When I see smartphone market share reports, like the one from Gartner quoted in the Seattle Times, I wonder if anyone realises that there is a problem with ‘global’ reports.
The reason why I believe global reports are a problem is that they obscure the fact that market shares for this type of technology are not globally uniform, and can be very different between regions.
It’s wrong to assume that Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century is true. In fact, a recent article that examines Friedman’s view notes:
The world is still far from flat today, and, in many industries, it’s likely to retain its curvature for quite some time to come.
A more detailed mobile market share report shows how the market shares can vary widely by country.
It does amaze me though that US writers seem surprised that the market share patterns in their country are not followed elsewhere – even when the reasons are pointed out.
For technology companies, therefore, check what type of technology your industry is in. Is there significant regional variation? If so, do you know what the reasons are, and how can you address them?
I have just upgraded my Nokia Lumia to the Windows Phone 7.8 (that’s the brand name, the software version is 7.10.8862.114)
Microsoft has improved the user experience with features like additional background colours, and the ability to resize the tiles. They also seem to have improved the resolution on the screen so content looks clearer.
There’s a blog here that provides more details.
A blog criticising the hype around big data is something I have been thinking about for some time. There has been huge amount of discussion about big data, just about every major publication has covered it – e.g., Harvard Business Review blog, Forbes, MIT Sloan Management Review, McKinsey Quarterly, companies like SAP promote in conjunction with HANA, as does IBM, and others. Consequently I was reluctant to commit my thoughts to writing until I saw Dennis Howlett’s blog on ‘Big Data BS’, and Stephen Few’s site including ‘Big data, big ruse’. Since then I have been assembling sources to underscore R ‘Ray’ Wang’s comment that the hype around big data was reaching
the levels of SOA in the early 2000’s, cloud in the late 2000’s, and social in the past few years.
Traditionally, big data describes data that’s too large for existing systems to process
He goes on to describe the three common characteristics of big data.
Volume. This original characteristic describes the relative size of data to the processing capability … Overcoming the volume issue requires technologies that store vast amounts of data in a scalable fashion and provide distributed approaches to querying or finding that data.
Velocity. Velocity describes the frequency at which data is generated, captured, and shared. The growth in sensor data from devices, and web based click stream analysis now create requirements for greater real-time use cases.
Variety. A proliferation of data types from social, machine to machine, and mobile sources add new data types to traditional transactional data. Data no longer fits into neat, easy to consume structures.
I have put together my own definition from various others I have found.
- Big data are extremely large volumes, of mainly unstructured data, which are streamed (not batched), and which require real-time analysis
My issue is not that big data is incorrect, but that it is relevant to only a section of the business community at the moment. A Forrester Research blog shows the businesses using big data are the ones that have always handled lots of data in the past – e.g., banks and insurance companies, telcos, oil companies, large retailers, and the international CPG companies. An analysis by McKinsey shows those industries where big data has high value vs. those where it’s value is low; for me the interesting observation was that while big data is relatively easy to capture, it has low value for manufacturing industries.
The same McKinsey article mentions that the analysis was done for businesses with over 1000 people. If you look at the US Census bureau’s 2010 statistics for business you will see that businesses of that size make up less than 9000 (0.15%) of the total of over 5.7 million businesses in the US. Why is there so much hype about something that only a small proportion of the market can use, or is interested in using?
How relevant is big data now for most organisations?
- the majority of organisations don’t have the data sources for it – whether from customers, manufacturing plant, operations, inventory;
- most manufacturers and distributors are risk averse and cost conscious; the new and ‘bleeding edge’ technology of big data, and its cost of implementation, wouldn’t appeal to them;
- those organisations outside the McKinsey study that have large data volumes can easily handle them using existing relational database (RDBMS) software. This was born out at during an interactive survey session at the ITWeb 2013 BI conference I attended where even though 63% of attendees were from companies with over 1000 employees, 67% were still using standard RDBMS technology.
As the technology for big data matures – e.g., Microsoft’ s in-memory/big data product codenamed Hekaton – it may find a larger market, but the fact is that for most businesses, existing technologies provide the capability to manage and analyse large volumes of data without having to get into new technologies.
What could make big data become more important to the majority of businesses? There are conditions that would make big data important.
- The information content gets above a certain critical threshold
- Operations are instrumented to create enough of a data deluge
- Senior management learn how to work with the new issues created
Conditions 1 and 2 could arise with the growth of the Internet of Things This refers to how more objects are becoming embedded with sensors and linked through wired and wireless networks, often communicating via the Internet. As these objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it. This could create huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis and could have an impact on even small manufacturers and distributors.
But until that starts becoming a reality, the big data phenomenon is really something that only a few people need to be concerned about.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.
It used to be that we kept the important information we needed in a diary or notebook; then it became the turn of the PC and laptop to be our information store. Now it is becoming the smart phone.
I mentioned before about my initial experiences of changing to a Nokia Lumia running the Windows Phone operating system. It has been a several months since my change-over and I have been adding and experimenting with several apps available from the Windows Phone Marketplace. I have even started using the Xbox game app.
You probably have to be over thirty to remember what a cell phone was like originally, and how revolutionary it was at the time. However, when the functionality of mobile phones went from being just for phoning and texting, and added camera and then music playing, the mobile phone stopped being ‘a phone’.
Nowadays people’s lives almost revolve around their phones – just look what people do when they find their phone is lost or misplaced.
The modern smartphone has, in effect, become the new Personal Information Centre (PIC). Consider what you can now do.
- For reading there are e-book reader apps like Amazon’s Kindle or Freda, as well as audio book apps like Audible.
- The storage space on modern phones allows several hours of music to be stored which can be played on a Windows Phone with an app like Xbox Music.
- Many people rely on their phones as a GPS-enabled map reader.
- With productivity apps like Office OneNote or Evernote, you can make notes on your phone.
- Most people’s diaries are on their phone, and if you are like me, you supplement that with a do-list app like Remember The Milk.
So when do you think we will stop calling them phones, and start calling them PICs?
I have recently upgraded my mobile phone – I used to have a feature phone, Nokia E51, but upgraded to a smart phone, Nokia Lumia 710. The big upgrade though is the operating system; the E51 ran Symbian, the Lumia runs Windows Phone 7 (actually it’s 7.5, Mango). Getting used to the physical phone, from one with real keys to one with a keyboard display, wasn’t the biggest adjustment, but getting used to the new operating system with its new way of doing things, actually doing everything, was an enormous challenge.
This change in the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) was enormous. I think the last time I had to adjust to such a significant UI and UX was when I changed from a PC running DOS to one that ran Windows. You get to learn to do things a certain way, and then with the new operating system you discover that in order to learn about the new things you have to unlearn the old ones.
It probably took me a week to get used to the new UI (keyboard etc), but longer to become familiar with the UX (e.g. how the keyboard works in different situations). However, after I got used to doing things differently, I began to appreciate the new things that I couldn’t do before. Microsoft’s integration of Windows Phone with its Internet services and Office web applications is amazing. I am referring to how you can use SkyDrive to store not only pictures you take with the phone, but also notes and reminders you can create using the web version of Windows OneNote. You can also upload Word and Excel files to SkyDrive and read them on the phone.
As a phone, Nokia have done a great design and engineering job on the Lumia. Combine that with the capabilities of Office and other Microsoft software, and the Windows Phone is the best business-oriented phone I have seen. The iPhone is great for individuals, but if you work in a business environment where Microsoft predominates, Windows Phone is far better suited for your needs.
From a social point of view, Windows Phone allows you to share photos to Facebook very easily (Microsoft’s purchase of Facebook shares probably helped that) as well as other social networks like Twitter. There is also a very useful feature in contact management – Windows Phone allows you to combine your standard contact details with other details that the same person may logged via your phone elsewhere. For example, I could combine people’s Outlook contact details with their Google email address and Twitter handle. The only major weakness though is that there is no way to easily send someone’s contact card via an SMS (text message).
Windows Phone also allows you to combine calendars; so I can see my work-related Outlook Calendar and my personal Google Calendar appointments in one phone calendar view.
There is an app store, the Market Place, where you can download free and paid-for apps. The apps I really needed – e.g. for Twitter, Evernote, RememberTheMilk – I could find on the Market Place. I also found that Amazon provide a free Kindle app for the Windows Phone, so for the first time I have started considering Kindle books.
If I was interested in games, I might be able to say something about the Xbox features on the Lumia Windows Phone, but as I am not, I won’t. The music apps – Microsoft’s Zune, and Nokia Music – work well together and I found it very easy to use. But you do have to download Zune to your PC to in order to sync the music between your PC and the phone.
In sumary, I like the Nokia Lumia and am very glad I got it. I also think Microsoft have done a great job with Windows Phone in terms of its look-and-feel and general usability.
Anyone else got some comments?