major evolution.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Samsung Ultra Mobile PCs

We've been featuring the Samsung Ultra Q1 in a series on primary site analysis in GIS on our banking and financial services site.  Here is #3 in the series.  This is our idea of touchscreen computing, running XP SP3, 2GB of RAM, and yes of course it does Flash - and has a very bright 7 inch screen.


Back in the day... Site work used to be so much... work.

Trudging around, filling out a site questionnaire longhand that would only need to be transferred to a computer later. Then, brought step by step into a spreadsheet, a database.

Then finally into desktop GIS, ultimately to be integrated with the existing network.

Fumbling for a camera to take photos. Mumbling voice notes into a hand-held voice recorder.  Scrambling on the cellphone to relay resultsWorst of all, dropping the notebook PC you brought out with you, ostensibly to save a little time.

No more.  Now we do it all on the Samsung Ultra Mobile PC.  On one tablet device, I can do it all - photos, voice, full Excel spreadsheet, even ArcGIS.

Suddenly, what used to take forever and was no fun at all is now made quick, easy, fast.  Work has become a pleasure again.  I can collect all the rich data I need in every way I need literally in the palm of my hand.

And integrate my field work with the network in real time.

Not to mention that tablet computing is a blast, and definitely the next Big Thing (witness the IPad).  
However - unlike the IPad, this Samsung has an integrated QWERTY keyboard - and more importantly, a full blown OS (Windows XP SP3), a powerful mobile CPU, and fully 2GB of RAM.  And if you are not quite as literate texting as your kids are, you can write longhand right onto the PC using a stylus and an input area, and the handwriting recognition kicks in.

What a joy it is to gather the info digitally, once,
into an Excel spreadsheet...
then pull that into ArcGIS...
integrate it with the existing network...
analyze the impact on that network...
compare it with other site options... and
distribute the information throughout the organization and to partners before I even get back into the car to drive to the next site.

We've been using these Samsung UMPCs for over three years now, and we love them.  More so, we're in love with tablet computing.  

So much so, we just bought one of Samsung's new 40 inch touchscreens.

Now, I just have to find a way to mount it into my vehicle.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Facebook Deals Pat Hand

Facebook announced Deals yesterday, their late-to-the-game piggyback upon Facebook Places.  A pat hand, because the entry by this giant player throws the gauntlet down at Foursquare.

But mostly, pat because while Foursquare is focused on pushing location-based offers to consumers who actually care about and use the service expressly for that purpose, the vast majority of Facebook users will not even know Deals (or other Apps) is there, let alone use it or find it valuable.

It will be interesting to see how Gap, Starbucks and the 20 other retailers now offering Deals do.

Most likely, they will need to reshuffle - a very recent Pew Internet study shows that only 1 in 100 Internet users used a service like Deals on any given day, and usage skews away from women, who do most of America's shopping.

That is still an awful lot of people, but given the late entry, all of the security concerns, and the lack of focus - well, typically, winners cash the chips, and losers say "Deal."  Or will that huge underlying Facebook user base make the difference?

Photo courtesy of PC World