26 November 2010

Fed up of wonky Wi-fi? Then join our Facebook Group now!


Yesterday we kicked off our campaign Say No to Wi-fi NotSpots, where with your help, we're waging war against failing Wi-fi hotspots. Have you had it up to your eyeballs with wonky Wi-fi when you're on the go? If the answer's yes, then join our Facebook Group, and show Wi-fi providers that you want something better.

We want your Wi-fi NotSpot horror stories too. We've already heard tales of nurses bombarded by patients desperate to get a Facebook fix, and the woeful state of Wi-fi some of our readers find in fast food and hotel chains.
If you're sat somewhere still waiting for this page to load because of a tardy connection, then give us a shout on the Facebook Group or tweet us @electricpig, dropping in your location and the provider with the hashtag #notspot.
Join the digital march, give us your gripes, and help us put pressure on the providers to give us a better service!

Microsoft Reveals Its Cloud Business Strategy

Cloud Computing Journal
A few days ago, Microsoft published The Economics of the Cloud, a whitepaper that has so far not gotten nearly as much attention or consideration as it deserves. Perhaps this indifference is due to a collective freshman flashback on the dreaded "Econ 101" or, to skepticism about Microsoft's importance in the new world of cloud computing. Either way, it is unfortunate because the paper presents some startling new data about the cloud, and, not entirely intentionally, reveals the company's cloud strategy at a level of nuance that we have not seen before.
read more

25 November 2010

Feature: Windows Phone 7: The 10 features Microsoft should add ASAP

Ars Technica

I've been using Windows Phone 7 full-time for about a month now, and I like it a great deal. It's a very livable operating system that's been thoughtfully designed and well put-together. So much so that it's almost a surprise that it came from Microsoft.
But perfect it ain't, and there's a lot Microsoft could do to make using Windows Phone 7 even better.

22 November 2010

Increase Enterprise iPad Utilization by 20%

Although I don’t have any data or studies to prove this, I have a hunch that iPad utilization in enterprises could be enhanced by at least 10% and perhaps as much as 20% by extending its physical accessibility.
You’re probably aware that iPad (without a case) is a slippery device. And while you can get far better grip on it when used with a case, it’s still not ideal in certain work environments. In fact, some cases in certain realms actually create counter-productive outcomes. Desktop stands and docking solutions provide some degree of improved utilization, but only for office workers. Unfortunately a significant crop of information workers don’t work at desks and many who work with information, also use their hands.
Increasing Accessibility
image iPad use, and the benefits that go along with this new device in context with the emerging app-centric enterprise, can flourish in organizations if you add one additional level of agility –
the ability to stick the iPad to a solid surface.
A little company in Melbourne, Australia has had similar thoughts and has created a system for sticking up iPads where they can become more accessible and utilized more effectively. It’s line of Wallee products include snap-on cases (hard shell plastic and very protective) and attachment accessories designed for a wide variety of environments.
Wallee is based on a simple design – a standardized wall “button” that really isn’t required for walls at all. This little fastening button can be mounted on just about anything you can imagine; their customer photos clearly show some creativity with this mounting device and the new ideas emerging in the Wallee lab are impressive.
Wallee is simple, smart, and blends well with almost every environment. That’s the key – finding ideas and ways where the synergy of a particular environment exposes the power of the magical iPad. This is more about techno-chemistry and less about the individual parts – Wallee and iPad.
image As I’ve written in the past (see “iPad in Business: It’s All About Utility”), iPad is well-versed in creating unique experiences. Wallee is equally well designed to allow those experiences to take happen in places that are environmentally challenged.
For example… every health club and corporate health facility should have a few Wallee’s available for members. Setting aside the benefit of using some of the clever iPad exercise tracking systems, there are other business benefits that aren’t so obvious such as employees staying on top of important activities easily, or the decreased likelihood that an iPad will be damaged in a workout center.
Imagine these scenarios just in the hospitality industry. Don’t get me started on health care.
  • Host/hostess workstation; limited workspace, constantly mobile.
  • Housekeepers; constantly mobile, iPad affixed to the cleaning cart; used to track quality, tasks, checklists.
  • Events and conferences staff; hang on wall between shifts; seamless flow of knowledge throughout the day.
  • Resort hotel security; mount in vehicles, golf carts.
  • Head chef; always in the kitchen; rarely at a desk, but in need of information about food supplies, schedules, reservations.
  • Business center or concierge; mounted on counter for guests.
Businesses need to think outside the box to envision how to embrace iPad in specific physical environments.
Anywhere you see clipboards hanging on a wall – that’s a clue where Wallee-affixed iPads should be hanging instead of this centuries-old device.

19 November 2010

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8: iPad dock revealed!

The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8. Do iPad docks come much more bonkers than this? We doubt it. B&O have hatched a dock specifically targeting Apple’s tablet, but also catering for iPhone and iPod, and it looks like it’s left over from the set of 2001. Read on for more photos and the full details.

The selling point for the BeoSound 8 is that it can take the iPad, along with the iPhone, iPods and everything else. There’s the docking plug for Apple devices, but there’s also a line in, and USB input.

The white speaker discs are conical behind, and you can slot a bunch of different colours onto these white cones. The two plate-like speaker fronts are actually floating, mounted on an aluminium bridge, so the base of the disc doesn’t actually touch the surface the BeoSound 8 is placed on.

The central control is the glowing aluminium disc, and there’s also a remote that mirrors the design of the BeoSound 8 control. If you’re a Bang & Olufsen addict, there’s some good news for you here too – the BeoSound 8 is compatible with all other Bang & Olufsen remote controls, the Bang & Olufsen alarm clock, and best of all for moneybags music fans, if you’ve got a Bang & Olufsen phone you can turn the volume down on the BeoSound 8 via your mobile.
The speakers are active two way speakers, which means that in the BeoSound 8 there’s a four drive units and four amplifiers. It’s delivered with a wall bracket, and there’s a positioning control which means you can tell the system where in the room you’ve put the BeoSound 8 and it will adjust its acoustics to suit the place best. Now, are you ready for the BeoSound 8 price tag? Deep breaths please….. £895.


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Ingram Micro Cloud – Ingram Micro Takes Cloud Computing Strategy Online

Distributor furthers its cloud strategy with new Ingram Micro Cloud partner enablement platform, Cloud Services Network and online Cloud Marketplace

SANTA ANA, Calif., Nov. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Expanding its leadership and visibility as a master aggregator of IT services, Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE:IM) is pleased to announce the Ingram Micro Cloud.
Referred to as the epicenter of the distributor’s successful and growing IT services strategy, the new partner enablement platform, which includes the new partner website www.ingrammicrocloud.com, as well as the Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network and online Cloud Marketplace, is being introduced to accelerate adoption of cloud computing within the IT channel.
“Ingram Micro Cloud is a growth catalyst for the IT industry and will help alleviate the fear and uncertainty many channel partners have around cloud computing,” says Renee Bergeron, vice president, managed services and cloud computing, Ingram Micro North America. “Focused on education, training and sales enablement, Ingram Micro Cloud simplifies cloud computing from all angles and gives channel partners both a technical advantage and a sizable business advantage when it comes to delivering cloud services.”
Available to channel partners in the U.S. and Canada, Ingram Micro Cloud is the go-to business and education resource for solutions providers and managed service providers (MSPs) looking to establish and grow their cloud computing services, says Bergeron. “The resources, services and support offered as part of Ingram Micro Cloud were selected based on the feedback of our channel partners,” she explains.
New Resources, Online Marketplace and Services Network Work Together to Simplify Cloud Services
Ingram Micro Cloud provides several business, sales, marketing and technical resources, including a single-source, onlineCloud Marketplace. The Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace features detailed information on a growing number of cloud computing solutions and services from Ingram Micro hardware and software vendors, Ingram Micro Seismic vendors, new cloud computing vendors on Ingram Micro’s line card, as well as Ingram Micro cloud computing affiliate vendors and strategic alliances.
“The new online Cloud Marketplace offers channel partners a quick and easy way to access and learn more about the technologies, services, resources and what collateral is readily available to them all in one place,” says Jason Beal, director of sales, services, Ingram Micro North America. “Taking it one step further, the Ingram Micro Cloud is also home to our new Cloud Services Network which enables our channel partners to collaborate with one another in a non-competitive environment to offer the cloud services and support they need both regionally and throughout North America.”
Offered as an extension of the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN), the new Cloud Services Network is an aggregation of best-of-breed cloud computing professional service providers whose delivery capabilities and technical expertise include private and public cloud consulting; cloud computing assessments; design and deployment of cloud solutions; and integration, configuration, implementation and customization services.  The Cloud Services Network uses the efficient and safe partnering ecosystem and infrastructure of the IMSN to enable channel partners to work together to meet the needs of their customers throughout North America.
The Ingram Micro Cloud also features an impressive rolodex of educational whitepapers, case studies and training modules for channel partners to reference and download, as well as a comprehensive Business Development curriculum including Cloud Essentials which provides step-by-step, role-based training for effectively marketing, selling and supporting cloud services.
“The new Ingram Micro Cloud is a time-saving platform and business resource that will certainly make it easier and more cost-effective for us to navigate these new waters and extend our expertise and service capabilities into the cloud,” says Greg Onoprijenko, president and managing director of sales for successful Canadian MSP e-ternity.


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18 November 2010

2011 Cloud Computing Predictions

In 2010, we have seen a transformation of skeptics from their belief that cloud computing is suited mainly for small to mid-sized business, to a general acceptance that “the cloud” is everywhere. However, we have also seen a lot of inconsistency in how to differentiate cloud-based computing from on-premise computing. As a result, there has been confusion created in the market as software vendors like Microsoft promote their cloud offerings, and CIOs of large companies claim that their private cloud has been in place for years.
As I take a macro look at the industry today, it is clear that 2011 will continue a trend toward the convergence of the consumer and the enterprise web. Historically, the enterprise web has lagged the functionality and scalability of the consumer web because of several factors — the most significant of which are application complexity and the need for robust data security.  Today, the capabilities of the public cloud make the support of enterprise applications routine, and we see evidence of it being implemented every day.  With that said, there are changes in the ecosystem that will impact the speed to adoption among large enterprises.
What’s to Come for the Cloud
Large consultancies (e.g. Accenture, Deloitte) will continue to push private cloud and have minimal success with the public cloud
There is an almost religious debate brewing among cloud purists that recognize the difference between service-oriented architecture (SOA) and a true software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution.
Large organizations have been much more accepting of SOA-based solutions that reside entirely within their own firewall. This type of service has been branded as the private cloud and has gained a lot of traction among the Fortune 500.
Why are many in the Fortune 500 slow to adopt the public cloud? The answer has to do with risk tolerance. CIOs have taken notice of the cloud computing (e.g. SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) benefits, however, they have accountability for their actions and as much as they want to demonstrate that they have a cloud strategy, they are still concerned about allowing their data to reside outside of their firewall and relying on a service that is “out of their control.” The notion of the private cloud has been a nice entry point that allows them to answer to their boards, but they are still not realizing the real benefits of the public cloud. By definition, cloud-based systems are public; if you have a cloud in your own data center, check your servers because something is burning!
The big services organizations that serve the Fortune 500 will continue to push the private cloud because it serves the interests of their customers, but beyond 2011 we will see a shift as the market continues to evolve.
User demand for access to cloud-based content and applications whether on a PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone will grow
The ability to access applications through a browser is powerful in terms of maintenance and deployment. However, a side effect is that there is parity among these hardware devices as long as they support a browser that can run the applications. And in the end, the employee benefits by being able to choose the device that optimizes their experience.
The interesting note about this prediction is that hardware manufacturers will drive much of the change. The iPad, iPhone and Android devices have exploded in the market and are quickly capturing the attention of the business community. In my own experience, I have seen several companies buy pallets of these devices, and only then start asking questions about how they can re-architect their enterprise solutions in the cloud to optimize their use. It is truly a case where the intuition of IT groups and business decision makers tells them that these new devices are game-changing, and they are willing to figure out how they will benefit after they have made the purchase!
Adobe AIR will gain recognition as a leading cross platform mobile technology
We’ve seen the acceptance of AIR across many standard devices, and that continues today as Adobe has tipped their hand about additional OS support for Android and BlackBerry. The momentum around cloud services is not all about shared infrastructure, but also the ability for these systems to support a rich, flexible user experience that surpasses that of Windows-based solutions.
More recently, Adobe has stressed the importance of adoption on non-traditional devices such as televisions, smart phones and set top boxes. Adobe AIR (version 2.5) brings this cross-platform vision into your home. Now the only remaining battleground is the border war between Apple and Adobe. In 2011, the momentum of Adobe will require that we finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel when it comes to the long-running conflicts between these two organizations…somehow.


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How To Get High Performance Cloud Storage

One of the challenges with cloud storage is the connection between you and the storage. For almost everyone it is going to be slower than what is available within the data center. This performance difference does not mean a more limited use of cloud storage, it means that greater intelligence is needed to load data into the cloud. With that intelligence cloud storage could be leveraged for even the most demanding of applications.

In almost all use cases, but especially cloud storage as part of a primary storage solution, it is going to require some sort of local presence to cache the active data sets. This local presence can come in the form of a stand alone appliance, a virtual appliance or can be integrated into the storage system itself. The goal of the local presence is to store the active data subset on local high speed storage and then as the data ages push it out to the cloud storage service but do so transparently.

This hybrid type of deployment does mean that the data set does have to be something that can be segregated by access dates. It also means that the ideal data set is one where it has a short create and edit cycle, then is rarely accessed in the future. A file server is an obvious example but messaging and group collaboration tools are as well.
No matter what the local data set is you are always going to need to copy data to the cloud. Most of these hybrid type of solutions will want to copy all new or modified data the moment that the change occurs, this provides a level of redundancy from a data protection perspective but means that the WAN bandwidth utilization is upfront as well. Most of these hybrid type of devices can trickle data to your cloud provider so bandwidth can be throttled back. More importantly most of them have some form of WAN optimization either compression or deduplication that reduces the data set before it is sent and after it lands. For example in the solution we are currently testing, while we have placed 77GB's of data in the cache device only 27GB's of that data has been actually transferred and stored thanks to compression and deduplication.

Even with this intelligent use of the available bandwidth there are some practical steps you will want to take. First you need to have a decent connection to the internet. When we began our testing we immediately found our connectivity to be a little lacking. We doubled our bandwidth for about 15% extra per month and it made the application significantly more usable.
Second you also want to select a data set that can be gradually migrated to the cloud, net new projects are ideal or data that can be easily isolated by age, migrating the oldest data sets one at a time. In our case if we used it for hosting our various projects and simply decided that all new projects would go on the cloud storage appliance. As a result we have seen almost no impact from having all of our data be on the cloud storage device and we have seen a performance improvement in local response time since our appliance is on high speed storage,
With these considerations in mind cloud storage can be a viable option for many applications and data sets. As the hybrid technology continues to improve and the cost of bandwidth continues to come down even more applications and data sets will be deemed cloud appropriate, but the time to develop a cloud storage strategy is now. We will be answering questions like this in more detail in tomorrow's live webinar "What's Your Cloud Strategy, Answering The Top Ten Questions".


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17 November 2010

How Companies Can Reap the Benefits of Cloud Computing?

Organizations are going through unprecedented level of changes to meet their changing customer behaviours

Organizations are going through unprecedented level of changes to meet their changing customer behaviours and advancements in the IT such as Service Orientation and Cloud-based services.  In this status quo, Organisations are facing with challenges ranging from changing their workforce to adapt to the needs of the new IT initiatives to building a sustainable platform for future growth.  While this is not imperative at first, every enterprise architect will be facing some form or shape of these challenges in the organisation. Although there is an argument that outsource service providers or system integrators may have a little value in provisioning cloud based offering, these new initiatives present unique set of challenges to the organisation.
Danger of missing requirements:
First and foremost, the weakness to assume the solution to a problem too quickly, without sufficiently analysing the problem space. For example, it is easy for an organisation to engage in a strategic service offering from a cloud service provider for a CRM initiative either for cost reduction or for increasing operational excellence.  While majority (60% approximate) of the requirements could be offered by the cloud service provider, the rest of the requirements (40%) become very difficult to meet.  And most often, this could be to do with the way the organisation is doing its business, its differentiation in the market place or could be attributed to its own ineffciencies.    As an end result the organisation may have deployed a cloud based offering but still failed to address the rest of the requirements which will lead to building solutions that create IT silos leading to lack of operational efficiency in handling customer needs.
While the initial journey to use the cloud service may seem lucrative, these challenges are hidden or not thought through in its fullest depth leading to fragmentation in organisation's information processing ability.
Traditional Contracts
Adding to the complexity, the legacy IT systems are outsourced to the System Integrators or Outsourced service providers based on their execution competency.  For example, the number of operational reports, governance methodologies, monitoring, SLAs and their ability to convince the organisation that they can deliver the job.  Surely the organisation spent lot of time in structuring these contracts not based on what service the service provider can offer but based on how they could be a potential fit by understanding their business problems.  Note that the focus here is not "standard service offering" instead it is to do with validating whether the outsource provider or SI has understood my unique problem or business?  A shift from this perspective to a "standardised" cloud based offering involves a significant business change.  It is important that the organisation has an appetite to understand these challenges and find a way of driving this through.  In other words, while ensuring that the traditional execution knowledge is not lost and equally sailing the organisation to the new cloud based offering.
A way out
An approach to address this shift is to empower the business to define the requirements not at the functional or micro level but at the capability level.  In particular what outcome does the business is after by deploying a specific capability.  Then give additional considerations to constraints and analyse the impact of delivering that capability within the organisation.
The next step is to get the Enterprise Architecture team to assess the potential cloud services that can be leveraged.  However, there is significant value in ensuring that your SI or outsource vendor is engaged in providing a point of view in getting the business value of the initiative.  While the cloud computing vendor can sell you to SLAs, services and how quick and easy to deploy the services,  your system integrator or Service provider will augment your rationale by providing organisational constraints and challenges making the transition easier.


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What Dell's Purchase of Cloud Company Signals

A little-noted announcement earlier this month could have huge implications for cloud take-up in smaller businesses. Dell has snapped up Boomi, a company that describes itself as a "cloud integrator."

What this means is that Boomi produces software such as AtomSphere that make it devastatingly easy to mix together resources of the cloud and your own existing physical hardware and software. With Boomi it's as simple as drag-and-drop to get everything working smoothly.
It's all part of Dell's (DELLgrand plan to move into the cloud, but two profound realizations come out of the acquisition announcement.
First, Dell could soon be selling you the utility of computing, but not necessarily the physical computer. Next, when companies like Dell begin to offer cloud services, the cloud is probably coming to businesses of all sizes, whether they like it or not. You'd better get ready.
It seems as if Dell plans to bring the cloud down to earth and make it less exotic, with particular relevance to businesses that shy away from innovative approaches to IT.
Here's how it could work: Dell will sell or rent you a complete server package. You'll get physical hardware on your premises for immediate needs and, should you find yourself needing additional capacity in the future, you'll be able to seamlessly plug-into Dell's cloud and get all the computing power or storage that you need. Billing will be done via your existing service contract with Dell.
There'll be no need to research or sign-up to third-party cloud services, and--more importantly--no need for hackish third-party integration software to make everything work nicely together.
This being Dell, no doubt everything will be priced competitively, and there will be fleets of salespersons demonstrating how easy and useful the cloud can be for every size of business. Indeed, Dell should be praised for being brave enough to make a move away from simple box-shifting.
Purely from the point of view of those who understand what cloud computing is all about, Dell's recent cloud announcements are quite simply great news.
Of course, I could be wrong. Cynics might suggest that the inverse is true: Dell bought Boomi to either stop it from falling into the hands of others, or to simply make a show of being savvy about the cloud.
However, Dell makes a lot of money from selling the hardware needed by businesses, and has done for a very long time. Why would it want to throw all that away by trying to get a piece of the already competitive but burgeoning cloud marketplace?


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16 November 2010

Windows 8 May Get Cloud Backup, Deep Integrations with Online Services

Microsoft (MSFT) seems to be planning robust integrations between its online services and Windows 8, possibly including a cloud-based backup service, according to Microsoft job postings.
One job posting for a Windows Server position -- which is no longer available but was quoted by the unofficial Windows8beta blog -- states: "We are currently working on a Windows Azure-based service and integrating with certain Microsoft online services and Windows 8 client backup."
Another opening, which had been available on Monday this week but since pulled off the Microsoft career site, was for a Windows Live systems engineer, and says: "We are a growing team with a strategic and highly visible charter helping to build and operate some of Microsoft's most strategic Internet assets. Our service supports hundreds of millions of users, who exchange billions of instant messages, photos and email each day, and store billions of contact relationships in our service. We live the life of 'software and a service' every day, at high scale and you will play a pivotal role as we integrate our online services with Windows 8."
Windows has, of course, been integrated with online services for years such as via Windows Update. But these job postings indicate that integrations with online services will be a major focus during development of Windows 8, which makes sense given Microsoft's efforts to bolster its cloud computing offerings.
Although Windows 7 is just getting started, with its first successful yearbehind it, some details have begun to leak out about Windows 8. Microsoft, for example, has begun telling partners that it will outdo rival Apple by building a better touch screen for slate PCs.
Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin


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Authentication in the Cloud

Of all that has been written about cloud computing, precious little attention has been paid to authentication in the cloud.
Before we get to that, let's review how authentication works on a private network.
When you log on to your machine and then try to access a resource, say a file server or database, something needs to assure that your username and password are valid.  If you're logging onto a Windows machine, this authentication is performed by a component called the "Local Security Authority Subsystem Service". If you run Windows Task Manager and list the running processes for all users, you will see a program called "lsass.exe".  If you run Likewise on a Linux/UNIX/Mac machine, you'll see it is called "lsassd".
Either one can authenticate a user in one of two ways: using local credentials or using Active Directory credentials. If your machine is "joined" to Active Directory, you will typically log on with your AD account (including the appropriate domain name). If your machine is not joined to AD it is in work group mode and you log on using local credentials. With the latter, your username and password are validated against account information stored on your own machine. In the AD case, however, something more significant happens: LSASS authenticates your credentials using the Kerberos protocol to talk to an AD domain controller.
Kerberos is a wonderful thing. It can authenticate credentials without ever transmitting a password in either clear or hashed form. This is important because it makes it impossible to perform offline password cracking (i.e. trying millions of passwords until the cracking code matches your hashed password).
Kerberos is also great because it supports single sign-on. Once you are logged on to your machine, you have a special "ticket" that can be used to acquire additional tickets for other services. If you access a Windows file server, for example, the file server will not prompt you for credentials if your logon credentials are sufficient. Under the cover, the authentication code automatically acquires a service ticket for the file server based on your logon ticket. If you access a SQL Server database or a Microsoft (MSFT) IIS-protected Web site, again, you don't need to enter additional credentials because the necessary service tickets are automatically acquired. Nifty.
If you logged on using local credentials, you don't get any of these advantages. When you try to access a file server, it will perform older NTLM authentication and realize it doesn't know anything about your local account -- if the files on the server are protected, you will be prompted for credentials in order to access them. With SQL Server and with IIS you'll need to use more primitive authentication techniques ("SQL authentication" or basic authentication, for example).


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11 November 2010

Positive Year Ahead Forecast for SaaS Companies

Despite the economic uncertainties forecast to continue into 2011, IT Mergers and Acquisition  specialist firm Knight Corporate Finance predicts a very positive year for valuations in the IT sector especially for software companies adopting the SaaS monthly subscription model.
Knight CF Director, Adam Zoldan says: “Over the last two years there has been much discussion about convergence in a variety of forms – voice and data, fixed and mobile, or IT and telecoms. This is finally becoming reality through mergers and acquisitions.  Valuations in IT businesses are on the increase with a number of trade buyers plus a heightened level of interest from the private equity sector injecting interest and financial resources into the sector.”
Knight Photos Positive Year Ahead Forecast for SaaS Companies
Adam Zoldan and Paul Billingham
Knight CF warns that businesses that generate profit mainly from selling equipment and professional services will miss out on the valuation boom.  “It’s all about customer ownership, recurring revenue and a fundamental shift towards managed services”, continues Adam Zoldan.  “The perceived quality of earnings derived from a contracted customer that pays on a monthly or quarterly basis will deliver the highest valuations.  Managed hosting, connectivity, hosted SaaS applications are all high on buyers’ agendas as we move into the cloud”.
Interestingly, the telecom resellers who are seeing their voice revenues decline are making some real headway in this space.  They already have the billing systems and back-office infrastructure in place and adding additional Cloud-based services to the customers’ solution is a relatively simple affair, especially with the high level of support they can receive from the SaaS suppliers. 
Knight CF co-founder and director, Paul Billingham comments: “We expect to see significant consolidation in 2011 as larger providers look to gain scale or compliment organic growth. Organic growth is now more difficult and more expensive to achieve, and the desire to add scale, alongside the necessity to develop new expertise is the driving force behind most acquisitions.  In an era where capital expenditure is being closely monitored, businesses need to consider ways to increase value as contracted managed services gain widespread acceptance. At Knight CF we have helped realise maximum value of more than 20 businesses in under two years and we look forward to helping many more”. For more information see the Knight CF website .


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Windows Phone 7 to rival iPad for developer attention in 2011

Windows Phone 7 to rival iPad for developer attention in 2011
Chart A represents mobile platforms developers chose in 2010 while Chart B shows new app platforms they plan to support in 2011.
Developers say they are most interested in Android, Windows Phone 7, and the iPad as platforms for their mobile apps in 2011, according to a report titled "State of the Apps Industry Snapshot" released today by Millennial Media. The firm, known for its mobile ad network, worked together with technology analysis siteDigiday and Wall Street analyst Jordan Rohan from Stifel Nicolaus to procure the data. The team surveyed app developers, publishers, and advertisers in the most recent quarter to learn their plans for next year.
Both publishers and developers have grown their cross-platform application development this year and plan to further diversify in 2011. Android, the iPad, Windows Mobile, and Symbian saw the most significant increases from 2009. In the image above, Chart A represents mobile platforms the participants are developing for in 2010 while Chart B shows new app platforms they plan to support in 2011.
As you can see, the iPhone has been the number one platform of choice in 2010, followed by Android, the iPad, RIM, and Windows Mobile. Meanwhile, Android, Windows Phone 7, and the iPad are projected to get the most attention for new apps next year.
Given its rapidly growing market share, it's not very surprising that Android might see the biggest growth next year. Mountain View's platform could very well overtake Cupertino's in 2011 if these numbers hold, especially given that Millennial noted Apple (as well as RIM) saw a year-over-year decrease in developer support. Apple is currently dominating the tablet space, so the attention given the iPad is no surprise. Windows Phone excitement, however, is a little more eyebrow-raising since it's not yet a tested platform. Could it be that Microsoft is still the best at rallying developers, developers, developers, even in the mobile space?
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Palm, with the weakest developer interest, at 4 percent. The ailing Symbian platform was not much higher at 6 percent. Nokia is switching to MeeGo so the latter isn't a shocker, but the former implies that HP is not inspiring much confidence with its webOS decisions.


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