Friday, December 10, 2004

ETS: Leading and bleeding edge technovista

This technovista was a mish-mash of cool stuff that didn't really fit anywhere else. The format was a bit different too, as we had speakers from Intel Labs and Microsoft Labs who presented stuff that wasn't productized, so there was no voting on them.

Rick Benoit of Intel spoke on the universal 3D project, or U3D, which I briefly posted about earlier via my Blackberry. The goal is to share 3D data in any app. U3D is a JPEG for 3D graphics. The group faced many challenges: bandwidth, skills, no repurpose path, and a fragmented industry. Last week Adobe announced that Acrobat 7.0 would integrate U3D. As I indicated previously, this was a truly impressive demo. The creator controls exactly what information and features from their 3D design gets transferred to U3D, so you can limit people's ability to reverse engineer your work. Rick sees 3D being as common as 2D in 3-5 years. It should be an ECMA standard shortly, and an ISO standard in the first half of 2006.

Ed Simnett from Microsoft talked about Microsoft's collaboration vision and Istanbul, which has integrated IM and telephony. The four big areas are integrated communications, collaborative work spaces, access to information and people, and people driven processes. He threw up an infrastructure slide that showed a shared collaboration layer containing presence, rights management, workflow, and personalization. He also had a bullseye slide with identity in the middle, surrounded by presence and context, surrounded by data, voice, video, email, and IM, surrounded by information agents, processes, and workspaces. MS is very interested in information agents, but they have a long way to go. He then demo'd Istanbul, which is kind of cool, but not that much different some products from other vendors I've seen.

OpTier -- transaction QoS. This is an interesting product. The inability to assure SLA's leads to overprovisioning. Transaction visibility is obscured, and all transactions are treated the same. OpTier enables you to track, classify, and prioritize workloads. It consists of a profiler, a policy manager, and a workload monitor. The profiler is basically a transaction sniffer. Just being able to map all your transactions and then tie them back to business processes would be very beneficial, I think. I=3.4, B=3.8, P=3.3

Virtual Mirrors -- They easily won this technovista, and I think they are a shoo-in for best in show. One of the security vendors would have to be just tremendous this morning to knock them off their perch. Virtual Mirrors' goal is to enable retailers to offer custom clothes at the same price as off the rack. They define the 3D tailoring relationship between body points and clothing points. It is a learning system that exhibits continual improvement. Their goal is to flop the clothes market from make then sell to sell then make, which is the Dell model. They will sell the outputs, not the technology. The retailer handles all the physical stuff. Virtual Mirrors takes the 3D model and generates the pattern pieces, which it passes back to the retailer. You can see how clothes will look on you before you buy. They demonstrated this with a Forrester staffer, who was scanned in London. They handed her her new suit during lunch, and it fit her beautifully, looking just like the virtual clothes did on the virtual staffer. I=4.5, B=4.4, P=3.9

N-site -- is designed to handle the dynamically changing processes that ERP can't handle. It has a predictive workflow engine that learns over time and enables anyone at any part of the process to change the workflow on the fly. So, you don't have to spend a ton of time building workflows initially, because you create and modify them as you go. It's a hosted service, and the presenter implied that it cost $1.25/day, which I find hard to believe. Maybe that's per person or something. I=4, B=4, P=4

N-tara -- nPowered is their presentation tool. This is a way cool way to assemble non-linear presentations using all sorts of multimedia, office apps, etc. I=3.8, B=3.8, P=4.2

Panel: OpTier was asked why not on demand infrastructure instead. He said it wasn't really ready today, that it required rip & replace. The N-site guy says it is real now, but that's because he's using a hosted environment. OpTier is talking about within the corporation. Virtual Mirrors emphasized the security of the body models. You control your model. Nsite said that he got less pushback about critical information in a hosted environment when he talked about ADP and payroll information.

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