STORAGE AND WIRELESS APPLICATIONS
By Kishore Jethanandani
In collaboration with Datacomm Research Company
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 INTERDEPENDENCE OF WIRELESS AND STORAGE..................................... 6
1.1 Value of Storage--Aggregation....................................................................................... 7
1.2 Value of Storage—Assimilation...................................................................................... 8
1.3 Value of Storage—Dissemination .................................................................................. 9
1.4 Storage and Wireless Applications .............................................................................. 10
1.5 Managing Storage Area Networks ............................................................................... 11
2 TECHNOLOGY ....................................................................................................... 12
2.1 Beyond SCSI................................................................................................................ 13
2.2 Networks and Scalability .............................................................................................. 14
3 STORAGE AND WIRELESS APPLICATIONS.................................................... 19
3.1 Storage and Digital Photography ................................................................................. 19
3.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Vehicle Telematics ................................... 21
3.2.1 Storage and Unified Messaging .......................................................................... 23
3.2.2 Storage and Voice Information services.............................................................. 25
3.2.3 Storage and Telematics....................................................................................... 26
3.3 Location based services............................................................................................... 26
3.4 CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT .......................................................... 28
3.5 STORAGE AND MEDICAL APPLICATIONS............................................................... 30
3.6 Rich Media Applications............................................................................................... 34
4 PROSPECTS OF LEADING APPLICATIONS OF STORAGE .......................... 36
4.1 Prospects of Digital Photography................................................................................. 38
4.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Telematics ................................................ 40
4.3 Business Intelligence ................................................................................................... 45
4.4 Prospects of Location Based Services ........................................................................ 46
4.5 Medical Applications .................................................................................................... 48
5 COMPETITIVE ISSUES ........................................................................................ 50
5.1 Digital Photography ...................................................................................................... 50
5.1.1 Applied Science Fiction’s (ASF™) ....................................................................... 51
5.1.2 Pixel Magic Imaging (www.pmimaging.com)....................................................... 53
5.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Telematics ................................................ 54
5.2.1 Tornado Development (www.tornadodevelopment.com/)................................... 54
5.2.2 BeVOCAL (http://www.bevocal.com/index.html) ................................................. 57
5.3 CRM/Business Intelligence .......................................................................................... 58
5.3.1 Teradata (www.teradata.com) ............................................................................. 61
5.4 Location Based Services.............................................................................................. 63
5.4.1 Space Machine (http://www.spacemachine.net/) ................................................ 64
5.5 Medical Applications .................................................................................................... 67
5.5.1 General Electric Medical Information Systems
Storage technologies will drive the adoption of wireless applications in the near term future.
The value proposition of storage technologies is the aggregation, assimilation and
dissemination of large volumes of information. Wireless technologies help to feed data to
large repositories and are essential for real time communication of messages for speedy
execution of tasks.
The impact of storage technologies on wireless applications will be more significant in the
future as the transition from LAN attached storage devices to storage area networks (SAN)
is completed. SANs, aided by related technologies, are an efficient means for data delivery
and its conversion, from a single source, for reuse by a large variety of wireless devices.
Innovations in system integration as well as storage management software, virtualization
and content management tools, will play a key role in speedy and cost-effective delivery of
data to wireless devices. File systems will enable rapid retrieval of data from tapes for cost-
effective use of imagery, inter-operability in a heterogeneous environment and intelligent
caching to overcome speed limitations of disks.
The six most important storage enabled wireless applications are customer relationship
management/business intelligence, digital photography, enterprise location based services,
unified messaging, voice information and vehicle telematics as a single group, medical
applications and rich media.
Storage requirements for digital photography will increase rapidly as the marriage of film
and digital photography, ubiquitous kiosks and digital photography networks increases the
rate of adoption of digital photography. Digital photography networks will facilitate mobile
albums that can be readily shared.
Storage helps to reap economies of scope from the convergence of multi-media
messaging, mobile voice applications and vehicle telematics. The current high costs of
unified messaging will be lowered by storing all messages in a single undivided data
repository. The increasing popularity of infotainment by vehicle owners, beginning with
satellite entertainment, will increase the demand for storage.
The size and nature of CRM databases has been transformed for real time decision
support. Increasingly, terabyte size repositories process a variety of data at shorter
intervals. Data processing is required for not only strategic purposes but also for tactical
reasons. Data repositories need wireless technologies to not only to receive data quickly
but also to alert decision makers in real time.
Enterprise location based services, not consumer services, will play a key role in increasing
the demand for storage services by the wireless industry. The increasing accumulation of
attribute data correlated with spatial data, imaging, raster data and satellite imagery and
aerial photography will increase the demand for storage. Furthermore, storage helps to
streamline data flows for use in low bandwidth wireless devices.
Medical applications are poised to move beyond imaging data to integrating clinical
information systems and monitoring data for business process efficiency. The deployment
of wireless applications will increase rapidly as they are used for decision support. Storage
demand will increase rapidly as the variety of data stored increases.
Rich media applications of storage will grow mostly outside the broadcasting industry for
Internet broadcasting and enterprise applications. This market has a better longer-term
prospect than in the near term as system integration issues are mired in politics.
1 INTERDEPENDENCE OF WIRELESS AND STORAGE
Introduction: Internet storage technologies, shorn of their technological mystique, are a new age
version of a library. They share the attribute of a repository, which aggregates and preserves
records of information. The analogy does not go one whit further. Storage systems aggregate
information on a scale unimaginable with libraries and they preserve records over a much longer
period of time. Movies or even images can be stored for an indefinite period of time, which is
inconceivable with traditional libraries1.
A case study of a digital archive can be found at
Unlike traditional libraries, the size of storage area networks is not limited by space. It expands
with not only the memory capacity of disks but also with the speed of networks that interconnect
arrays of disks as well as software that organizes the data logically for its management from a
Information on a storage area can also be preserved for a longer period of time since it is
replicated on several disks within or outside a region. If the World Trade Center were a traditional
library of America’s heritage documents, it would have been completely destroyed. On a storage
area network, the same documentation would have been available within the hour at another
1.1 Value of Storage--Aggregation
Data storehouses are fragmented by the publishing medium, its location or by the type of
equipment or the software used to manage content. Storage technologies aggregate information
from diverse sources.
Data is available on printed records, on films, images or databases. In the world of a traditional
library, stored documents are typically printed documents or at best databases. Films and images
are rarely available and harder to juxtapose with other sources of information. Storage area
networks digitize all information and permit their rendering on a single document.
Information is also fragmented when it’s generated or collected in separate regions. City or state
governments typically gather geographical information and don’t necessarily want to share it at a
centralized point. Storage area networks either provide pointers (by providing metadata or data
about data) about sources of information or segment a unified network such that secure zones
are accessible to those who have acquired the rights to do so.
Free flow of information across regions pre-supposes high speed networks before traffic can flow
efficiently across regions. Emerging storage companies are lighting up ample dark fiber networks,
GiantLoop Networks (www.giantloop.com) has launched its products, to move large volume
data such as that generated in the health industry. Alternatively, storage area networks can mirror
information on disks across geographical boundaries so that information can be accessed locally
without the delays of data flow from the core.
Silos are also created by the technological limitations of equipment. Servers combine both the
storage and the processing function. Consequently, information stored on them does not have to
flow out. Typically, servers are connected to LANs, which have low bandwidth and cannot
manage the flow of large volumes of data. Documents on a storage device can only flow out as
only servers can use it and their networks are designed for large volume data flows.
1.2 Value of Storage—Assimilation
Growing volumes of data don’t go awry because storage volume management, virtualization and
content management software organizes them. Volume management software is equivalent to
the floor plan and the scheme for placement of shelves in a traditional library. It automatically
allocates data to disks without manual intervention. Storage virtualization software is like the
indexing system that directs users to the location of content in storage area networks. Content
Management software is the Dewey Decimal system, which identifies the content available in a
Storage virtualization software, developed by companies such as Veritas (www.veritas.com)
encapsulates terabytes or petabytes of data into a directory structure analogous to the explorer
on the desktop. It lays out the logical structure of data for the corresponding physical location
much like URLs correspond to IP addresses on the Internet. Typically, the user interface of
virtualization software is a portal type of software with a web browser. Unlike an index in a
traditional library, portal software not only simplifies searches of information but also the
movement of data from the point of storage to its consumption destination. Data can simply be
moved by drag and drop methods (security considerations permitting).
Large repositories would risk loss of the value of their information without speedy retrieval of
information of diverse types. Content management defines each data type and its characteristics.
Metadata or the data about data identifies the traits of the data stored such as dates, location
theme so that it can be retrieved by using the attributes as the keyword.
Content Management software automates the processes of archiving, indexing, searching and
assimilation of information. Archiving is done on pre-formatted templates which have meta-data
attached to them. Indexing is automated by combing documents for the recurring words in the
document to identify the themes in the document. Search processes are eased by the
classification of data that is enabled by metadata. Finally, metadata can also define access right
and intellectual property rights associated with content.
The value of content depends on the speed of retrieval as well as the ability to pick specific
pieces of information. General Motors, for example, increased the revenue from its content from $
4 million to $25 million by using Artesia’s content management tools. When indexing is done at a
more granular level, such as by video logging technologies available from Virage, reuse of
content is possible, which enhances its utility as an archive.
Content Management tools are also a means to assimilate information. Typically, information is
pieced together by identifying the common denominators in the entire data. Thus patient social
security number is a way to identify all related health information. Similarly, spatial co-ordinates
help to organize all geographical information.
When a diverse range of information is collated at one point and can be cross-referenced with all
related information, its assimilation and processing becomes possible. Text, numbers and
pictures can be put juxtaposed to bring into relief unnoticed relationships. Data can be pieced
together to uncover the big picture and to identify patterns. Similarly, statistical software can be
used to find correlations in the data. Storage technologies can help do this on the fly. Fraud
detection is one application that is enabled by cross-referencing of data available in a single
1.3 Value of Storage—Dissemination
Finally, dissemination of information is more convenient, faster and has a wider reach with
storage technologies. This is particularly true with storage area networks; several copies of
information can be mirrored at several sites and with additional aids can be converted into several
formats. Traditional mediums like analog TV are unable to offer the same content in any other
format. Digital content, on the other hand, can be adapted for its presentation of several wireless
devices or other devices2.
Museums, rare books and historical archives are striking illustration of illiquid information. Today,
the global mirroring feature of storage technologies, a service offered by Scale Eight among
others, has enabled not only their centralized storage but also their worldwide dissemination
The applications of storage are rooted in these generic attributes of archiving, retrieval,
assimilation, and dissemination that have been enhanced by digitization and networks that
interconnect storage devices. Ease of archiving, for example, encourages the preservation of old
movies that would be lost by deterioration of silver halide films. The cost of maintaining large
archives would not be bearable if footage was not conveniently retrieved such as by natural
language keywords3. Similarly, geographic data and related traffic information would be hard to
use for logistics management if could not be rapidly aggregated, assimilated and disseminated to
1.4 Storage and Wireless Applications
Wireless Internet users have potentially a greater need for gathering, archiving, assimilating,
retrieving and speedy dissemination of information. Sources of information are more scattered
when data is gathered from mobile professionals and needs to be aggregated to be of use by the
entire enterprise. Field forces will be unable to plan their schedules unless all data of all pending
orders is available at one point.
Rapid assimilation is essential since mobile staff often execute tasks with short lead times. Tasks,
such as ambulatory healthcare, are most efficient when staff on board is alerted about a patient’s
past conditions as the event happens. Similarly, mobile sales staffs require information on
demand and inventory condition in real time to serve orders.
See the case study of Generic Media for the method for serving data for a variety of players in
the streaming media context.
See the case study on E-Motion
Just as important is the rapid retrieval of information for mobile staff. A typical instance is the
need to provide documentation in the sale of pharmaceuticals. Mobile sales staff doesn’t carry all
the documents; it would rather remotely access them from a storage device and print them on a
Finally, dissemination of information to wireless users implies that content has to be distributed to
several different types of devices. When content is available at a single point, its format can be
converted to suit the needs of each device.
1.5 Managing Storage Area Networks
The very size of storage systems throws up entirely new challenges for managing information.
Storage management software is required to spread the load across the numerous disks, tapes
and optical disks across a storage area network to minimize time delays and costs. Variants of
this software manage replication of data in geographically dispersed sites, back up of data to
ensure its availability and recovery when the data is lost. All this has to be achieved on platforms
as diverse as Windows NT and UNIX. The liquidity of information depends on the Application
Program Interfaces (APIs) that help to interconnection with the broad variety of operating systems
that are deployed on storage area networks. This is very largely an unfinished task in the
management of storage area networks.
For storage systems to be more than archives or tape systems, information has to flow from disks
to applications in a predictable and speedy manner to be useful to applications. Storage
management software ensures that information flows to applications in an efficient manner. Tivoli,
for example, develops software to move data from storage disks to applications quickly.
Other types of software manage the quality of service on a network are also required for industrial
scale application of storage area networks. These are required to monitor and report on
performance or the extent to which service level agreements have been met5.
Content Management software is slow to grow because data definitions are hard to standardize.
Individual companies have developed content management software for silos and have a variety
See our case study on ViaFone
See our case studies of Storability and Broadstream
of data definitions embedded in their legacy systems. In a shared environment like a storage area
network, the data definitions have to be understood by several different types of users.
Fortunately, XML enables the sharing of data independent of the particular representation of data.
Internet storage technologies need the efficiencies brought about by storage management
software, management software and content management software to drive the adoption of
applications such as especially Internet broadcasting. The pace of development of storage
software has been relatively slow and has set the limits to diffusion of storage-enabled
Storage technologies also need high-speed networks to communicate over longer distances.
Hardware implemented communications systems like Fiber channel have distance limitations.
Other software-implemented protocols such as TCP/IP are much slower since they correct for
errors. The dissemination of information over longer distances will be constrained till that
The key to the ability to aggregate information in colossal repositories is increasing efficiency of
networks. Data would have to be stored locally, within or near a server, if networks are not
efficient enough for retrieval from a remote location. In the early stages of information
management, data was stored in the memory of the server.
Storage within the memory of a server strains the processing power of a server for larger volumes
of data. Consequently, rising volumes of traffic impair the ability of servers to operate applications
efficiently. Also, servers have more than one source of failure when they combine the functions of
operating an application and storage.
The combined efficiency of servers and storage devices is increased and their downtime is
lowered by specialization; the functions of running an operating system (and user applications)
are separated from that of the management of files. Storage becomes the function of a
specialized device separated from a server.
The division of functions can also be between multiple storage devices and multiple servers
working together. A switch routs the traffic when a cluster of storage devices works with a group
2.1 Beyond SCSI
The early development of storage area networks took place with parallel SCSI (Small Computer
System Interface) networking technology. This technology has bus architecture; a single server is
electrically connected to a corresponding storage device. Since servers in the SCSI world work
jointly with only a single storage device, any loss of capacity necessarily involves downtime. The
data transfer rates cannot be any more than the speed of disks because they cannot retrieve data
from any more than a single storage device.
SCSI has other limitations like the number of addresses and distances that it can cover. In a 16-
bit environment, it can have no more than 15 devices. The number of devices on the network
limits its scale of operations. SCSI also cannot operate at more than 25 meters of distance. SCSI,
therefore, does not effectively disseminate information.
Fiber channel networks overcome the limitations of SCSI type of networks. They are capable of
switching (besides a ring technology) so that a cluster of servers works with a corresponding
array of storage devices. Since each port on the switch can be connected to another switch, the
number of addresses can be increased without any limit. Inter-switch connections, however,
come at the cost of a latency penalty that is incurred as traffic flows from one port to another. In
addition, failure on any one port has a domino effect on all interlinked ports.
Therefore, the building blocks of larger scale storage area networks are directors or switches with
more than 32 ports. Directors are indispensable for applications such as rich media, which require
parallel retrieval of data to reduce the latencies involved in recovering data from disks.
Companies such as McData (www.mcdata.com) specialize in the design and production of such
Another major difference between fiber channel networks and the SCSI type of topology is that
the former inter-connects servers and devices by a network and data transfers don’t take place by
electrical signals. Consequently, devices can be added, as demand grows, to the network without
interrupting operations just as appliances are connected in a grid.
Finally, the devices connected to a Fiber Channel Network can be spread over longer distances
over as much as 10,000 meters. It is possible to offer disaster management services on such
networks as data can be replicated on several devices such that they are dispersed
The hardware capabilities of fiber channel networks have to be complimented by software
management tools before services such as disaster management or replication of data can even
be offered. Storage virtualization software helps to achieve these functions.
Storage area networks (SANS) have had less success than its precursor, the Network Attached
Storage (NAS) systems, in developing the file systems required to manage large networks. Some
companies such as StorageNetworks (www.storagenetworks.com) have implemented file
systems to manage storage area networks for large enterprises from behind the firewall. Efforts to
manage an open storage area network have been initiated by Hitachi Data Systems
(www.hds.com) and IBM.
2.2 Networks and Scalability
In the technical literature, more so in the technical marketing literature, facetious distinctions
between SANS and NAS have been drawn based solely on the features of the technology, SANs
are seen to move blocks of data while NAS manages a file system. The fact is that a NAS server
manages a file system, which in turn maps blocks of data and helps to manage their flow.
Conversely, files systems or storage virtualization software manage the flow of blocks of data on
a SAN. If there is any distinction between the two systems, this is a difference between
tweedledee and tweedledum!
Similarly, SANS and NAS are distinguished based on the networking technology that
interconnects the devices; fiber optics are associated with Fiber Channel and Ethernet with NAS.
The reality is that Fiber Channel, implemented as it is in hardware, has a lower latency rate while
Gigabyte Ethernet costs less but has a higher latency rate. Storage area networks, with their
larger volumes, have a lower tolerance for latency. On the other hand, NAS processes lower
volumes and can make-do with relatively higher latency rates. There is nothing to prevent SANs
from using Ethernet networks and vice versa for NAS.
The essential distinction between SAN and NAS is that the former has a separate network for
storage devices while NAS devices are attached to an existing LAN. It is this property of SANs
that enables it to scale and to provide other services such as continuity, disaster recovery and
SANs can potentially operate at a much larger scale of operation than NAS because devices can
be added to a network without disrupting ongoing operations. The management of larger volumes
of data would not be possible without the virtualization software that helps to manage the
allocation of data between devices and the movement of data between them on storage area
A Network Attached Storage (NAS), a stripped down variant of a file server, manages data flow
from storage devices independent of an application server. The storage device appears as an
additional drive in the directory on the operating system of an application. Redirector software
manages the data flow from the NAS to the client. As storage devices are added, the software
directing I/O calls from the client have to be adjusted to manage disk space, which involves some
downtime unless there is no overlap in the data stored in the storage device added and the
On the other hand, a Storage Area Network is intended to expand seamlessly without incurring
downtime as capacity is increased. The file system resides on a server and directly allocates
blocks of data on disk space. Any addition to capacity is managed by a volume manager, which
allocates data to storage capacity. As SANs evolve further, the file management function is
undertaken by in-band or out-bands appliances specially meant for the management of the
The slow progress in developing virtualization software for SANS accounts for its lower rate of
adoption compared to NAS which works with proven file systems. Operating systems for SANs,
especially in heterogeneous environments, are currently under negotiation and development.
In the NAS environment, network protocols for joining storage devices with servers on a network,
the Network File System (NFS) and the Common Internet File System (CIFS), provide a means to
share files with a variety of computing environments and to ensure security when transactions
take place on the network. The NFS6 for example, automatically mounts the servers file system
onto the client where it seems like a local directory. By requiring a client to have an account with
the NAS server ensures security. Before granting access to a server, the client’s identity is
By contrast, the progress in the development of standards for interoperability in Storage Area
Networks is much slower7. In 2001, vendors like Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Brocade took the
initiative to plug the holes in fiber channel SAN systems. The key issues are fiber channel’s
vulnerability to security breaches. In addition, SAN systems currently manage networks by out-of-
band monitoring systems using the Simple Network Management Protocol.
SANs can play a vital role in lowering the failure rate in running applications since traffic can be
spread over several disks. Typically, the building block of a SAN or a NAS is a RAID (Redundant
Array of Independent Disks, a RAID controller manages traffic locally) or a JBOD (Just a Bunch of
Disks without any intelligence) or a collection of disks which don’t have local intelligence and all
data management is done by the file system. RAID stores blocks of data, which are divided into
smaller units called stripes of 512 bytes. The option to spread traffic over several disks helps in
load balancing and redirecting traffic when any one of them fails.
Spikes in traffic, common with e-commerce or rich media applications, are better managed when
data flows are spread over several disks and balanced centrally by software residing on the RAID
controller or in the file system. Capacity additions can take place incrementally in step with
demand because they don’t have to be lumped with server investments. Installations of additional
disks are not disruptive since they can be plugged into a group of operating disks much like
appliances are to a utility network. Although some disks are redundant, capacity utilization is
better than with server-attached storage due to the benefits of load balancing.
This is discussed in detail in a white paper at
Although SANs are meant to be a means to manage larger networks than NAS, the reality is that
the adoption rate of the latter is much higher. One reason for this is that protocols for integrating
networks with devices in a NAS are proven while corresponding protocols for integrating SANs
are currently under negotiation and development.
In the absence of interoperability, the benefits of aggregation of information sources such as
centralized management are built on proprietary standards. Consequently, applications
deployment is hamstrung by the inability to assimilate information from diverse sources.
SANS facilitate dissemination of information by their ability to mirror data on geographically
dispersed storage devices. The information can then be viewed simultaneously by an audience
such as the global employees of a company listening to their CEO. Internet broadcasting
becomes technically viable with spatially distributed storage capacity
SANs also play a vital role in the preservation of information by placing them at a number of sites.
By replicating information at geographically dispersed regions, any loss of information that can
take place by natural or technical disasters is undone by recovering information from another site.
Communication networks determine the geographical reach of storage area networks while
storage management tools affect the latency, speed of recovery and other services that
consumers can have. Lower latencies are crucial, for example, for delivery of rich media
The value of stacks of information is high when it can be retrieved with low rates of latency. The
efficiency of retrieval of information is limited by the speeds at which disks operate. IBM, for
example, admitted that disk speeds are not increasing at rates comparable to other components
of the system such as network speeds and processor MIPs. In the near term future, IBM foresees
disk speeds rising to 15K-25K RPM, incorporated in its Shark products, but probably no more.
Consequently, companies are looking to parallel processing of information which involves routing
of data through several ports working simultaneously (as profiled in our case study of
When stored on disks, data is saved in blocks of information, which are subdivided as stripes
when they are written on disks. Before the stored data can be transmitted, it is reassembled as
blocks before it reaches a network node. Inevitably, the process of recalling blocks of information
and reassembling them involve mechanical delays.
Storage network management companies are overcoming these problems with metadata or
mapping information that reduces the time delays in identifying blocks of information and
Networks can be clogged when numerous streams of data are accessed simultaneously. Such
an eventuality is very likely when a very high number of customers are drawn to the same
information, as was the case when Americans wanted to read Kenneth Star’s report on the
Internet. Storage management companies are learning to create master files that can be cached
at a central point before customers’ access it (as profiled in our case study on Digital Fountain).
Additional inefficiencies are incurred when content has to be presented to several different media
players at the customer end. Content has to be transmitted in a way that is appropriate for each
of these players which taxes bandwidth capacity. New technologies are emerging that create
master copies that convert the content for each player on the fly (see our case study on Generic
When data is transmitted for wireless applications, it has to be transmitted to several towers
where they are close to the users of mobile devices. If this is done serially, the delays will be
enormous. Storage management companies are finding ways to transmit data in parallel streams.
In the future, the battleground in the storage industry will be storage management software. The
design of file systems can help to increase the productivity of already installed storage systems.
This can be achieved, for example, by varying the size of stripes depending on the nature of the
traffic, by caching in real time so that data does not necessarily have to come from the disk. Other
possibilities include the management of the metadata. If the metadata is also read from the disk,
the disk reader moves back and forth from the file data to the metadata. Some companies have
incorporated the metadata into the file system so that data is accessed directly. Yet another way
is to organize related data contiguously so that it can be retrieved quickly. File systems can also
be designed to speed up retrieval from tapes by keeping their metadata in the file system8.
More information of innovations from emerging companies can be found at
3 STORAGE AND WIRELESS APPLICATIONS
Storage sub-systems, per se, provides services such as back up, archiving, recovery, replication
and mirroring which do not have a direct bearing for applications. However, storage sub-systems,
together with storage management software, are an aid to information management. We will
discuss, in individual cases, the specific impact storage has on applications
3.1 Storage and Digital Photography
Consumer fulfillment with digital photography is intertwined with storage technologies. The
attributes that consumers value in photography include besides the quality of photographs, ease
of editing, the ability to share them with family and friends as extensively as possible and with the
least effort, preserve them and to retrieve them when required. These services are offered by
companies such as Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com/index.jsp), Kodak’s
(www.ofoto.com/Welcome.jsp) and Pixel Magic Imaging (www.pmimaging.com).
Storage needs increase as the quality of digital photographs improves with higher resolution and
superior color texture. CD-ROMs or other removable media have met the needs of early adopters
but the demand for Internet storage will increase at higher levels of usage and as photographs
are transmitted over networks.
Image size of digital photographs, in terms of data, is large even when compression techniques
are utilized. This is because light, after it filters through a lens, is recorded by photosensitive
pixels in shades of black and white. The resolution improves with the increase in the numbers of
Furthermore, colors are superimposed on the black and white image. A combination of green, red
and blue filters (twice as many green filters as red and blue) intercede the light falling on pixels;
computers then estimate the actual texture of the color from the data on hues of all the
neighboring filters. The entire process is data intensive and requires storage.
The equivalent of the quality achieved by silver-halide film requires a resolution of 2.1 million
pixels9, which is about 2MB for each image. Insertion of colors in the right proportion further adds
to the file size increasing it to 6 MB. The storage capacity of most personal computers will begin
to run out after a few rolls are shot. Some of the burden of storage is relieved by compression. A
standard such as JPEG can achieve compression rates of 20:1 efficiently but photographs begin
to lose their quality beyond that stage. Even so, each roll of film would require about 6 MB of
space, which is still very high.
Currently, users have the ability to use flash media with their digital cameras. However, the flash
media has a limited capacity and a very expensive medium to store data. The data from flash
media has to be inevitably transferred to a computer or other storage media. Consequently,
storage is required especially as volumes increase.
Once digital photographs have been stored, they can be conveniently edited with tools such as
Adobe Photoshop. On the other hand, editing of traditional photographs requires sophisticated
dark room techniques before changes can be made on them if at all.
People cherish photographs because they can share glimpses of their lives with friends and
families and preserve them as mementos for themselves. Storage enables sharing conveniently
when it is stored on the Internet. More consumers share their photographs as they take recourse
to the Internet, e-mail and disks to store their images. By the year 2001, 92.8% of digital still
camera owners shared their pictures compared to 77.7% in 199910
Perhaps, the greatest advantage of digital photography used in conjunction with storage is the
ability to use metadata or the data about identification of photographs. Metadata keeps a record
of when, where and by whom the photograph was taken, the location, subject and other
information that can help to retrieve a photograph. In industries like law and regulation, the
preservation of visual records for long periods is critical and hard to achieve because films
deteriorate and are hard to retrieve11.
Quoted from http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/1998/09/wang/
International Imaging Industry Association, Fact Sheet.
For more information on the use of metadata in digital photography, see “The Power of
Metadata Is Propelling Digital Imaging Beyond the Limitations of Conventional Photography”
Wireless photography and storage have a symbiotic relationship in the enterprise space. It helps
in reducing the tedium of documentation in the insurance industry and the real estate industry.
Companies such as Flashpoint (http://www.flashpoint.com/home.html) provide digital
photography solutions, in partnership with Sprint, for transfer of images over telecom network and
are stored. A typical case is the use of wirelessly transmitted photography for faster damage
assessment in insurance claims. Similarly, digital photographs are used in the real estate industry
to provide a glimpse of properties that customers can evaluate.
In the consumer space, storage can potentially created a mobile album, i.e., resident on a
network which can be shared impromptu with friends and family. However, this would have to
await a ubiquitous network of the kind the International Imaging Industry Association is working
Storage and sharing of photographs involves trade-offs that have not been satisfactory for the
consumers. Two forms of compression have been commonly used with JPEG and they are
lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression simply means that data is not lost as a
result of compression so that economy in storage is considerably less than with lossy
compression. However, lossy compression is at the risk of loss of data that may not, at the outset,
seem essential and will not cause visible loss of quality. For example, data representing blue sky
in a picture would be identical and saves storage if it is trimmed. The algorithms that make the
adjustments may not, however, be understood by another program and over time important
information will be lost permanently. JPEG 2000, a new standard, has higher compression rates
and it streams data in waves so that users can choose the resolution they need thereby saving
them unanticipated loss of quality that they can experience with lossy compression.
3.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Vehicle Telematics
We have looked at Unified Messaging, Voice Information services and Vehicle Telematics as a
single category of inter-related services. Whereas these three businesses, in their infancy,
existed as separate businesses, they are now converging into one. Vehicle Telematics is
available from International Imaging Industry Association. Kodak has its own scheme for
metadata available at http://www.kodak.com/US/en/developers/tools/02_pmt.jhtml
indistinguishable from mobile services when the same device can be used in and out of a car,
together with Bluetooth devices, as will be the case with services offered by emerging
competitors like Mobile Aria (www.mobilearia.com) in the future. Messaging, information
services and even entertainment can be provided as a single package of service for mobile
customers whether in the consumer segment or the enterprise space.
Messages, whether they are e-mail, SMS, voice mail or fax, are distinguished by their format or
their metadata. They can be converted from one message type to another by changing their
metadata. The conversion of their content from text, like e-mail, into voice mail or vice versa is
enabled by speech-to-text or text-to-speech technologies. A text message does not have to be
read but it can be heard by the recipient.
Speech technologies play a key role in the convergence of these businesses. Vehicle Telematics,
in its early days, was a call center business and offered, besides safety and security services,
location information relevant to drivers. In the future, ATX Technologies
(http://www.atxtechnologies.com/) will continue to offer safety and security services, as a call
center function, while location information will be speech enabled.
The product mix of telematics services providers will expand to include information and message
services in the package they offer to customers.
Multi-media will further blur the distinctions between these businesses. The technology required
to deliver video messages or attachments of music files with messages will not be a whole lot
different from that required to offer entertainment to car owners. The convergence of
entertainment with messaging and information is possible as large media files can be
downloaded (to multi-media player which also reads messages and plays voice information
messages) using Bluetooth or 802.11 technologies.
Some companies are beginning to take advantage of potential economies of scope inherent in
the emerging technologies. Ibasis (www.ibasis.com), provides both unified messaging and
speech enabled information services Comverse includes entertainment as well messaging and
voice enabled information services (www.comverse.com/solutions/index.htm). Telematics Service
providers such as ATX Technologies (http://www.atxtechnologies.com/) and Mobile Aria
(http://www.mobilearia.com/) are working on plans to offer multi-media telematics services over
the next 18 to 24 months. Delphi Automotive Systems
(http://www.delphiauto.com/products/manufacturers/multimedia/) and Visteon
(http://www.visteon.com/technology/automotive/Multi_ICES.html) have developed
equipment that can be used for all these three services including music and video, which will
considerably increase the demand for storage intensive products.
From the supply side, storage technologies help in reaping the economies of scope to the extent
that the data for all these services can be aggregated at a single point in a data store. The costs
of storing messages, as we will see, account for a substantial proportion of the costs of unified
messaging. Technically, its possible to also store voice files and media rich files in a single store
but this is hard to achieve when content is received from multiple sources.
3.2.1 Storage and Unified Messaging
For the sake of expositional clarity, we will discuss the role storage plays in the provision of each
of these services separately beginning with unified messaging. Storage occupies center stage in
web based messaging systems such as those built around the Internet Message Access Protocol
(IMAP), or similar web based e-mail access system. Unlike the more commonly used Post Office
Protocol 3 (POP3), IMAP is a designed to access files, using a web browser, from any location
and at any fixed or wireless device.
Unified messaging requires a single repository to efficiently convert a message from one type,
such as voice mail, to another like e-mail. If the server architecture were retained, messages
would have to be reproduced in both the voice-mail server as well as the e-mail server before e-
mail or a phone client can access them. Wasteful reproduction of messages increases as the
number of channels of access increase.
When messages are centralized in a single repository, they can be readily converted to another
medium. Messages are converted from voice to text and vice versa by speech recognition and
text-to-speech technologies and Optical Character Recognition for conversion of fax messages.
From the consumer end, access from a common repository becomes essential when messages
are accessed from more than one location. Post Office Protocol 3 (POP 3), the most commonly
used protocol, gained currency when the desktop was the only client. Once downloaded, files can
only be accessed locally from the desktop client. Messages can, theoretically, be accessed on-
line from anywhere, with POP 3, if they are saved on the server. Users would, however, find this
inconvenient, unless they have a file management system, which reports on previous activity.
Protocols such as IMAP provide a common visual interface to all files and folders stored on a
message box on the Internet. This is particularly useful when files of different kinds, text, voice,
fax, short messaging and video, are integrated to provide a common view. It has the ability to
provide status report of any previous action undertaken on the file.
Above all, IMAP affords an opportunity to search and retrieve files of his or her choice or a subset
of a file such that the more important sections can be retrieved on bandwidth poor wireless
devices or attachments can be viewed at a later time. When POP3 is used as an e-mail client, all
the pending messages from a server have to be downloaded. Users have no choice but to view
the entire message and the attachments including voice or video files.
By aggregating all messages in a single data store, service providers can economize on a variety
of administrative overheads that are otherwise required to manage messages in their separate
mediums such as directories for voice mailboxes and e-mail servers and the costs of maintaining
user data, operating system and facilities management. Instead, a single directory, the preferred
option is Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), is used for the administration of all types
In a component based messaging software, the management of the capacity of the data store
takes place independent of other pieces within the messaging system such as the processing
power of servers. The message store can be a RAID, NAS or SAN so that the e-mail storage can
be transferred into another disk when any one of them breaks down. Replication of data ensures
that any break down does not lead to loss of information. Similarly, the disk capacity can be
raised as volumes increase without any interruption in services. Service providers can also offer
classes of services based on the users’ tolerance for downtime.
3.2.2 Storage and Voice Information services
We will now look at the role storage plays in the provision of voice information services.
Traditionally, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems were used to automate some of the call
center functions. The tedium of using prompts on a touch-tone phone discouraged the use of IVR
except for a few functions like preliminary instructions.
Customers can now use natural language keywords to search a storehouse of information and
the response is read to them from any telephone. They can be productive in their spare moments,
such as when they are driving or walking, by looking up their e-mail or calendar. Speech
recognition allows them to do this even when they are driving without risking an accident that is a
common experience with the use of a cellular phone.
The ease of retrieval with speech recognition technologies has encouraged companies to offer a
broader range of voice information services. Companies can automate responses to routine
functions such as arrival time for trains, flight departures at airlines or descriptions of promotions.
Just as speech recognition technologies are more convenient than IVR for the consumers, the
introduction of VoiceXML applications lowers the cost of deployment of such services. Whereas
IVR technologies require a separate infrastructure, VoiceXML can be integrated with their text
web infrastructure and their content can be converted into voice.
Voice files are large, ten times the size of an equivalent text file, and their volumes are increasing
with increasing adoption. Storage is required not only to manage large quantities of data but also
its variable demand. An individual company is less likely to fully utilize its infrastructure and would
incur higher costs than if it were to outsource its services. As an example, retail stores receive a
disproportionate number of calls during the Christmas season compared to the rest of the year
when call traffic is more moderate. If the facilities are designed to cater to peak level of demand,
they will be underutilized for the rest of the year. Alternatively companies can invest in a smaller
size infrastructure at the risk of losing goodwill during the holiday season.
Concurrently, the emergence of web services and web servers has separated the function of
application use and the operation of the back-end infrastructure. It is now possible to house the
infrastructure in a data center. When the data storage infrastructure is outsourced, it can begin to
take advantage of the redundancy of the Internet. The access to storage facilities on the Internet
affords an opportunity to scale the size of the infrastructure as the demand grows.
3.2.3 Storage and Telematics
Telematics is composed of several services including safety and security services that have been
the staple of telematics services so far. Increasingly, voice information services are gaining
ground especially because drivers need to access information without holding a wireless device
in their hand. Finally, entertainment services are valued for drivers to use their time.
Storage is required as the product mix of telematics services is increasingly multi-media.
3.3 Location based services
Geographical information can be represented as either vector data or raster data. Vector data is
shown as a set of co-ordinates, X,Y and or Z, that are useful for depicting quantitative information
on maps. Raster data is depicted as cells (bit-mapped) and is useful for graphical representation
of geographical information. Digital representation of satellite imagery, aerial photography is done
in raster mode. Vector data and raster data cannot be used in combination except when they are
Currently, the GIS/location based services industry generally utilizes vector data since it
economizes on storage and is useful for measurements. However, raster data is visually
appealing and its use can be effective in industries like the real estate or the travel industry when
a picture of the surroundings can aid customers in their decision-making process. Raster data,
however, requires a great deal of storage space which increases as the resolution improves.
Storage technology will play an increasingly important role in location-based services (referred to
as GIS in the non-commercial world) as satellite imagery of finer resolution becomes available.
Currently, satellite imagery of a resolution as high as one meter is already available12 and
licenses for satellites capable of half a meter resolution have been granted13. Location based
services are potentially possible with pictures of one meter resolution since streets, parking lots,
movement of cars becomes visible14. With data of 100 MB per picture15, terabytes of storage are
required for preserving imagery of such high resolution is made available16.
The demand for raster data, satellite imagery and other remote sensing data will grow when such
data is moved faster from their source to the point of consumption. Companies like AXS
Technologies (http://www.axs-tech.com/index_blue.php) offer parallel processing technologies
to retrieve information rapidly from disks. It has also partnered with Inciscent
(www.inciscent.com) to provide wireless access to this data.
Location based services (LBS), as they are known in the wireless world or Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) grow as increasing number of data types are linked to spatial
information. Geographical Information Systems link a variety of data types by tying them to their
spatial characteristics (http://www.cubewerx.com/). For example, the longitude/latitude, zip code
can be utilized to link information on assets of utilities. Due to high costs of storage and
bandwidth, the commercial sector makes limited use of raster data as well as satellite imagery
and aerial photography.
Furthermore, geographical content is created by numerous entities such as city governments,
state governments and federal government. Other information such as yellow pages is received
from telecommunications companies and public and private sectors produce satellite imagery and
aerial photography. This data is now conveniently available from two major clearinghouses-the
Federal Geospatial Data Committee- as well as the Geography Network, established by ESRI
(www.esri.com). Storage area networks help to move data in real time to its consumption point.
Modern day Geographical Information Systems (GIS) visually illustrate location information by
portraying them on maps. Bald numbers from databases and statistical series are rendered
visually on maps for intelligibility. For example a database query on income distribution can be
displayed on maps showing neighborhoods with income classes or statistical data such as
population density can be displayed on maps. Retail chains use such information to determine
the location of each of their stores and correlate them with their sales data.
For an illustration of the images possible with one meter resolution, see
Satellite imagery plays a variety of roles depending on the nature of the application. In the
commercial world, the most common applications of satellite imagery are for risk assessment in
the insurance industry and asset tracking in the transportation industry. Transportation companies
typically use satellite imagery to aid navigation of their trucks in less familiar territories using
wireless devices (http://www.objectfx.com/). Similarly, telecommunications companies use
location specific data on their cells and central offices for use by their field forces. The insurance
industry uses map data to ascertain susceptibility of a clients’ property to natural disasters for
determining risk and premiums17.
Much paper work in asset management is saved when GIS is utilized. Utilities, for example, have
to respond to enquiries from contractors who need to dig in a particular geographical region. In
the past, utilities had to wade into their paper documents and painstakingly ensure that none of
their assets would be affected. Today, contractors can look at web hosted GIS databases to find
out for themselves whether any harm will be done to utility assets by their digging18.
Wireless location based services have become possible with the advent of Geographical
Positioning Systems and E-911 identification that FCC mandates. In the future, location aware
devices will enable automatic transmission of information triggered by events.
By bringing together scattered data, GIS information systems pave the way to centralizing
information and to take advantage of the scale economies afforded by storage technologies for
archiving and retrieval of the information at relatively lower costs19.
3.4 CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Customer relationship management databases have grown from the gigabyte range to the
terabyte range in recent years. Information is now collected from inside and outside the enterprise
on a broader range of parameters and more frequently. Storage technologies are required for
supporting CRM databases in such a scenario; companies such as SAS (www.sas.com),
working in collaboration with EMC and Teradata (www.teradata.com), working in collaboration
For a case study, http://www.mapinfo.com/community/free/library/insurance_wp.pdf
A sample of location based services can be found at
with LSI Logic (http://www.lsilogic.com/index2.html) are currently the major players in the
larger size CRM databases.
For the larger databases, information is collected not only from an individual department but also
from related divisions in the enterprise. The early CRM databases typically collected data on
orders, billing and collections. They evolved by incorporating related enterprise information from
inter-dependent departments, such as production, thereby enlarging the size of the databases.
CRM databases with operating information such as production, sales and inventory become more
valuable when they are placed in a context. Data on expenditures on music, for example, is
meaningful when seen together with the socio-economic psychographics of individual segments
of the population. Beyond the early adopter stage, companies compile secondary data on
demographics to decipher patterns that are useful in strategic planning.
Also, companies have realized the need to retain their customers instead of incurring the costs of
customer acquisition. They see an advantage in collating historical information on their customers
in order to find patterns in their purchasing behavior that can provide clues to gain their loyalty.
Typically, CRM data is used to identify customers who account for the highest share of
consumption, their responses to campaigns and any product features added to products.
The diversity of information available in CRM databases has given rise to business intelligence,
which is used for deciphering patterns such as segmentation within the customer base. The data
is used to offer customers related products that fit their profile. Their responses to promotions
reveal their price sensitivity. Initially, business intelligence concerned business analysts who used
the information to communicate to senior executives of a company.
Increasingly, companies have realized much greater gains are possible by using business
intelligence to alert their staff in real time. This is particularly true for applications such as logistics
management, i.e., optimizing when conflicting demands are made on time of delivery and cost for
shipping goods. Similarly, seasonal fluctuations in demand for industries such as the travel
industry need quick feedback on demand patterns in specific groups. The dissemination of
information, from centralized repositories, is possible with wireless devices. Mobile staff is alerted
to critical performance data of the company as well as actions of competitors that may be
revealed by say sales data. Business Objects (http://www.businessobjects.com) is one such
company that offers business intelligence services using wireless devices.
The lead times for collection, assimilation and communication of data are lower when data is
collected for real time decision making. Consequently, databases increase in size as data is
collected more frequently.
Data warehouses or corporate information factories, as their larger versions are known, are the
radars of enterprises guiding the movements of their road warriors. The size and complexity data
warehouses behoove their reliable management. Storage area networks provide the redundancy
to manage rising volumes of data and lower the downtime by replicating them at several sites.
3.5 STORAGE AND MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
Fragmentation of workflow is commonplace in the health care industry and is the root cause of
high rates of medical errors, much of the cost escalation and deteriorating quality that has fed
political passions in the USA. The discontinuity exists at four different levels; within departments
of a hospital or a medical group, between branches of a group, across institutions within the
larger healthcare enterprise and geographical regions. The current effort to integrate workflows,
with the help of storage technologies, is within departments of hospitals and medical groups.
The fragmentation of workflows is the cause of paper shuffle, loss of information, time delays as
professionals struggle to collate information and decisions are based on inadequate data as a
result of the discontinuities in the workflow. According to figures collected by the American
Hospital Association, paper work in the medical world takes at least fifty percent of the time on
patient care if not more. Emergency care is the most wasteful with paperwork matching the time
on patient care while skilled nursing takes half the time20
Storage has a potentially vital role in funneling information to a single point, integrating bits of
information, disseminating it to professionals and processes it for decision support. The
companies that lead in leveraging storage technologies for integration of work flows in the health
“Patients or Paperwork”, American Hospital Association, 2001
care industry are General Electric Medical Systems
(http://www.gemedicalsystems.com/it_solutions/index.html), in collaboration with EMC, and
Siemens (http://www.smed.com/), Philips
(http://www.medical.philips.com/product_lines/mimit/index.asp) and Agfa
collaboration with Storagetek.
One of the first departments to be digitized in the health enterprise has been the radiology
department. Digital imaging yields cost benefits, simply by abandoning the costly processing of
silver halide films, without wrenching restructuring in a health enterprise. The pay-off is larger as
digital archiving is potentially cheaper and the movement of records between departments is
faster. Imaging also crosses departmental boundaries more than any other division of a health
enterprise; it can be requisitioned by outpatient clinics, the operating rooms, intensive care unit,
In the past, the images had to be moved physically and by trucks when they were transported to
other units within the hospital complex. Storage enabled Picture Archiving and Communications
Systems (PACS) allows health enterprises to deposit the images at a single point and the
associated metadata allows multiple users to access them at several locations. In one
implementation of the project in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the time from the end of the
procedure to the sign-off stage was reduced from 37.2 hours in 1999 to 2 hours in 200121.
Beyond radiology, much greater productivity benefits are possible in clinical work flows. At this
stage, automation is harder because work processes are more heterogeneous; information is
filtered from the lens of a particular discipline, individual doctors exercise judgment, nurses and
doctors have differing needs and data required in departments such as intensive care is not the
same as in an operating room. Consequently, data definitions are rife with controversy.
Presentation by Neil D Johnson, MD
On the other hand, the payoff from clinical information systems is potentially higher as it has an
impact across the health enterprise. A patient could be treated by a general physician followed by
a specialist and examined in the laboratories. At all these levels, paper patient records have to be
shuffled from one point to another22. Similarly, a patient is cared by doctors and nurses and the
record of treatment has to be submitted to insurance for compensation.
Much of the duplication of paperwork can be eliminated by a clinical repository at the center of it.
An electronic patient record helps to access the current and historical clinical information about a
patient. Sharing of information between health providers is the most compelling administrative
and clinical reason for adopting an electronic health record. Productivity benefits are the next
most important perceived benefit from a centralized patient record (see table).
In addition, data centralized in clinical depositories can become the bedrock for decision-support
systems. Doctors are required to choose between a host of patented and generic drugs; they
have to weigh the trade-offs of effectiveness and the price of the drugs. They also need
information on interactions of drugs with allergies. They need data on historical record of patients’
to judge how a drug will affect them. In addition, they need pharmacological data such as side-
effects of drugs as revealed by the latest research as well the drugs covered by the patients’
health insurance coverage. Computerized Physicians Order Entry (CPOE) used information
about the patient and the condition to narrow down the options that doctors have to make23.
Data traverses a variety of institutions in the health industry when it moves from points of origin to
its destination where it is consumed; information originates or flows to research institutions,
hospitals, home care, medical groups and insurance companies. Information has to be presented
in a variety of ways for each client as it moves from one section of the enterprise to another.
Physicians use pharmacological data, clinical information, and imagery and laboratory results for
diagnosis and prescription. Insurance companies, on the other hand, use similar information for
A case study describing the benefits of integration is available at
An exhaustive review of the evidence on the impact of CPOE and the opportunity costs of not
implementing it can be found at http://www.icsi.org/talist.htm
fraud control. The administrative divisions use the same information for billing, charge capture
and consumer retention purposes. Storage plays a useful role in centralizing information and its
reuse by its presentation in a variety of formats.
Wireless applications will potentially play a vital role reducing medical errors, the costs of
gathering data, quality of care and communicating information retrieved from repositories.
According to one estimate, charge capture alone will add 4% to revenues by saving the paper
work24 and the associated reprocessing that routinely happens because physician’s fees are
missed but not that of the hospital. Other applications include reduction of errors in prescription,
vital sign monitoring and retrieval of data from laboratories25.
The increasing automation of clinical workflows will drive wireless applications moving them from
their initial stage of adoption to widespread usage in the health industry. Medical errors can be
reduced when physicians have a ready reference to the deluge of data on prescriptions, drugs,
patient information, drug interactions, insurance formularies, etc. eProcrates
(www.epocrates.com/products) specializes in applications that provide ready reference to
information on drugs.
Similarly, Allscripts Healthcare solutions (www.allscripts.com/ahcs/index.htm) offers solutions that
allow physicians to use electronic pens to write prescriptions and transmit them directly to
pharmacies, automatically check against the formularies data and for drug interactions. Many
medical errors take place because pharmacies are unable to understand a physician’s
handwriting or they are unable to recall information on interactions of drugs and allergies.
Patients and pharmacies also frequently check back with physicians when drugs are not listed on
an insurance company’s formularies.
Quoted from http://www.patientkeeper.com/download/whitepapers/mgma_panel.pdf, page 5.
The ability to reference clinical data quickly is another important reason ofr medical errors.
Skyscape (www.skyscape.com/index/) serves as a repository of all manner of clinical data that is
available to doctors on their handheld computers.
3.6 Rich Media Applications
Media is largely stored in an analog format aside from digital media that is created by
companies, such as Einstein TV (www.einstein.tv/uk/index.asp) that began with broadcasting
science documentaries on the Internet. Streaming media technologies can encode the
accumulated analog media assets for reuse on the Internet, as interactive television and video-
Typically, analog media, viewed in movie halls, is cost-effective for mass audiences and tends to
discourage the production of content for smaller audiences such as schools. Einstein TV offers
science documentaries that are otherwise rarely available on analog media.
Analog media is typically viewed at pre-determined points of time whereas digital media can be
seen on-demand. The media is placed on storage devices that are accessible on the Internet so
that the audience can choose the time to view the content.
Video footage created on analog media has a relatively short shelf life. Films are inherently prone
to damage and their preservation requires specialized skills. Consequently, films could not earn
revenue beyond their short life span, which is often inadequate to cover the initial costs of its
By digitizing and accumulating media at a central location in a storage sub-system, storage
technologies have paved the way for reuse of media assets. Reuse of media content is hampered
by the inability to search its sub-components. Video logging technologies, developed by Virage
(www.virage.com) enable the indexing of video content at a more granular level, which facilitates
the retrieval of sub-components of the footage. Computers use metadata or data that recognizes
specific shots to retrieve sections of the footage. Speech recognition makes it possible to use
natural language keyword to search for specific footage. Reuse of old content can take place, for
example, by creating historical content from accumulated footage.
Similarly, reuse of media is constrained by the format in which it is created. Streaming media is
often created for particular media players. Images are created in particular sizes or their color
hues have to be adapted before they are suitable in another situation. Rich media content on
storage devices can be readily adapted, with related conversion technologies, for their reuse26.
At this juncture, storage technologies are used in work group environments and are usually
directly attached to their servers. In a news broadcasting company like CNN, for example,
footage on an event arrives from several different sources and is edited by a team of journalists
working together. Typically, each member of the team uses a workstation to store the footage that
is used as a reference for consultations. Consequently, an enormous amount of superfluous data
is stored on each workstation or moved on the network when it has to be exchanged.
The possibilities of reuse increase with a storage area network which allows content to be
accessed by several different users who could well be spread out geographically. Einstein TV, a
company based in the United Kingdom, for example, is implementing storage area networks that
will help it to distribute its program content to six different European countries in their own
languages. The conversion of the content to the presentation requirements of each of the
standards and the translation of content in different languages is more efficient when content is
drawn from a single source (as profiled in our case study of IBM/Tivoli).
However, the distribution of video content involves complex system integration capabilities that
have not been fully developed. The ability to manage very large files at an affordable price is the
most important consideration for commercial adoption27.
Applications for storage area networks for media management exist outside of the movie industry
in the management of marketing communications. Typically, enterprises have to communicate
with their agencies and need to do it quickly to manage their campaigns. Location shooting can
very well be far away from the place where the footage is processed and it is often used in a third
place. The ability to centralize content at a single point and mirror it at several different locations
is essential for co-ordination between groups working across geographical boundaries28.
See case study on Generic Media
The issues have been discussed in the case study on IBM/Tivoli
This has been documented in our case study on E-Motion (www.emotion.com)
Once the media is produced, enterprises also need to reuse their content. This becomes
necessary when it has to be published not only in the print media but also the web or on films.
Similarly, the content has to be published in collateral which could be in pdf files, excel sheets or
word files. The content has to be made available in a variety of sizes, colors and resolutions.
Large corporations have to be able to do this not only in a single department but several clients
within the enterprise29
Storage enabled wireless applications currently play an insignificant role. However, the
development work for such applications is underway at Virage in partnership with Packet Video
(http://www.pv.com/). In the short-term, wireless applications will be centered on work group
collaboration in studios to prevent interruptions in the editing process. Beyond a two year period,
media content distribution for sports content seems a real possibility.
4 PROSPECTS OF LEADING APPLICATIONS OF STORAGE
Introduction: Rising from the ashes of Internet business models that sought to earn revenue
from advertisements, turnaround for Internet businesses is contingent on consumers’ willingness
to pay. Rich media, voice enabled services, unified messaging, location based services, customer
relationship management are among the applications that the industry, including wireless
telecommunications industry, sees as compelling enough for consumers to pay.
The search for new business models and compelling mobile applications is relentless despite a
string of setbacks in the mobile computing industry. Future prospects in the 3G wireless might
have been roiled by a botched allocation of the radio spectrum, delayed adoption of new
applications, etc., but the leaders in the industry have not lost their verve. Accenture, IBM, Philips,
Sony among large companies and Brience, Airborne Entertainment among start-ups have
wagered audacious new game plans.
Accenture, the reinvented Andersen Consulting, has promoted a bevy of mobile applications that
its Technology Labs has initiated, its venture capital arm has financed and its consulting group
has positioned in the marketplace
(www.accenture.com/xd/xd.asp?it=enWeb&xd=servicestechnologytech_efuture.xml) The actual
See the case study of Mediabin www.mediabin.com
implementation of new wireless applications is happening in collaboration with leaders in
individual segments such as Microsoft (www.avanade.com/global/ground.zero.asp) and Sony
(www.concadia.com/). The entry of Accenture promises to correct the numerous flaws in
business strategy that jeopardized early launches of mobile applications.
In the consumer space, the entry of Sony and Philips would draw skills in branding and market
entry that the technology industry lacked. Like Accenture, Sony is cultivating ecology of wireless
companies (www.550dmv.com/company.php?cid=44), primarily for rich media entertainment
applications, besides the investments of its companies.
Similarly, Philips can galvanize the rich media space especially because it has decided to
promote standards based (MPEG) applications for its streaming media products
IBM, together with its associate companies Tivoli and Ascential Software, has a comprehensive
plan for the wireless space (www-3.ibm.com/pvc/), including embedded devices, which includes
mobile platforms, enterprise applications and related storage infrastructure (www.tivoli.com) and
storage management software (www.ascentialsoftware.com). The hallmark of these inter-related
technologies is the web services model that seems to be the answer to problems of achieving
economies of scale and product differentiation in the application services space.
Brience (www.brience.com), among the new breed of start-ups, has leveraged its adaptive mobile
services platform to offer a range of customized mobile applications to enterprise customers.
Finally, Airborne Entertainment (www.airborne-e.com), another start-up, has a unique model of
micro-entertainment tailored for mobile devices.
Similarly, fresh perspectives are emerging to resuscitate the battered Application Service
Providers companies. The scramble for a piece of the ASP space was misplaced because
players could neither achieve scalability nor product differentiation in the absence of close
relationships with the customers. The ASPs utilized a refurbished client-server architecture that
offered the economies of shared infrastructure to its customers. The rub was that it could neither
customize applications for the needs of its customers nor could it scale in the absence of a
An emerging group of players in the mobile applications space offer a generic mobile applications
platform which support components of a variety of applications. The mobile platforms are
generic and can be scaled. Mobile applications are customized to meet the individual needs of
customers. The precise needs of customers are identified by Value Added Resellers who bring
their intimate knowledge of the business processes of the customer as well as system integration
The success of the web services model is contingent on assuaging users apprehensions about
security risks. Over the long run, the success of the web services model will pave the way for
taking advantage of the back-end Internet Infrastructure technologies to reap scale economies.
The web services model allows the sharing of an enterprise database for a variety of applications
used within a company. Load management will be facilitated if its can be distributed over inter-
connected servers and storage devices spread over the Internet.
Coincidentally, the crystallization of several inter-related technologies in storage, especially
centralized storage management, content and digital asset management, transmission of
streaming media, web application services, caching and media players could coalesce at an
inflection point in the near term future. These technologies will lower the inefficiencies in the value
chain that includes data storage, content management or editing and indexing for ease of
retrieval of data, and its subsequent transmission over a network, its conversion into web services
on web application servers and their presentation on a variety of user devices. Computer users,
on their media players, already see some of the impact of these technologies. More is to come….
4.1 Prospects of Digital Photography
Consumer digital photography is potentially a large market since it can substitute for silver halide
films, a well-established mass market, and be one of the leading applications expected to drive
the demand for storage in the near term future. The advantages of digital photography are
• Sharing by means of web storage of photographs, e-mail or disks is instantaneous and does
not require multiple duplications or every time it needs to be viewed.
• Photographs can be previewed on a LCD screen and adjustments can be made before a
Consumers save the relatively high costs of silver-halide films and their processing as well as
indirect costs of disposal of hazardous material.
• Digital photographs can be modified electronically to make them available in a variety of
shapes and sizes.
• Automation of picture taking parameters such as aperture adjustment by in-built software
• Digital cameras can facilitate anytime photography because they can be miniaturized to an
extent where they can fit into Palm devices30.
The reality is that digital photography has been still-born and remained a hobby since 1981 when
it was launched by Cannon and Sony. Personal computers have been responsible for reviving its
prospects. However, personal computers as a medium storage have limitations for the very
simple reason that data stored in them is frequently lost as a result of crashes and virus attacks.
At this stage, digital photography is in a state of infancy; a small percentage of households have
reported ownership of digital cameras or use of photographs. Similarly, e-mail more than Internet
storage of photographs is the preferred means of sharing photographs (see table).
The reasons for low rates of adoption of digital photography are as follows.
• Users of traditional cameras can count on taking shots of a fleeting moment (such as a siblings
quarreling) without losing time on getting a camera ready. Digital cameras have to boot up
before a shot can be taken which can be often too late. Not only is the time taken relatively
long, it is also variable31. Similarly, the time lags between successive photographs is variable32
• The large majority of users still own analog computers and they don’t yet have the option to
preserve their photographs in digital format.
http://www.mentor.com/embedded/fulfillment/vrtx_dig_cam.pdf, describes the technical reasons for the
delays in taking photographs.
• Ease of use attributes, such as printing, uploading and filing, are not yet available
Historically, ease of use of cameras has been the primary determinant of the diffusion of digital
cameras. Digital photography will undergo its own transformation before it is acceptable to the
mass market. Some of the developments that will make this possible will be
• Creation of kiosks much like the ubiquitous drop-off centers in pharmacy and other retail stores.
Such centers require both printing, uploading and sharing facilities. The leaders in the field
include companies like Pixel Magic Imaging33 and Applied Science Fiction34
• Windows XP has software features, including now Kodak’s Easyshare system that eases the
uploading of photographs to a PC.
• Common printers such as the HP Inkjet can print digital photographs.
• Products such as the Kodak’s mc3, which combines the function of a video recorder, Internet
music player and a still camera, all in a small device will bring to the market the kind of products
that have popular with the young population.
In the past, the photography market has recorded a trend growth rate of six to seven percent.
Between 1997 and 2000, the growth in emerging markets has declined and has offset the
marginal expansion in the developed markets
(www.kodak.com/country/US/en/corp/georgeFisher/pres990427Carp.shtml) so that the
global growth has remained flat. For the purpose of a medium-term forecast, we will assume that
the historical rates of growth will be baseline estimate for the growth in the photography market.
The growth of the personal photography market is expected to rise in the medium-term future
since the rate of diffusion of digital photography will increase aided by the introduction of simpler
devices in the marketplace. Furthermore, the introduction of photo management features in
Windows XP will make digital photography more visible to general mass of consumers.
4.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Telematics
Unified messaging has not been widely accepted despite the perceived convenience of remote
access, for especially mobile professionals to all types of messages, from a single message box
and a full listing of messages viewed from a graphical user interface. In reality, users see a
substantial benefit in integrating only fax messages since is received on a separate machine
removed from the desktop35.
Adoption rates for Unified Messaging are presumed to increase as mobile professionals low even
though mobile staff accounts for the majority of staff in SMEs and a significant minority in large
organizations. According to one survey, mobile staff accounts for 10-30% of the staff in large
organizations and 30-80% of the staff in small and medium scale enterprises36. The experience
from actual deployments indicates that price resistance is stiff 37
Software companies have responded to price resistance by leveraging storage technology to
reduce costs. Emerging solutions not only centralize all types of messages in a single store, they
also use the same storehouse for keeping voice information files. The consequent cost reductions
are expected to be substantial (see case study on Tornado Development).
The story of increasing acceptance of voice information services begins with carriers who see a
value in voice portal services. Qwest began the process with its partnership with BeVocal
(www.bevocal.com) followed by AT&T with Tellme (www.tellme.com) and Hey Anita
(www.heyanita.com) with Korea Telecom, Sprint and Net2Phone. Tornado Development began
with Unified Messaging Services with Telekom Malaysia and has recently acquired Global
Crossing. The extension of voice portal business into vehicle telematics and unified messaging is
a short step once carriers agree to deploy voice portal services. More recently, BeVocal acquired
Bell South, the first wire line customer to sign up for voice information services.
The critical performance requirement of voice portals is simply to recognize a wide range of
queries, words and accents. Furthermore, it has to be able to recognize speech even when there
is background noise. Incoming traffic can be very disparate in situations where consumers using
a mobile phone expect answers to any question. By contrast, questions received by an enterprise
would be more uniform; an airline would typically have to respond to queries about flight
schedules. Self-service, with current best practices, is possible with 50% of the consumer calls
See the market research report on http://www.unified-msg.com/frames.html
See market research study available at http://www.unified-msg.com/frames.html
A review of cost issues can be found at www.bcr.com/voicecon/articles/b0008p44d.asp
compared with 14% when speech recognition technologies were introduced. In the enterprise
space, where queries are more standard, self-service is possible with 97% of the calls.
Demand for voice portals is driven by the need to automate call center functions. Shortages of
call center personnel and their increasing costs will impel increasing recourse to speech
recognition technologies. Benchmark Portal, a giant data warehouse on call centers, recently
collated information on the trends in the call center labor market; its data shows that 22% of the
call centers had to struggle to recruit staff, 50% of the staff was performing at less than the
expected levels and 63% of the call centers had already raised salaries or were planning to do
Automation of call center functions promises steep increase in productivity and cost reduction.
According to Benchmark Portal, the costs of a call processed by a live agent are $ 1.50 per call
while an automated service costs $ 0.25 per call. The sunk costs in Interactive Voice Response
systems and legacy systems and the unproven nature of speech recognition technologies
prevented companies making a transition to automation. However, relocation of call center
functions to offshore locations, especially India, will put increasing pressure to cut costs on call
Not all call center functions can be automated since customers will have queries that require
information processing. As an example, customers could call a call center at a
telecommunications company and request for information on plans which would typically require
comparative information on promotions, costs and benefits of features, bundling options available
with them and so on. Call center representatives can help in evaluating the trade-offs of each
plan. On the other hand, information such as flight schedules, weather reports are easily
The business landscape for vehicle telematics has been radically transformed from the time
safety and security was the primary need. Increasingly, voice information services and more
importantly entertainment will constitute an increasing share of revenues earned from vehicle
telematics. These applications are media rich and require storage technologies to support them.
Improving Call Center Performance through Optimized Site Selection by Dr. John Anton et al,
A transition from analog to digital systems is an important reason for the intensified competition in
the vehicle telematics marketplace. The incumbent, Onstar, could virtually monopolize the market
place as long as safety and security was the only viable service that could be offered. Digital
systems work better for richer applications like entertainment. Early signs of the radical
transformation of the industry are the satellite entertainment services from XM Radio
(http://www.xmradio.com) introduced by General Motors for Cadillac DeVilles and Sevilles, in
November 2001. Similar services are also available from Sirius Satellite Radio
New companies such as Wingcast and Mobile Aria, besides new independent service providers
such as Automobile Association of America, are poised to introduce a wide range of new
services. Emerging players are using dual mode devices since the coverage of digital networks
is still less than half of analog networks; AMPS (advanced mobile phone service) is the analog
system which has 90% coverage in the USA while digital systems have 40% coverage.
While security and safety services were ostensibly the most important services, the actual call
pattern showed that many of the queries were for location based services. Figures released by
(http://www.atxtechnologies.com/responseops/newsletter_sq00.asp#handling) show that
only 2% of calls received are emergency calls that necessarily require human intervention. The
large majority of the calls request navigation assistance, roadside assistance and non-emergency
911 calls, usually by drivers who have lost their way and want to get back on track. Much of this
traffic can be automated by speech recognition technologies.
Vehicle telematics, today, has a small base of users that has grown slowly because the pricing is
not attractive. Of a total of 1.7 million users today, 1.3 million subscribe to Onstar services and
the remaining to ATX Technologies. Current market research indicates that consumers are
unwilling to pay any more than a hundred dollars for telematics services39. Onstar currently
charges $199 for its basic plan of safety and security services and $399 for the premium
Quoted from “The Current Market for Telematics: Great Products searching for demand” by M Scott Ulnick
and William Haupricht of Ducker Worldwide Inc