Storage Area Networks and Wireless Applications
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The report describes wireless applications in media, location based services, medical, telematics and unified messaging enabled by storage area networks.

The report describes wireless applications in media, location based services, medical, telematics and unified messaging enabled by storage area networks.

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Storage Area Networks and Wireless Applications Storage Area Networks and Wireless Applications Document Transcript

  • 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 http://www.gemedicalsystems.com/it_solutions/index.html)................................................. 68
  • 6 EXPERIENCES OF KEY PLAYERS: ................................................................... 72 6.1 Storability (www.storability) .......................................................................................... 72 6.2 IBM/Tivoli...................................................................................................................... 73 6.3 Veritas (http://www.veritas.com/) ................................................................................ 77 6.4 E-motion (www.emotion.com) ...................................................................................... 78 6.5 Viafone (www.viafone.com) ......................................................................................... 79 6.6 Tellme (www.tellme.com)............................................................................................. 81 6.7 Openwave (http://www.openwave.com) ...................................................................... 82 6.8 Datadirectnet ( http://www.datadirectnet.com/)........................................................... 83 6.9 Generic Media (www.genericmedia.com) .................................................................... 84 6.10 Digital Fountain (http://www.digitalfountain.com)......................................................... 85 6.11 Airborne Entertainment (http://www.airborne-e.com)................................................... 86 6.12 I-DRIVE (http://www.idrive.com/) ................................................................................. 87 6.13 Deep Bridge (http://www.deepbridge.com/) ................................................................. 88 6.14 Broadstream (http://www.broadstream.com/) .............................................................. 89 6.15 Vicinity (www.vicinity.com) ........................................................................................... 90 6.16 Mediabin (www.MediaBin.com).................................................................................... 92 6.17 Scale Eight (www.scale8.com)..................................................................................... 94 7 CONCLUSIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS STRATEGY .................... 95
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 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. 1 A case study of a digital archive can be found at http://www.dvwebvideo.com/2000/0500/gordon0500.html
  • 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 single point. 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 destination. 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 library. 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 repository. 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 (www.scale8.com/customers/Octavo_Case_Study.pdf). 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 truck drivers. 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. 2 See the case study of Generic Media for the method for serving data for a variety of players in the streaming media context. 3 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 customer site4. 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 4 See our case study on ViaFone 5 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 applications. 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 happens. 2 TECHNOLOGY 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 of servers. 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 switches. 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 geographically. 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 load management. 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 networks. 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 previous one. 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 network. 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 checked. 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. 6 (http://uwsg.ucs.indiana.edu/usail/network/nfs/overview.html) 7 This is discussed in detail in a white paper at (www.brocade.com/san/white_papers/pdf/EvolvingSANStandards03072000.pdf).
  • 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 applications. 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 DataDirectNet). 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 reassembling them. 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 Media). 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. 8 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 pixels. 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. 9 Quoted from http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/1998/09/wang/ 10 International Imaging Industry Association, Fact Sheet. 11 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 on (http://www.i3a.org/pr_11_13_01.html). 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 of messages. 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 juxtaposed. 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, 12 http://www.spaceimaging.com/newsroom/press_kits/factsheet.htm 13 http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/business/satellite_licenses_001218.html
  • 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. 14 For an illustration of the images possible with one meter resolution, see http://www.estec.esa.nl/ceos99/papers/p154.pdf 15 op cit 16 http://www.pitt.edu/~oduibhne/RIVERS%20OF%20DATA_00.07.06.htm
  • 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 17 For a case study, http://www.mapinfo.com/community/free/library/insurance_wp.pdf 18 http://www.mapinfo.com/community/free/library/pocs_casestudy.pdf 19 A sample of location based services can be found at http://www.jlocationservices.com/MarketShowcase/DeployedLocationServices.html#
  • 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 20 “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 (http://www.agfa.com/healthcare/modelpathpage.php?pageid=1810&type=product), in 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, etc. 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. 21 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 22 A case study describing the benefits of integration is available at http://www.gemedicalsystems.com/monitor/products/info_sys/qsperin_kaiser.html 23 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. 24 Quoted from http://www.patientkeeper.com/download/whitepapers/mgma_panel.pdf, page 5. 25 http://www.patientkeeper.com/about/vision.asp
  • 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- on-demand. 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 production. 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. 26 See case study on Generic Media 27 The issues have been discussed in the case study on IBM/Tivoli 28 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 29 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 (www.digitalnetworks.philips.com/InformationCenter/PhilipsInternet/FArticle.asp?lArticleId=2059& lNodeId=997) 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 generic application. 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 capabilities. 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 shot 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. 30 (http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/corp/georgeFisher/dCarpAdp2000.shtml). 31 http://www.mentor.com/embedded/fulfillment/vrtx_dig_cam.pdf, describes the technical reasons for the delays in taking photographs. 32 Op cit
  • • 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 33 http://www.pmimaging.com/default.cfm?href=products_index&article=press_i3_upgrade 34 http://www.asf.com/
  • 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 35 See the market research report on http://www.unified-msg.com/frames.html 36 See market research study available at http://www.unified-msg.com/frames.html 37 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 so38. 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 centers (www.teleworkingindia.com/Senario.htm#Many%20kinds%20of%20I.T.). 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 automated. 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. 38 Improving Call Center Performance through Optimized Site Selection by Dr. John Anton et al, June 2001.
  • 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 (http://www.siriusradio.com/) 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 ATX Technologies (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 39 Quoted from “The Current Market for Telematics: Great Products searching for demand” by M Scott Ulnick and William Haupricht of Ducker Worldwide Inc
  • package, which includes information services. Some of the cost reduction required to lower prices will be achieved by speech recognition technologies. A more serious problem with analog technologies, in the perception of emerging players, has been the product mix that was not in line with market demand. Security services are highly valued but are infrequently utilized by customers. Information services such as weather, stock, flight and sport information have both low value and low frequency of usage. Customers look for car entertainment above all and value hands free voice telephony, instant messaging, voice-enabled e-mail and the ability to track their buddies and be able to chat with them. Vertical business applications come, business finders, real time traffic updates and network updated calendar rank as the second most important set of services required by customers40. Two major developments are about to change the product mix that will be offered in the future. Firstly, the launch of Blue tooth enabled technologies that help to synchronize between the car system and cellular phones. The phone can be docked inside the car and all information is received hands free by voice messages relayed by the car speaker41. The greater convenience of voice-enabled services will be a boon to the growth of vertical business applications that mobile professionals such as real estate brokers and salespeople require. Secondly, emerging players in the telematics industry are taking advantage of declining costs of 802.11 A&B wireless LANs to inter-link home computing and telematics. Customers can take advantage of its high bandwidth of 802.11 (50MB/sec for 802.11 A over a 100 meter distance and 11 MB/sec for B over 200 meters. Data or music and other entertainment files can be downloaded from the home computer to the car for use in transit. ATX Technologies, one of the incumbents, on the other hand, is taking a more conservative view of the market. It does see a market for streaming media and Unified Messaging including e-mail, voice mail and instant messaging imaging as well as voice-enabled information services. Its focus remains services specific to vehicles such as vehicle customer relationship management for 40 Rankings quoted from “Perspectives on Telematics”, by Sachal Gidwani, November 7th 2001, Delphi Automotive 41 http://www.daimlerchrysler.de/index_e.htm
  • OEMs. In any case, even such a minimalist strategy will mean and increase in demand for storage for media rich content. In sum, the emerging vehicle telematics market will not only increase in size, it will also raise the demand for storage services for the supply of new services. 4.3 Business Intelligence We will estimate the demand that business intelligence databases will create for storage on the basis of three key assumptions. One, the growth in the demand for business intelligence databases is driven by overall rates of growth in IT expenditures; we will assume the trend growth rate in IT expenditures ignoring the abnormal growth in IT expenditure that took place in 1999 and 2000 driven by the euphoria following the launch of the web browser in 1995 as well as the availability of a surfeit of cheap financing from vendors, junk bond markets, venture capital and IPOs. According to a review of IT expenditures over forty years completed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter42, the average rate of growth of IT expenditures in the US economy has been 13% percent per annum. In 1999, it rose to 18% growth over 1998 and in 2000 it rose by another 23% over the previous year. The excesses are palpable from the fact that 70% of venture capital financing and 56% of the IPOs in twenty-one years took place in these two years. We will assume that the trend rate of growth will be restored in 2002 and 2003. In 2001, the estimated growth rate for IT spending is the current consensus rate of 7%. Secondly, expenditures in CRM/Business intelligence will translate into demand for storage only when companies plan to analyze data for decision support. The latest industry survey undertaken 43 by the Data Warehousing Institute (DWI) confirms that two-thirds of the companies deploying analytical databases prefer a centralized approach required for hosting data warehouses on storage systems. When CRM databases are used for strategic purposes, their scope expands to the entire enterprise. Also, the size of the databases grows as information from secondary sources of 42 Technology and the Economy: An attempt at Pattern Recognition, April 2001 43 (http://www.dw-institute.com/industrystudy2000/Chapter3/chapter3.html)
  • information is also gathered. Companies are clearly making a transition from the early adopter stage of CRM to more advanced functions of business intelligence. The DWI survey finds that 59% of the companies planned for an enterprise-wide CRM system. Unsurprisingly, the size of the databases is expected to increase as companies plan to collect not only operational data but also contextual data to identify significant patterns. According to the DWI survey, the large majority of the respondents have CRM databases with less than 100,000 records. Over the next 12 months, 53% of the companies are planning to maintain databases of sizes ranging between 100,000 and 50 million records. Currently, the most popular pieces of information are account and sales and purchase information and external information such as demographic and industry information is also collected extensively. Over the next 12 months, interest will shift to on on-line sales, web registration data, responses to sales campaigns and multi-media data. Our third assumption is that legacy CRM databases will, created by early adopters, will migrate to business intelligence. The early adopters, according to the DWI survey, constitute 25% of the population and all respondents except 9% will invest in CRM. A reasonable assumption for our estimate for our forecasts is that about half of all enterprises in USA will complete the process of adopting CRM technologies required for analytical purposes. Since two thirds of these prefer a centralized approach, about a third will of all enterprises take to business intelligence over the next two to three years. We will assume that the early adopters will have the largest databases of 50 million records while the rest of the 75% will have an average of 1 million records. 4.4 Prospects of Location Based Services Location based services have been seen as synonymous with consumer applications such as information on restaurants, driving directions, traffic data and so on. Based on our interviews, most carriers are unwilling, in the near future, to step beyond consumer applications although the software industry has the capability to deploy richer enterprise applications. However, Nextel has
  • had a great deal of success in expanding the market for business applications including location based services. Lately, a bevy of established players in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) into wireless LBS has brought financial strength and a wealth of geographical information that can potentially be used to offer richer enterprise applications. Some of the prominent names are Autodesk (www.autodesk.com), which brings the advantage of its large pool of spatial data useful to the engineering industry. ESRI (http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0401/bunchls.html) funnels a wide variety of geographical information from its geography network that can be useful for enterprise applications. Intergraph has set up a subsidiary Intelliwhere (www.intelliwhere.com) for wireless location based applications. MapInfo (www.mapinfo.com) has long provided asset management solutions to the telecommunications industry and customer relationship management. All these companies accord a higher priority to enterprise applications; their current pre- occupation with consumer applications reflects the preferences of carriers. Autodesk has developed location based services for the engineering industry and its horizontal applications are consumer applications offered to carriers. MapInfo offers vertical applications for CRM and asset management applications while its horizontal applications are offered to the consumer market. Space Machine is focused on applications for field forces but it has applications that can provide location based information on restaurant menus. The adoption of these consumer applications has been stymied by the absence of technology of identifying a customer’s location. However, increasing availability of miniature GPS devices and implementation of the second phase of E 911 (see table on the pace of growth of cell-id technology) will ease this constraint Even in an optimistic scenario of rapid adoption following the acceptance of E-911 or Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS), the size of the consumer location based services market is smaller than the short text messaging services market44. From 44 The data on the market for location based services is reviewed in The Economist, October 13th- 19th 2001
  • a storage perspective, the volumes of information will be small since most consumers will require map-based information without imagery. Enterprise location based services, on the other hand, are potentially large because they add value to existing corporate databases such as CRM, asset management databases used by field forces and so on. Location based services are logical extensions to wireless functions lately added to widely adopted CRM software such as that available from Siebel. Furthermore, enterprise databases have a need for large volumes of data such as imagery required in the real estate industry (e.g. www.realtor.com) or the insurance industry. While vector data is adequate for most consumer applications, the enterprise market requires raster data for mobile professionals to visualize data for effective maintenance such as repairs of utility assets. Satellite imaging, for example, is used in the utilities and the telecommunications industry (http://www.spaceimaging.com/newsroom/releases/2000/apps-util.htm) In addition, enterprise users will need to access data more frequently during the course of a day instead of sporadic use of databases by consumers. Consequently, location identification technologies like Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) will play a catalytic role since they do not require manual entry of zip code information, as is the current practice for consumer applications. 4.5 Medical Applications Public policy has an overriding influence on the business environment of the health industry and this is also true for deployment of information technology. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (August 21) (HIPAA)45 will have an overarching influence on the management of health records including their format, storage and utilization. The long debate on issues of privacy, inextricable from standards of identification of individuals and institutions, in the 45 Background can be found at (http://www.hipaadvisory.com/regs/HIPAAprimer1.htm).
  • health industry has been settled and has paved the way for accelerated deployment of information technology including storage technologies. The section 1173 (b) of HIPAA mandates unique identifiers for individuals, employers, health plan and health care provider46. Aggregation of information hinges on the ability to identify the patient, the provider and the payer. The medical history of a patient can be retrieved even if he or she changes location, health plans or medical groups. All related information including medical images, patient data, vital statistics and historical information relating to each patient can be collated. The communication of data is easier since all this information will be available from a single point by using the metadata for the participants. The assimilation of information for the purposes of interpretation of the data will be possible because codes will be used for each procedure, disease type, the symptoms, related health problems and drugs prescribed. This coding can become the basis of the metadata that will be useful to find disease patterns and to pinpoint errors in diagnosis, fraud control, etc47. For a long time, the vocabulary for data definitions in the health industry has been contentious and varied a great deal between institutions. For example, individual institutions could well have different scales to measure pain. The section 1173 (c) mandates standard data definitions which can be used across institutions. The aggregation of data from numerous institutions creates the conditions for aggregation of data on a very large scale and its use for decision support. The HIPAA also creates the conditions for automation of information management processes beyond digital imaging that has been the case so far. Increasingly, health enterprises will see an advantage in extending automation to clinical information system and will include patient records, laboratory results and clinical workflows. The utilization of wireless technologies will see a concurrent increase for collection of vital signs information, dictation of physicians’ notes and point-of-care data use increases. 46 http://www.hipaadvisory.com/regs/law/1173.htm 47 See http://www.hipaadvisory.com/regs/Regs_in_PDF/finaltrans.pdf for information on data types and identifiers.
  • Actual implementation of the HIPAA regulations is planned to be completed by 200348. Past experience suggests that postponement of the schedules is common and is anticipated again49 . The fact remains that the progress in the larger hospitals, with more than 400 beds, is unmistakable and extends to identifiers50. Many of the other health enterprises are taking a wait and see approach and will change when the pace of change in the industry picks up. The heightened interest in wireless devices and ASPs is another indication that centralized management of data is well underway. The rate of adoption of wireless devices and ASPs is expected to be doubled over the next two years51. Similarly, computerized patient records have already been completed in 13% of health enterprises and are under implementation or planned for implementation half of the enterprises surveyed52 5 COMPETITIVE ISSUES 5.1 Digital Photography Ease of use has been the lynchpin of competitive strategies in the photography business. Digital photography industry, still in its early stage of development, does not have the rudimentary infrastructure for development of photographs after they have been shot. Digital photography kiosks will provide the convenience of processing, printing, uploading and distributing photographs. Companies with the better software and storage infrastructure for the kiosks will be the winners. Traditional photography continues to retain the loyalty of the large majority of customers. Picture quality and ease of use of traditional cameras are strengths that digital cameras will find hard to match in the near term or even over the longer run. However, digital photography is decidedly the technology of choice for all the subsequent processes for production of photographs and their 48 http://www.hipaadvisory.com/news/compliancecal.htm 49 http://www.himss.org/content/files/hipaa_survey_fall2001_9027.pdf 50 op cit 51 http://www.himss.org/2001Survey/Main.htm 52 http://www.himss.org/2001Survey/Main.htm
  • preservation and distribution. The companies that marry the advantages of digital photography with traditional photography will be the winners. Currently, most needs for storage of photographs is met by removable storage media such as flash cards, zip disks or CD-ROMs. Internet storage is not yet the preferred medium of storage at this point of time because of unsatisfactory compression technologies. We can expect companies to utilize JPEG 2000 and similar technologies to overcome this problem. They will take advantage of the ability of storage to provide photographic output in a variety of shapes and forms to increase the size of its client base. Finally, Meta data is integral to the success of any player in the digital photography industry. The companies that are able to propose universally acceptable data definitions of photographic information will be the winners in the future. 5.1.1 Applied Science Fiction’s (ASF™) Applied Science Fiction’s (ASF™) (www.asf.com) is our choice of a company that has launched a disruptive technology that will reshape the digital photography industry and accelerate the currently slow rates of adoption in the digital photography industry. The hallmark of its strategy is that it brings it brings the ease of use of traditional photography to digital photography and the ease of storage and editing of digital photography to traditional photography. ASF™’s innovations take the beaten path of adding ease of use to photo processing of traditional photographs. Yet it brings to silver halide films unforeseen benefits of digital photography— storage on a disk, real-time editing, and ability to view images on any device as well as transmission of images over networks all in minutes. Users of the 35 mm camera can have the best of the analog and the digital world because ASF’s Digital PIC™ develops a standard film and creates an Extended Range Digital Negative™ (XRDN™) on a CD instead of a silver-halide film (film negatives). Hazardous chemicals are not used for processing, as is the case with analog film processing. The XRDN has besides all the attributes of a digitally shot photograph, such as ease of duplication, printing, editing and storage, a core file for each image that provides an open pathway to future file formats. Unlike existing
  • photo CDs, the XRDN is intended to provide the benefits of the film negative plus the advantages of the digital environment. ASF™ will manufacture the Digital PIC capture engine and sell it to OEM integrators. ASF’ corporate strategy is based on the premise that the inherent technical limitations of digital cameras have inhibited their diffusion since 1981 when they were first launched by Sony and Canon. Typically, a digital camera converts light into electrons by either a CCD (Charge Coupled Device), for higher quality and more expensive images, or CMOS (Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semi-conductor) for lower quality and inexpensive images. An analog to digital converter then transforms the electrical signals into digital information. These conversions add to the “boot to shoot” time or the interval between consecutive shots. Most professional or experienced amateur photographers are unwilling to tolerate these delays since they lose their most important opportunities. The other limitation of digital cameras is their need for voluminous storage, which grows as the resolution improves. For a resolution of an equivalent of 18 Megapixels (2000 x 3000 x 3 channels) that an XRDN provides for a film roll of 24 shots, storage needs of a digital camera are 18 MB, which increases to 30 MB when the pictures are scanned (12 bit depth). ASF’s Digital PIC technology allows users to keep their files in three different sizes—300K for JPEG compressed files, 2 ½ MB as lossy compressed files and 121/2 MB as lossless uncompressed files which can be adapted to future technologies as they emerge. ASF’s innovations set out to cater to the latent demand for digital imaging from users of traditional cameras. The market for analog cameras is already very large and accounts for all but 3 to 8 percent (estimates vary) of all cameras or 1.04 billion units excluding 300 million single use cameras and generate 80 billion images a year. Users of a 35 mm camera value its ease of clicking and want the advantages of sharing, file management and preservation of digital photography. The thrust of its operational strategy is the adaptability of the Digital PIC process. Digital PIC can be configured to fit within traditional and non-traditional photofinishing markets. A Digital PIC kiosk rendition will be launched at Christmas time in 2001 and will grow in numbers in 2002. The
  • concept of a kiosk is much like the ubiquitous drop-off centers available at pharmacy stores for traditional photography. The kiosks will bring three main benefits, storage on a removable CD, file management and printing, that will enhance the usability of digital photography. Currently, most users download their digital pictures from a digital camera, by a tedious process, to a personal computer for storage. When stored on PCs, users run a high risk of losing their photographs. Alternatively, customers store their photographs on flash cards, which have a limited capacity. ASF’s technologies will provide the photographs on CDs, which can be viewed on not only a PC but also on a DVD player or a game machine. Users can upload only to their PC, but they can only show the pictures in VideoCD format on a DVD player and game console. Customers will have the option to receive a spare copy as a back up. Kiosks will also offer the option of uploading photographs to an on-line storage device. File management or the metadata, which identifies the photographs or their context, is another benefit that will be available with ASF’s technologies. Users can store their pictures in specific folders each of them describing a context. Current technologies number the photographs and replace previously saved pictures stored on a device. The CDs will also not be identified using an adhesive label, as this could lead to future media degradation that happens when the paper interacts with the glue. Instead, the title of a CD and the thumbnails of the images on the CD are printed onto the CD without using a damaging print technology. Kiosks will provide printing facilities to customers. Unlike pictures printed on home printers, kiosks will provide prints that last much longer and have a higher quality. In summary, the Digital PIC kiosk model will create a bridge to digital while providing consumers with the convenience, control, flexibility and choice that are demanded in today’s fast-paced digital environment. 5.1.2 Pixel Magic Imaging (www.pmimaging.com) Pixel Magic Imaging plays a complimentary role to that of Applied Science Fiction in facilitating ease of use in digital photography industry. It franchises kiosks, which also buy its photo
  • processing equipment, and provides the storage infrastructure customized for image management needs. The retail stores, however, are not under any obligation to use Pixel’s brand name. It also provides local wireless to users while they are shopping in a retail store besides web access. 5.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Telematics Two factors, bundling and personalization as well as pricing, will be decisive in the competitive dynamics of this segment of the wireless industry and storage technologies will help companies in achieving both these goals. The bundling of services will help in product differentiation and price reduction as well as in raising their joint utility. Unified messaging alone may not be very useful to mobile professionals but its value is more when it is voice enabled and is available in combination with information services. Service providers will have a choice of bundles of services that they offer to their customers. This could range from entertainment only or safety and security services only to a combination of information, messaging, security services and entertainment. The precise mix that customers request will depend on their needs and their comfort level with devices. The winners will be the service providers who are able to provide the broad mix of services and to tailor them for individual customers. Storage technologies will help to centralize the content at one point and to manage their delivery to a variety of customers. The other critical factor in the competitive dynamics would be to reap the economies of scope from aggregating services. By offering a bundle of services, companies will be able to not only reduce the cost of marketing but also to leverage storage technologies to reduce the cost of managing data. 5.2.1 Tornado Development (www.tornadodevelopment.com/) Tornado Development is our choice of a company that has made innovative use of storage technologies to push the envelope for wireless applications. Its architecture is designed to not only offer a variety of bundles of services but also to reduce costs by centralizing information in a repository.
  • It develops enhanced services software including e-mail, voice mail, faxing, SMS, unified messaging and Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS). These services are licensed from Tornado and deployed on carriers’ networks. The same applications can also be used for voice portals, which is the business Tornado is currently entering. The cornerstone of Tornado’s strategy is to develop software that substantially reduces the costs of messaging, unified messaging and voice portals by lowering the investment on storage. The carrier hosts Tornado’s product, Tornado Messenger, with the message store on storage area networks to take advantage of their scalability. StorageApps (http://www.storageapps.com/), recently acquired by Hewlett Packard, is one of its important storage partners besides EMC. The messages are stored on SANs while the associated metadata is kept on network-attached storage. The centerpiece of Tornado’s strategy, to reduce costs, involves moving beyond IMAP/LDAP type of solutions. While IMAP/LDAP solutions have a common repository for storing messages, Tornado’s view on these types of messaging solutions is that the messages retain their metacontent (the context of the message such as attachments, date, etc.) and their envelope (routing information, subject, sender and receiver). Thus, there are compartments for e-mail; voice messages, SMS and messages from one compartment has to be reproduced in the others before they can be accessed by all means such as phone, web browser or an e-mail client. The multiplicity of compartments drives up the costs of storage. Conversely, Tornado’s architecture allows the merger of all the separate compartments within the message box. Incoming messages are stripped of their metacontent and the envelope or the format (neutralized i.e. overheads are removed), which are stored separately in an Oracle or any other database. Each message is routed to a storage sub-system. Without the complexity of the metacontent and the format, message content can be compressed to a tenth of its initial volume. Storage space can, therefore, be considerably reduced. Tornado reports a cost reduction of 25% with its software. The Lightweight Layer within the Tornado Messenger Message Server plays a pivotal role in reducing costs of storage. It neutralizes messages (separates from their metacontent), such that
  • they are all reduced to data and can be stored in a single data repository. Developed as a module with C++ and Java, the Lightweight layer translates messages from one format to another, in real time, so that they can be sent and received by any means of access. The Database Layer of the Tornado Message Server, where the administrative information resides, identifies and catalogs the stored messages. It also plays the role of routing the messages to the device where it is finally received. The Database Layer works with the Remote Access Communication Layer, at the edge of the network, which acts as a gateway between Tornado’s IP network and the PSTN. The Lightweight Layer, which incorporates a data link layer for database connectivity, can be connected to existing e-mail or voice-mail server. Customers of unified messaging services typically don’t want conversions from one message type to all others. They look to progressively increase the message types that they want to unify over time. Such clients have the option to migrate without scraping their existing infrastructure. Tornado’s marketing strategy reflects its architecture. In a few cases, such as Telekom Malaysia, it has been able to sell unified communications software that includes voice, fax and text which can be accessed from any device whether phone, e-mail or web browser. The requirements of Tornado’s customers range from e-mail only and voice mail only systems, to full UM and mobile UM offerings (e-mail and SMS). The architecture allows them to choose single message systems and integrates other message types according to customer needs. Most of Tornado’s customers reside in East Asian countries and in Europe. In the USA, it has launched its services with Global Crossing and has entered, or is slated to enter, into system trials with 3 U.S. wireless carriers. A common message box will be the foundation on which Tornado will, over the next 6 to 18 months, plans to add voice portal services, and Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) (video, picture messaging, audio clips) and intelligence to messaging. Users will have the ability to sort messages on their criteria of priority or reject spam as they define it. The system keeps track of patterns of messaging and users predisposition to open any type. Based on the profile of the
  • user, the intelligence function will add automation in acceptance of messages and prompts for retrieval. 5.2.2 BeVOCAL (http://www.bevocal.com/index.html) BeVocal is our choice of a company that has found ways to increase the rate of adoption of voice portal services. Although it uses content from its partners and does not directly use storage technologies, it has made advances in expanding the market for voice information services. BeVocal, a voice portal technology company, came into the limelight when it achieved the crucial breakthrough of acquiring Qwest as a customer. Other voice portal companies, Tellme with AT&T and more recently HeyAnita with Sprint, followed. BeVocal, however, maintained the lead by confirming, in October 2001, that it had acquired Bell South, the first wire line carrier and regional Bell Operating Company to adopt voice portal services. The partnership with Bell South signals the end of the early adoption stage for voice portal companies and paves the way for reaping the benefits of economies of scale. BeVocal does not expect revenue growth from wire line carriers to be as rapid as with the wireless carriers. On the other hand, Bell South brings the advantage of a larger market, which will grow with vertical product differentiation. While wireless carriers cater mainly to the consumer market, Bell South’s market also includes enterprises and call centers. BeVocal plans to work with system integrators and third-party certified developers (developers on the BeVocal Café (http://cafe.bevocal.com)) to customize services for the carriers in a variety of vertical markets in the enterprise space. For the consumer market, new innovations will include e-centers, the equivalent of a public phone for voice information services. The demand for voice portal services is expected to grow in call centers since relocation of such services to South Asia has heightened pressures for automation. BeVocal also plans to extend its portfolio of products to include, besides voice information and voice dialing services, new services such as voice messaging. Its voice information services include location and travel information (driving directions, business finder, weather, traffic and flight information), information services (stock-quotes, news, sports) and entertainment (movies, TV dramas, horoscopes and lottery). Increasing competition is expected to lower the margins for
  • these services. Higher margins are expected from introduction of newer products such as voice dialing and e-mail communicated by voice. For the management of fluctuating traffic, BeVocal does not plan to take advantage of the redundancies typically available when the solutions are hosted on data centers. Instead, it has developed proprietary software, which helps to balance loads from different types of traffic. To the extent variations in traffic for each piece of information service is known and moves in contrary directions, the software is able to change the routing of traffic such that each port is optimally utilized. BeVocal’s platform can accommodate both VoiceXML and speech objects and either of them allow componentization of its applications. Storage management is not a concern as a result of the layered software architecture. At this point of time, it did not report storage as a significant barrier to performance. 5.3 CRM/Business Intelligence Data warehouses are used for strategic as well as tactical decision-making. A typical strategic use of a data warehouse is the analysis of customer churn or the analysis of fraud, which does not involve extensive participation in an enterprise. Furthermore, predictive models for such applications are tailored for specific enterprises. The picture changes with tactical decision support such as pricing of rooms in tourist resorts during the season. Information is fed, processed and communicated in real time for such applications. Data flows are unpredictable and the variations have to be managed by an appropriate design of storage systems. Wireless technologies are critical for receiving information and to communicate decisions about pricing. Data warehouses help in collation of information, reducing time lags in processing of data and its communication. It is harder to cross-reference information when it resides in isolated data marts. Similarly, its hard to communicate information to a group when each person is required to access different data marts. Companies such as Business Objects (www.businessobjects), Information Builders (www.informationbuilders.com) and especially Teradata (www.teradata.com) and (www.sas.com) have transformed the competitive landscape of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) marketplace by cutting short the time lags in decision-making.
  • In a data warehouse environment, information is utilized to speed up decision-making processes. This is despite the fact that larger volumes of data need to be gathered from a growing number of touchpoints and centralized in single repository (they can be distributed in a web environment). A richer taxonomy of data needs to be assimilated and presented graphically as key indicators that users of the information can act upon in real time. Wireless technologies play a complementary role since they can be used to receive prompts for decision-making. Some of the key factors influencing the competitive strengths of a CRM solutions company are • The need to assimilate information from diverse sources requires the ability to convert data from diverse systems. A company may, for example, receive information from its suppliers, retail stores, handheld devices, web site and e-mail. Besides operational data, information about market developments, such as leading indicators, is received from information suppliers such as Dun and Bradsheet. In order to aggregate information, CRM companies have to be able to develop interfaces that allow the flow of information from all such sources to a central repository. • Traditional CRM systems utilize Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems for data recording and data processing. OLTP, which uses a relational database, is efficient for recording information since data elements for each entity (such as product, orders, etc.) is recorded in a separate table (consequently information such as numerical identification does not have to be reentered). OLTP is useful for simple queries such as comparison of inventory and sales. On the other hand, SQL queries become increasingly complex, as queries require cross-reference to several different entities and time for retrieving data increases. Business intelligence software is designed for parallel processing of data and parses data concurrently across several entities. Typically, the tools used for analysis are called Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) which have the ability to respond to more complex queries53 • Large data warehouses are valuable to an enterprise when the “woods in the trees” messages from masses of data can be reduced to key indicators and visually illustrated. This is particularly necessary when information has to be communicated to the broad majority of 53 A description of OLAP can be found at www.olapcouncil.org/research/whtpaply.htm
  • employees who have very little time to absorb information. In the past, data analysis was done by drawing data from relational databases that required familiarity with SQL queries. Emerging data processing technologies enable presentation of data in the spreadsheet format that most professionals understand54. • Collection of information at source and communication of information by mobile devices undergoes change with the processing of large volumes of information. Currently, synchronization is the most popular means to update information available in a database. Typically, information is stored or retrieved manually by a handheld device or a laptop onto a personal computer or a server after an agreed interval of time. Synchronization is preferred for its low costs. Business Intelligence data is best communicated automatically as alerts or when data is pushed to the beneficiary of the information. Alerts are triggered by events such as shortfalls in inventory, which is communicated to salespeople who need to act on the information. • Storage technologies are critical for the management of downtime and retrieval time on data warehouses. By replicating the data on several storage devices, especially when the number of users rises, time lags in retrieval can be lowered. Similarly, downtime can be lowered with redundancy that is possible with replication of data. 54 For a demonstration of one such product from ProClarity, see
  • 5.3.1 Teradata (www.teradata.com) Teradata is a leader in business intelligence data warehouses that shorten the lead times for collection, processing and dissemination of information for multi-terabyte size databases. Its business intelligence software goes beyond the use of data warehouses for the analysis of data for strategic purposes. Instead, its Active Warehouse can be deployed for near real time decision making by large number of users within an enterprise as well as partners within the extended enterprise. It has designed its proprietary data warehouse supported by its unique file system to manage storage required for I/O that is entirely unpredictable. In terms of sheer size of the data warehouse, a typical application of a Teradata warehouse is the case of 3M, a multi-national company which has operations in 200 countries, manufactures 500,000 products, employs 75,000 people and has a turnover of $ 15 billion. Before the implementation of the data warehouse, data collection and reporting was confined to each department and customers and partners were, for all practical purposes, dealing with 50 different companies. A global, enterprise wide data warehouse integrated all these disparate databases into a single warehouse which can be searched, queried, sorted by a web browser. In addition, the data warehouse integrates information from D&B Worldbase which includes data from 50 million businesses and has worldwide customer information and market channel information. Altogether, 30,000 users access the data warehouse each day with 15 million hits. The nature of the decision support that Active Data warehouse can provide is illustrated by the case of choices that truck owners have to make. Truck routes are differentiated by those that have their destination as the hubs and others carrying freight from hubs to points where packages are received. A truck driver has to decide between the options of fully loading the vehicle against the time loss by waiting for additional packages to arrive. These decisions have to be made in real time. Information processing required for the decisions would be random as it would involve estimating time of arrival, distances covered by trucks and so on.
  • For its storage solutions, Teradata made a deliberate choice not to use storage area networks. It has, instead, decided to have directly attached storage in order to guarantee the performance for query time. In a storage area network, the volume of traffic is entirely unpredictable since the number of nodes is very large so that conflicting demands are made on the capacity of storage area networks. Teradata, on the other hand, uses hashing techniques to guarantee a fixed amount of storage for a given level of processing needs. Storage capacity is not physically allocated for specific needs but is logically reserved for specific processing requirements. Hashing algorithms reallocate capacity with the ebb and flow of traffic. Teradata guarantees performance by parallel processing of information in the data warehouse. In a traditional database, queries are simple and usually require searching in a small part of the database; a typical query would require the search for orders received from a specific customer. For queries that are repetitive or similar, DBAs tune the database so that queries can be processed efficiently. Since queries for decision-support are not predictable, this is not possible with data warehouses. However, the processing capacity of a node is not permanently allocated for a particular task by tuning it. Instead, Teradata has reserved the task of allocating disk and processing capacity to the file system which does this logically and without any intervention from the DBA. Currently, storage service providers determine their service level agreements based on not only their disk capacity but caching as well. For the decision support that Teradata provides to its customers, traffic is not predictable enough for caching to be relevant and cannot help to boost performance. Storage area networks are useful for load balancing required for high throughput traffic. However, the throughput for CRM databases is not large but the numbers of I/O can be variable and large although the volume of data for each of them is not unmanageably large. The other potential benefit of storage area networks is the possibility of mirroring for convenient access locally and to wireless devices. Teradata, however, centralizes the data at a single point and in most cases publishes data to enterprise intranet in most cases. Wireless access to data is possible but this task is left to middleware developers and to the suppliers of wireless devices.
  • Teradata has organized its data warehouse into nodes, each equipped with directly attached disk arrays that are required to manage a data for a section of the table. So, a query may require the search of a thousand rows across several tables. A typical case could be click stream data of consumers which would include data on what they purchased when and from where. A query would involve summary of data of all consumers at any location or time. This would be followed by sorting to do analysis such as where among all the regions was a particular product more popular than in other places. Each node is required to process data from a fraction of the rows and return the results. 5.4 Location Based Services Companies in the location based services space will gain an edge as they add attribute information to their stock of spatial information. Most companies in this segment initially began by providing simple services such as directions information and driving directions. Their current plans will help them to differentiate themselves by adding services tailored to the customer group they have acquired. MapInfo, for example, initially offered GIS information for infrastructure planning services to clients in the telecommunications industry; in the future it will provide information services for its field forces. Vicinity offered address and driving directions to local outlets of retail chains and other multi-location companies and plans to grow by introducing inventory information for the nearest store. Space Machine is adding services that enable field forces to co-ordinate their activities as a group. As the size of the databases increases over time especially with the addition of satellite imagery, aerial photography, etc., the costs of delivery of information will be a critical determinant of competitive advantage. Storage companies like SANZ (http://www.sanz- inc.com/PDFs/ArchivalSystemsnocols.pdf), in partnership with ESRI, and Storagetek (www.storagetek.co), in partnership with Space Imaging (http://www.geoplace.com/gw/1999/0599/599data.asp) take advantage of HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management), or a combination of disk and tape and optical disks in the future, to lower
  • the costs of management of large volumes of data. HSM uses a file system to automate the flow of data from disks or tapes, from the media or the cache, by an orderly process that minimizes the costs and latencies in data recovery. Tape systems, traditionally, were reserved for archiving due to their higher latencies in data retrieval. The delays include installation of the tape drive by a robotic arm, the search for the required file and the time required for seeking the specific piece of data in the file. The time required for the first task is reported to be 40 seconds, the second task takes 53 seconds, and the seek time for the third task depends on the read rate of the tape55. The reduction of latencies requires related data to be stored contiguously, organizing data for its parallel retrieval, optimal use of caching by storing more frequently data on disks. File systems help to optimize the flow of data. SANZ has introduced the GEMS file system organizes information on tapes. An added bonus of a file system is that data can be recovered in parallel streams once it is known where the information resides. Finally, GEMS is a 64 bit file system which allows users to disperse the data over several more storage devices and recover them in many more streams than is possible with a 32 bit file system. 5.4.1 Space Machine (http://www.spacemachine.net/) Space Machine is our choice of a company that is leveraging storage technologies to push the envelope for location-based services especially in the enterprise space. Not only does Space Machine go beyond using the staple Oracle database for storage of information, storage technologies (SAN or NAS or RAID) are an integral component of the design of its architecture. Data storage forms an independent tier in its 5-tier architecture that is an aid in achieving the quality, price and speed of delivery parameters of its applications. The full impact of Space Machine’s technological edge will be felt when the current bandwidth limitations of wireless 55 The background on Latency issues has been quoted from “Distributed and Hierarchical Storage Systems”, by Craig J Patten, K A Hawick, J F Hercus and A L Brown, January 1999, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • networks are overcome. Currently, Space Machine’s more advanced location based services are available as web based applications accessed on the Internet. Users of wireless Internet frequently experience delays in receiving data and in the presentation of the information in an intelligible format. The separation of the application tier from the storage tier in Space Machine’s architecture plays a critical role in lowering the delays in the presentation of the information requested by the user. Map data and its depiction on a wireless device are a common denominator in all location based services and this information changes very rarely if at all. The rendering of map data, each time it is requested, is therefore wasteful of processing power. By a simple expedient of caching the rendered map data on the server, Space Machine makes it possible to receive this information almost instantaneously. The data store plays an altogether different type of function of maintaining dynamic information that is updated more frequently than map information. The data elements include traffic data, street vectors, route data, address data and the list expands as the needs grow. When a user requests, for example, information on landmarks in a neighborhood, the rendered map is retrieved from the cache whilst the corresponding landmarks data is received from the data store. Two major efficiencies are realized from relegating data storage to a storage area network or a similar device. A server combining the caching, the application management and the storage functions necessarily involves a high-powered processor, which is inevitably expensive. By contrast, data storage is achieved with equal efficiency but at a much lower cost by cheaper storage device. Time delays in receiving information on a wireless device are accentuated when users execute more complex queries. In the early days of location-based services, users could make-do with routing information. Increasingly, they look for more of related information such as landmarks. The data store is able to relay several types of information simultaneously much more efficiently than a server would able to do. Whilst the data store is a repository of all information, this does not imply that it is available at only a single centralized location. Instead, copies of the data are mirrored at several locations much like cell sites in metropolitan areas. The capacity for storing data is scaled as the number of
  • customers increases. The availability of copies of the data, close to the consumption point, helps in lowering the time to download information on a wireless device. Space Machine has made a deliberate choice not to outsource the function of data storage to content providers. Component based architecture enabled by Java, XML/SOAP has encouraged many players to specialize in application and business logic while the storage function as well as content management is farmed out to partners. Space Machine has chosen to manage the storage function to ensure performance and robustness. In its architecture, the application layer knows exactly where it can receive its information. Improved performance is also achieved by reserving the function of updating and of cleaning data for the normalization layer. This tier in its architecture collates data from a variety of sources within the enterprise and other content providers. Space Machine has written adapters that prompt requests for updating information from data sources at stated intervals. The quality of data is achieved by checking the consistency of the data with their common addresses. The front-end business logic of the applications offered by Space Machine reflects the distinctive flavor of its services. Individuals do not have to suffer the tedium of feeding their location information. Instead, sensors built into their devices are able to identify the location. Servers, at the back-end, push information to wireless devices. Proximity-based triggers that are written to user specifications drive the information to an individual’s device. Each user receives information that is relevant to his or her location. The user specifications are stored on the data store tier. When wireless devices are lost, the user specifications are easily restored. In Space Machine’s experience, the ability to preserve user specifications is an important consideration for carriers because it helps to retain customer loyalty This specific design is suited for users whose location affects decision-making. In the enterprise space, field forces have a use for Space Machine’s applications but not sales staff predisposed to CRM applications. The whereabouts of members of a field force affects the allocation of tasks, time allocation and information about the jobs that they have to complete.
  • In general, Space Machine has learnt that adoption rates for enterprise applications are faster when they are tailored for specific work-groups instead of for the entire firm. Once acquired, the churn rate in the enterprise space is much lower than the consumer space. In the consumer segment, the same technology (location aware) can be used to keep in touch with the members of the family, friends and pets. Thus, parents can be alerted when their young children go beyond neighborhood boundaries. Similarly, users would know when their friends are in the vicinity. Finally, owners of pets can monitor them. Space Machine does not feel it’s hamstrung by the inaccuracies in the information received from position identification technologies currently available. GPS data is error prone because of the delays in receiving information. This can be corrected by software that adjusts for the predicted errors in the information. The deficiencies in the information on cell-id is corrected by consistency checks of inter-related information such as the number of blocks separating two locations helps to correct for any errors in distance information received from cell-id data. At this point of time, Space Machine’s data needs are in the terabyte range but not all of it is used by wireless applications. A great deal of the space is required for aerial and satellite imaging that is delivered over the Internet and are required by a single user. Space Machine has the ability to offer raster data but is constrained by bandwidth availability. In the near term future, data storage needs will grow as both the enterprise and consumer market are offered more detailed information with related routing data. For example, customers will be able to identify not only restaurants in the vicinity but also the menus offered. Enterprise customers will be able to track their assets in their locations. The applications developed for the web enables Space Machine to support a data store as well as to prepare for richer applications that can be offered, in the future, for wireless devices. As bandwidth increases, web based applications will also be available to wireless customers. 5.5 Medical Applications Health enterprises had invested in IT for only peripheral activities such as imaging on the one hand and administrative processes on the other. Clinical work flows, the heart of the health system, was largely untouched.
  • Storage companies that are able to integrate clinical work flows will gain competitive advantage. Automation of clinical work flows and associated decision support advantages would provide an edge to the health enterprise and to the storage companies that are able to best able to provide these solutions. The challenge of automation of clinical work flows is their diversity and the overriding role that human intervention plays in them. Consequently, the vocabulary and the associated data definitions are contentious and diverge between enterprises. The winning companies will be those who are able to offer acceptable data definitions and lay the basis of automation of clinical work flows. 5.5.1 General Electric Medical Information Systems http://www.gemedicalsystems.com/it_solutions/index.html) GE Medical Information Systems (GEMS) is our choice of a company that is leveraging storage technologies to launch disruptive applications in the health industry, which includes wireless applications for data capture. Unlike its peers in the industry, GEMS is extending its applications beyond medical imagery into clinical information systems that have been largely resistant to automation. GEMs bid to integrate medical imagery with clinical information systems open the way for a variety of decision-support applications in the health industry. The distinctive flavor of the design of its information systems is that they revolve around the needs of clinical professionals rather than administrative or transactional workflows in the health industry. GEMS has reached an inflection point in its growth where it is able to integrate multiple data types like medical images from radiology, wave forms from cardiology, clinical data and vital signs data to be able to create the infrastructure for centralized management of information received from several sources within a hospital. The information will be aggregated such that the paper shuffle between departments within a hospital or a medical group will be minimized as well as between individual units of a hospital complex or medical group.
  • The turn in its business strategy is reflected in the spin-off of the information systems business from GE Medical Systems, several acquisitions, and its recently announced partnership with Qwest, which will manage its storage and related software at its data centers. GEMS partnership with Qwest marks a new era in its corporate strategy. At its data center in Chicago, Qwest will host the storage sub-systems supplied to it by EMC. The hosted application services will connect to hospitals, within a group and across regions, by fiber optic networks including on the last mile. The speed of operations and the reliability of the network will be critical to persuading an increasing number of customers to subscribe to the hosted services. GEMS existing customers use an intranet and an archive is located off-site on a data center. In the initial stages, radiology was the focus of digitization of images and storage as the volumes ran into ten to fifteen terabytes of data. The images, together with the notes from the radiologist (the Radiological Information System (RIS)) are archived off-site in a data center. The Picture and Communications System (PACS), for retrieval of images, resides on premises due to insufficient bandwidth. In the near tem future, both PACS and the archive of will move off-site. As a result, it will be possible to have a single system for archiving of pictures as well as for communication to multiple departments. Thereafter, data from the cardiology department will also be centralized at the same data center. In the more distant future, patient data and other images will be made available at a single data center. The aggregation of multiple functions will pave the way for launch of several applications. Hitherto, GEMS customers were small and medium sized hospitals who were constrained by space and resources and recourse to hosted services is a means to keep pace with technological developments. Large research hospitals had the resources to invest in in-house IT and were unwilling to risk any loss or disclosure of information by outsourcing. The speed, reliability and size of operations substantially improve the benefits/cost ratio enough to persuade the larger hospitals to consider outsourcing. GE has also developed advanced security software to raise the confidence level of its customers.
  • The process of outsourcing of applications has begun with clients who subscribe to its online services. In the year 2002, an accelerated pace of implementation will happen since 50 customers have entered into contracts and altogether an additional 100-150 customers are expected to subscribe to its services. As services are outsourced, the current rate of growth of IT related revenue, at 10-15%, can be sustained if not exceeded. Workflows involving patient information are harder to automate as health data is viewed in a context and from the lens of a particular discipline. IT professionals have also grapple with idiosyncratic trade practices of physicians, and the professional codes of doctors and nurses. In the past, projects of this nature were sponsored by the National Institute of Health and spearheaded by Chief Medical Officers who were oblivious to the needs of the practicing professionals. Consequently, the success rate over a thirty-year period has been low. GEMS strategy will chart a new course and will be based on the premise that the priorities of clinicians should be coordinates of the systems that automate the workflows in a health system. This would imply that workflows would be sub-divided in a way that templates of information would be customized for each type of professional. The other important assumption of its strategy is that the health enterprise is fragmented at several levels and the value of automation is not equally compelling at each stage. That the adoption rates will be the highest if the most dysfunctional work processes are automated first. The first stage in treatment of patients, the review of their data, is a common denominator in all health workflows and the most valuable to doctors and nurses. They all need background information on a patient to prepare for diagnosis and prescription or undertake any surgical task. A clinical repository, with records of longitudinal patient information, medical history, laboratory results and encounters with physicians, will form a central repository accessible to any doctor or nurse. A clinical repository is, therefore, the bedrock of any attempt at automation. The paper version of a patient chart entails considerable opportunity costs, monetary costs of $40 per event besides time lags and incomplete data. The complexity of automation is the greatest at the stage of patient care or clinical encounter since workflows are specialized and heterogeneous with differing priorities for patient safety,
  • quality of care, productivity and operating efficiency. Its here that doctors make a judgment call in individual cases or assessments varies depending on the wealth of information available and how promptly it’s delivered. The nature of workflows is dissimilar in an Emergency Room, an Operating Room, the Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery, the wards and the outpatient clinics. In the operating unit, time delays are extremely costly since they utilize capital-intensive equipment; the estimated opportunity cost is estimated at 19 cents a minute for each second that lapses. The delays occur because patient consent and signatures are necessary, Anesthesiologist’s report is held up, etc., which keeps doctors waiting. By contrast, operating efficiency is not as much of a concern as quality of care in the Emergency Room; doctors and nurses need the white board with information on patient’s conditions and needs, any work conducted prior to entry into the emergency room such as laboratory results and reports. GEMS strategy for automation of specialized domains of medical care is to develop a care plan for each of them and the corresponding workflow schema for each of them. The functions of doctors and nurses are delineated and the information needs to reduce their inefficiencies are identified. GEMS will create templates for each stage of patient care and a clinical event manager will prompt the users when a task is required to be completed. GEMS expects that a great deal of the resistance to clinical information systems will ease when it gathers data about patients and aggregates it in a data warehouse for decision support. A growing wealth of readily available knowledge takes away the strain of remembering pharmacological and other information and the errors that occur when doctors forget them. Consequently, decision support information systems are readily accepted. The patterns of disease change over time as well as the state-of-art of diagnosis and cure. Today, for example, anthrax has emerged as a completely unforeseen health risk. In not too distant a future, biotechnology will spawn a new generation of medical practices. GEMS have created templates that can be customized by health professionals by providing a pick list of items that can be added to the template. Furthermore, the pick list can be changed by consensus.
  • The third and final stage of automation is the processing phase or tasks such as order entry, charge capture and post-care consultation. At this stage, errors are common because pharmacists often don’t understand the physician’s handwriting, drug interactions are not taken into account or susceptibility to allergies is not known. At this stage, acceptance of automation is greater because the value proposition is manifest. 6 EXPERIENCES OF KEY PLAYERS: 6.1 Storability (www.storability) Storability is a storage service provider, which offers storage management services with a slant towards service quality. It builds on software available from Veritas, for centralized management of storage area networks, to automate processes in order to provision, monitor and report on performance expected under service level agreements. The software that it adds for ensuring service quality provides it the edge in the marketplace. Storability’s market is very largely the security conscious enterprise market, which expects services to be offered behind the firewall. Over the last six months, it has entered the telecommunications space where the large TELCOs have garnered business from enterprise customers. In the enterprise segment of the marketplace, Storability has witnessed a trend towards increasing consolidation of storage assets within an enterprise. Increasingly, companies are looking to integrate the islands of storage devices scattered across several departments into storage area networks. In the past, each department purchased storage devices randomly ignoring available resources elsewhere in the enterprise. Besides reducing costs, centralized management of all storage assets creates an independent business within the enterprise, which offers services to its internal clients. The internal clients expect services to be customized for their needs. Storability’s services are useful to meet the contractual agreements between internal clients in the company. In the telecommunications space, Storability made its entry by partnering with CTC Communications, one of the few CLECs that have survived the current downturn. In addition,
  • Storability is awaiting the conclusions with over six other telecommunications companies including Qwest, which has been most successful in obtaining very large deals of over 100 TB. The clients in the telecommunications companies are looking to offer especially content management services and e-business services to their customers. Customers are more willing to trust well-established TELCOs to outsource storage services. Storability’s services help the TELCOs to meet the technological requirements of service level agreements. The demand for content management services has transformed the competitive dynamics in Storability’s marketplace. Companies need a diversity of services, at varying levels of quality and price, for rich media management, live video, medical imaging, besides storage of e-mail required to observe FCC’s regulatory requirements. Storage management services have to be tailored to meet the requirements of content sensitive applications so that it is not enough to have generic databases. For example, rich media makes greater demands for scalability and is harder to manage so it costs more. Other storage services include content filtering. Each of these verticals attracts start-ups who specialize in one or the other niche markets. Storability, in this situation, sees an advantage in licensing its software as a platform, which others can use to offer customized services. Additional revenues can be earned from the certification of licensees who have to meet acceptable levels of quality before they can get to use the platform. Curiously, Storability has received requests from customers to certify their own internal clients be certified before they use the platform. 6.2 IBM/Tivoli IBM, together with its partners, offers the entire gamut of services in the value chain of storage- enabled applications. The services include storage sub-systems, software for storage space management (volume and virtualization software), content management, storage data flow management software, web applications servers and web services including wireless applications. These complimentary capabilities enable IBM to assemble the pieces of the systems that will transition pilot projects, demonstrating concepts of storage-enabled applications, into industrial scale operations.
  • Several pre-requisites have to be met for the implementation of IBM’s strategy for industrial scale applications. These include streamlined processes; higher speed of retrieval of information, automation of content management, pre-determined standards for quality of service, and data flow management. IBM’s Content Manager, Tivoli Storage Manager and storage products like Enterprise Storage Server are the tools intended to achieve these objectives. Beyond workgroups, the challenge of content management is to distribute slivers of data from centralized repositories to points of consumption. Also, the data has to be also transformed to adapt to the format required by the client. Caching has relied on statistical probabilities to store data locally largely for desktop web browser clients. Statistical probabilities are harder to estimate for nomadic wireless clients. Consequently, content delivery networks would have to replicate much more data to meet consumer need unless alternative intelligent software management solutions are able to distribute data in real time. Content management continues to evolve within the industry and IBM has acquired Open Markets (www.openmarkets.com) and Ascential Software (www.ascentialsoftware.com), even though it has its own Content Manager, to strengthen its capabilities. The IBM Content Manager was initially deployed for still photography applications such as the Vatican Library, The Hermitage and the Andrew Wyeth collection. It was then upgraded to manage video collections. Customers have been wary about adopting video content management tools, especially the more complex applications, since they don’t yet have experience with the system integration requirements. Tivoli’s software products, Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), Tivoli Storage Network Manager (TSNM) and Tivoli SANergy, are meant to streamline the flow of data from data storehouses to applications in an environment of heterogeneous operating systems and applications. TSM, the flagship product, is a suite of modules focused on back-up and recovery. TSNM provides SAN management functions including automatic discovery, topology mapping, and policy-based capacity-on-demand. SANergy provides a logical view of resources on the storage area network and manages data sharing across nine different operating platforms.
  • Tivoli is adding new functions to its products to make them capable for industrial scale operations. The latest version of TSM incorporates LAN-free back-up, tape sharing, and enhanced mobile computing backup capability. The full utility of Tivoli’s software will not be realized until there is greater file mobility between storage devices and servers and vice versa. For example, a program operating on a Windows NT platform cannot access a file on a UNIX server; it has to be available on a file server or has to be redirected from the latter to the former. Full deployment of Tivoli’s products awaits the APIs that will facilitate inter-operability. One of IBM’s storage offerings, the Enterprise Storage Servers, ( code named Shark), is designed to meet the demanding response time requirements of applications, such as rich media, by combining advanced disk drives, cache, advanced algorithms. The mechanical properties of disks limit their ability to meet response time requirements for applications like rich media. Shark increases response time by using intelligent, adaptive algorithms to change the caching logic to adjust to changes in I/O access characteristics in real time, and increases disk system throughput by accessing multiple disk drives in parallel56. Having acquired the technical ability to work in an open SAN environment, IBM is pushing the industry to adopt standards for inter-operability. Its SAN exploitation software works on a variety of platforms including zSeries, mid-range iSeries and UNIX/NT. IBM’s SAN exploitation applications (TSM, Tivoli SANergy and TSNM) can work with AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, Compaq’s Tru64, Windows NT and 2000, Novell and Linux and the mainframe works with ESCON.It has taken the initiative to promote open standards for SANs in forums such as SNIA, FCIA, IETF, ANSI T11, DMTF and ISO among others. Meanwhile, it has chosen to pursue the commercialization of rich media applications, require management of blocks of data and do not need to use heterogeneous operating systems. Currently, IBM is limited to using the AS 390, its own operating system, for the deployment of SAN enabled applications For the high end of rich media applications for large broadcasting companies, IBM offers a file system called GPFS (General Parallel File System), which works best in conjunction with its 56 The details of the architecture can be found at http://www.storage.ibm.com/hardsoft/products/ess/essperf.pdf
  • supercomputers but can also be used with lower performance servers. The key feature of the GPFS is its ability to manage numerous video streams running in parallel; blocks of data are broken into stripes for read and write operations on several disks. Like other virtualization software, GPFS provides a logical view of the physical disk capacity and allocates data using a volume manager. Its distinctive character is that it manages parallel streams of traffic. A cluster of file nodes, each of them having a complete view of disk capacity, access a corresponding array of disk nodes intermediated by a switch. GPFS file systems ensure very high levels of performance since they do away with file sharing. Non-linear editing happens with the entire team sharing the same storage, which can reach multiple terabytes of data. The speed of operation can reach 100 Gigabytes per node. GPFS was used in early video-on-demand trials in the mid-nineties but floundered when it could not be run on modest bandwidth then available. The needs of cable over builders, for their interactive television programming, and encoding needs of large broadcasters have revived the prospects for GPFS. Interest in broadband distribution projects has begun but the pace of progress is constrained by previous investments in analog systems. Due to these legacy investments, the large majority of broadcasters is unwilling to switch to digital storage systems and associated software except for editing functions. Currently, IBM, in partnership with e-motion, is working with a leading British broadcaster to archive its footage in digital form. However, none of the customers have shown interest in GPFS and prefer entry level, lower end storage systems57 that IBM has to offer. Einstein TV, www.einstein.tv/uk/index.asp, a British company that broadcasts science documentaries, was among the first to use storage for digital content management. Einstein TV deployed IBM’s entry-level systems (TV-in-a-box) that can be installed within twenty days. Adoption of IBM’s entry-level storage infrastructure systems is more extensive and now includes the police departments in Great Britain. Video surveillance cameras track the movement of cars in parking lots of crime-prone neighborhoods. The volume of visual records with police 57 Links to a detailed technical description of the systems can be found at http://www.storage.ibm.com/press/announce/20010921.html
  • departments is growing as digital cameras are installed in squad cars as well. IBM’s systems are used to store, retrieve and analyze the information gathered with these cameras. Dalet Digital Media Systems, a French content management company, has used the same systems for satellite audio (XM radio) installed on luxury cars supplied by General Motors. Storage needs of XM radio are high because it offers 100 or more channels of music. IBM’s tape systems58, for rich media, is the other product that has gained market acceptance. Entertainment Tonight uses it to cut costs of ingesting and logs of video tapes. The rate of adoption of IBM’s SAN solutions is expected to increase with the expanded scope of Einstien.tv’s future plans. By 2002, Einstein.tv plans to broadcast its content to sixteen countries in six languages, which would necessitate conversions to several different TV standards, translation into several different languages besides adapting to a variety of devices. Furthermore, footage will be received from several different sources. A centralized repository, together with content management tools, enables Einstein to lower the costs of conversions and distribution of content to several different points of consumption. 6.3 Veritas (http://www.veritas.com/) Veritas, the leader in storage management software space, offers an application NetBackup Professional for mobile professionals. The product automatically saves corporate data that has not been previously saved on laptops and mobile devices onto a central repository and can recover data when it is lost. NetBackup( http://eval.veritas.com/downloads/pro/NBU- P_white_paper_v3.pdf ) addresses the need to protect corporate data that is frequently lost when laptops and other mobile devices are either damaged or stolen when executives are traveling. The data on these devices is often of paramount importance to a company since mobile professionals typically play key decision-making roles. The actual adoption of the NetBackup product has not lived up to its promise despite the opportunity costs of lost data, which can be as high as a quarter of a million dollars in some cases. Customers continue to prefer synchronization with their desktops, which are connected to 58 Technical description of tape systems can be found at http://www.storage.ibm.com/hardsoft/tape/3584/index.html
  • a central repository. Price resistance is the chief reason for the cold response from the customers; ASPs offered the product at a monthly charge of $ 10-15 for each user whereas consumers are not willing to pay more than $ 3-5 a month for each user (even when the charge is paid by an enterprise). At the peak of the boom in the year 2000, the ASPs were overly confident that customers would be willing to pay their asking price. The mood in the industry has changed following the slowdown in the economy. ASPs are experimenting with vertical product differentiation, i.e., a broader range of prices and quality of service for different segments of the consumers. They are realizing that customers have different perceptions of urgency of recovery of data; price levels have to be adjusted to reflect the expected level of service by individual classes of customers. The jury is, however, out on the eventual success of the emerging pricing policy. 6.4 E-motion (www.emotion.com) E-motion, a Los Angeles based media management software company, typifies a player that takes advantage of storage technology to develop applications for a niche market in media production management in the studios and the advertising industry. It develops software that currently aids editing functions. The company is not convinced that a business case exists for use of rich media content in other applications such as customer relationship management or supply chain management. E-motion caters to the enterprise market because its software tools, eMedia Partner (http://www.emotion.com/mediafiles/pdf/mp_architecture.pdf) and Global Brand Manager, are an aid to manage work processes in editing processes including storage and search of very large repositories of rich media assets such as collections of photographs, corporate intranet, video libraries within the media industry. Its software tools are used for archiving of digital assets as well as for their distribution including e-commerce in digital assets. A distinctive feature of the tools is their ability to search a piece of media by natural language keywords.
  • A typical customer of E-motion is an advertising company that needs to keeps its clients informed so that a campaign can be organized within the scheduled time. The storage of work-in-progress saves the time and tedium of waiting for customers to approve prototypes. The preference for the enterprise market is reflected in E-motion’s recent expansion in Europe instead of Japan. It acquired its reseller in the UK, Integrated Solutions Technology (IST), which will also manage its business in continental Europe. Although E-motion’s partners have encouraged its growth in Japan, E-motion is not geared to meet the demands of its growing consumer markets for especially wireless applications. In the near term future, E-motion sees a business case for extension of wireless capabilities, in the enterprise market, for its tools especially in the European market and its new acquisition will cultivate this market. In the USA itself, the market is small and restricted largely to collaboration within the movie studios. One of its largest customers is BBC, which is looking to reduce costs of conserving its footage. The value proposition of E-motion’s software tools is the economy realized by geographical dispersion of individual components of work processes in media creation to regions that excel in them. For example, the shooting of footage can take place in East Asia, its processing may best be done in the USA and it may be broadcast in Europe. However, scattered production can be in conflict with time schedules when means are not available to quickly co-ordinate the activities of works groups. Storage technologies facilitate collaboration by mirroring copies of work-in- progress across geographical regions. Wireless capabilities are another aid to meet time schedules by allowing instantaneous access for mark-up and approval of work completed. E-motion’s products are sold as licenses to large enterprises or smaller companies pay a monthly fee its ASPs, PictureQwest and Footage.com. As a software company, E.motion does not see its long-term interests in the ASP business and recently sold PictureQwest to Creatas LLC. 6.5 Viafone (www.viafone.com) ViaFone is a mobile applications platform (going by the moniker ViaFone Bridge) provider that currently focuses on services deployed from behind the firewall. ViaFone has designed its servers to offer both data and voice information services, with speech recognition technologies from
  • Nuance, for mobile phones and data devices. ViaFone expects its strategy to be more effective as devices that can receive voice and data become available in the near future. After testing the waters in the consumer market, ViaFone repositioned itself for the enterprise market. The change was necessary to integrate the Customer Relationship Management and Supply Chain Management databases of customers with user interfaces for applications that ViaFone develops for salespeople and field forces especially in the electronics and pharmaceutical industry. For the consumer market, ViaFone continues to provide hosting services required to deliver MySimon’s comparison-shopping web content to carriers including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. The experience prepared ViaFone to tailor content for a variety of devices used by customers, to scale up its operations and to sustain the service for over a year. The combination of voice and data services is especially useful for its vertical market in the semi- conductor industry where field staff has to work from inside dust-free zones where the use of mobile data devices is prohibited. Field maintenance staff had to bear with the arduous process of moving in an out of these regulated zones, besides taking-off their hoods and putting them back, before they could use their mobile data devices. The access to voice information services, received on phones, saves all this trouble. In addition, voice information services can reach locations where wireless networks don’t have coverage. Typically, wireless signals don’t reach basements. Salespeople in the pharmaceutical industry travel a great deal and can use their time to receive information while they are driving. The advantage of voice services is gained at relatively low incremental costs of 5 to 10% in situations where customers already have databases. ViaFone is required to cater to enterprises’ need for security and integration with a variety of databases and protocols, including the legacy versions, to be able to work behind a firewall. In an outsourcing situation, on the other hand, the environment is not as diverse since enterprises do not farm out mostly web content and keep mission critical information services in-house. The services offered by ViaFone meet CRM and SCM information needs of salespeople and field engineers. Salespeople require information on customer demand and order flow, the staple of
  • CRM databases, and also make use of remote file management services such as faxing documents on customer sites. This is especially true in the pharmaceutical industry where a great deal of product information is exchanged. Field staff alone use the supply chain management databases to manage deliveries from manufacturing to be able to meet delivery schedules. They also use SCM databases to communicate information from customers, in real time, to ensure that equipment manufactured for them is customized for their needs. Tellme (www.tellme.com) Tellme integrates speech recognition technology from Naunce with back-end Internet technologies to provide voice information and application services. It has two types of markets— the consumer market which it serves in collaboration with AT&T Wireless. The other market is the enterprise market where it caters to several verticals. In the initial stages, the quality of voice recognition had to be substantially improved especially because consumers’ queries are not the standard variety. Prolonged testing has tripled the levels of self-service. Whereas traditional IVR technology used proprietary technology, Tellme uses VoiceXML, to take advantage of component based web services model to integrate with the standards based Internet Infrastructure. Unlike IVR, VoiceXML does not require a separate infrastructure for voice information services. By separating the location of the web application logic from data storage, the Tellme is able to take advantage of scale economies possible from outsourced storage services. The back-end infrastructure is managed by Exodus Communications. In addition, Tellme is able to allocate storage on demand in sync with seasonal fluctuations of call volume in individual industries. In a typical web services strategic model, Tellme offers an application development platform with a library of components that developers can use to design customized solutions for their customers in individual industries. Tellme does the grunt work of integrating computer-telephony equipment with data centers, upgrading speech recognition software to respond to varying accents and to manage the network while the developers have an operating infrastructure to run their applications.
  • For the enterprise market, voice recognition technology is used to automate call center functions and to provide notifications. Typically, the automation of call center functions includes routine information such as flight information for airlines, location and driving instructions for banks, stock quotes and company information for brokerage houses, etc. Notifications are used to prompt users about say scheduled flights. 6.6 Openwave (http://www.openwave.com) Openwave entered the market with software solutions for wireless applications, such as unified messaging, based on the WAP protocol. It has expanded the portfolio to include VoiceXML based products and has plans for I-mode based applications. It plans to offers its voice applications, based on VoiceXML, to carriers in partnership with CTI2, CISCO and I-Basis. CTI2 contributes its WW Messenger, a unified mail-box that receives and responds to messages from phone, fax, telephone or a wireless device. I-Basis is an ASP that hosts the open systems unified messaging solutions on behalf of carriers and Openwave does the backend integration. Openwave integrates CISCO’s voice gateways with VoiceXML to offer voice portal services. Openwave switched from EMC and Sun Microsystems for its storage needs to Network Appliance, a company that specializes in network attached storage. The original suppliers insisted on retaining their proprietary systems while Network Appliances was responsive to open systems that would collaborate with other competing vendors. Openwave reported much lower cost of installation of storage devices from Network Appliance besides ease of migration to competing storage products when they are needed. Despite the ease of implementation of proprietary systems provided by EMC and Sun Microsystems, carriers found that their costs of storage management would rise as they added new applications such as unified messaging. Each time they add an application, they had to scrap their previous investments in hardware and software. Furthermore, storage costs are rising, as much larger voice files have to be accommodated in the devices. Network Appliances provided better value for money.
  • 6.7 Datadirectnet ( http://www.datadirectnet.com/) DataDirect Network is focused on providing storage solutions for a range of rich media applications and video-on-demand is the thrust of its current activity. It builds storage appliances that combine the functions of RAID controllers, Fiber channel switches and a cache to reduce latencies in data transfers for streaming media applications. It has partnerships with InfoValue and Vsoft to provide video streaming solutions. The SAN Data Director, a SAN appliance and the key product of the company, has been designed to provide the efficiencies required to achieve the quality of service that is a prerequisite for rich media applications. Latencies in data flows from the storage device to the streaming server are reduced in the following ways Fiber channel switches and RAID controllers have traditionally mediated access to storage disks. Latency penalties are incurred as data flows from each of these RAIDs to the Fiber Channel switch. The delays cascade when multiple layers of switches are required to transfer data in larger systems. SAN Data Director eliminates these delays because it has twenty embedded Fiber Channel ports that receive data in parallel streams. When several servers call data from storage devices, they can make conflicting demands on switches and shared RAID controllers, which lowers the throughput of data. By contrast, data flowing in parallel streams does not cause such problems. SAN Data Director adjusts the size of the data block to the volume of data flow. Traditionally a block of data is broken down into stripes, which are distributed over eight disks. The unit cost of processing a stripe of data rises as the size of the data block decreases. SAN DataDirector uses a single LUN with varying numbers of tiers; when volume of data rises the tiers increase and vice versa. Most of the data transfer to the host takes place from a cache at electronic speeds, which are higher than data transferred from physical disks. High Speed Traffic Directors(HSTD), a software built into the SAN DataDirector, enables the transfer from the cache to the host. Delays in searching data from the cache are minimized in several ways; the HSTD manages the cache,
  • aided by the company’s proprietary software, such that the least used pages are discarded. In addition, another piece of software tracks related blocks of data and schedules their consecutive transfer when any one of them is required. Finally, proprietary software developed by DataDirect Network searches data from the cache in real time before the connection with the channel is lost. Efficiencies in transfer of streaming media is achieved by sending a single master copy from one end to another instead of congesting the infrastructure with numerous streams that enter the network when numerous viewers watch a program. For wireless customers, data is transmitted in eight parallel streams to avoid the congestion that will follow when data has to be transmitted to several towers in a region. 6.8 Generic Media (www.genericmedia.com) Streaming media has not been widely adopted because of the high cost of its delivery and its inconsistent quality. For media companies, on the other hand, streaming media is potentially an attractive alternative channel for distribution that can expand the market for their content. Streaming media meets distinctive needs since it can be viewed on demand and at users’ site of choice. Generic Media is one among several other companies that have set out to reduce the cost of delivery of streaming media as well as to improve the users experience of viewing. One of the sources of inefficiency in the delivery of streaming media is the cost of producing a large number of copies of content each of them tailored to a particular media player such as QuickTime. In addition, the bit rates for each of these players can vary to suit the bandwidth available with a user. Furthermore, media companies have to cope with the uncertainty that is created by the emergence of new media players and changing availability of bandwidth. Generic Media’s Media Publishing Service is a means by which a master copy of the content can be created that can be transformed for any other format and bit rate automatically. The software is constituted of three components—the Generic Media Transformation Engine, the Generic Media Publishing Manager and the Generic Media Delivery Manager. The Generic Media Delivery Manager detects the users’ settings including the player, its format and the bit rates, the Transformation Engine reformats the master copy to suit the environment and the Publishing Manager configures the content for a particular user.
  • Such a service does not intimidate the user who is not required to make any selection of the media media player the bandwidth settings or any other plug-in. Content can be downloaded from the Internet by simply clicking the hyperlink. Generic Media has also developed a bandwidth limiter that manages overflows of traffic that are a common experience with streaming media. Access to a service is restricted before demand exceeds the volumes that the pipe can channelize. Finally, it has developed a gMovie Player for Palm Pilot for streaming media applications for wireless devices. 6.9 Digital Fountain (http://www.digitalfountain.com) Streaming media can mimic the economics of traditional media if its unit costs fall with the expansion of its user base. The fixed costs in traditional media are incurred at the outset and unit costs fall with the increase in the numbers of viewers. By contrast, the costs of delivery rise linearly with streaming media as the number of users increase. This is because each client requires a server each to complete a request for content and the bandwidth needs rise proportionately. The math for streaming media will be more like that of traditional media if a single master copy is delivered from the core to any edge site. Digital Fountain’s products, Streaming Fountain and Download Fountain, find solutions to prevent costs from rising in proportion to the number of users. The traditional means of transferring data on the Internet, TCP/IP, was designed for short bursts of traffic. It organizes data in packets that are sent across sequentially. In a broadcast situation, a stream of packets carries small bits of information (payload) from a server to a client. The complexity of carrying data in this fashion grows when packets are resent to correct for errors. Digital Fountain’s family of products needs only a single server to transmit data to multiple clients. The original content is transformed into metacontent or a master copy that is transmitted from a server to numerous clients which could be an equivalent of a TV audience. Each copy of the metacontent is composed of several components that are related to each other just as individual variables are in a linear equation. The individual components are transmitted separately on a network and reconstructed by the client. Unlike the TCP/IP method of transmission, the client
  • does not need all the components of the content to reconstruct the master copy. Instead, a subset of the components is adequate while the rest are pieced together based on their inter- relationships. Digital Fountain’s technologies are meant for transportation that caters to the need for on-demand viewing. The applications include training and corporate communications needs of large enterprises who have to reach their employees in several branch offices, satellite communications, video-on-demand (when a fully IP cable broadband access is available) and transfer of data from the core to edge sites as well as data transfer on wireless networks. Currently, Digital Fountain is implementing its technology in the satellite communications sector. Typically, satellite communications companies transmit data three times from their Transponders to earth stations to compensate for possible losses caused by atmospheric disturbances. This would not be necessary with technology available from Digital Fountain since the information can be reconstructed from some components that constitute the master copy. In addition, Digital Fountain is negotiating with wireless carriers who have multiple subscribers sharing bandwidth. The noise level increases as the numbers of customers and volumes of data transferred for each user rises. Digital Fountain is positioning its products for attenuation of the signal loss in transmission. 6.10 Airborne Entertainment (http://www.airborne-e.com) Airborne Entertainment is one company that seeks to make the much-anticipated transition from staple wireless applications, such as e-mail and calendars, to sale of entertainment content. Its business model explicitly emulates NTT DoComo in North America in that it sees mass adoption of wireless Internet access on the strength of content that consumers will be willing to pay for. Airborne Entertainment specializes in short attention span entertainment, such as comic strips, humor, etc., that can make-do with the available bandwidth with 2 or 2.5 G wireless phones. The early success in winning business from the largest carriers, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, points to the potential for creating business for wireless content that will in turn create a demand for storage. The key planks of the business model that Airborne Entertainment is implementing are as follows:
  • Its content strategy excludes video content that it sees as unsuitable for the small size of wireless devices in the near-term future as well as in the longer-term. The distinctive value of wireless entertainment lies in its interactivity; FM radio provides similar content but does not encourage the same level of participation from the audience. Carriers increasingly see themselves as retailers of content that is the primary source of revenue; advertisements, as the sole source of revenue, cannot be a viable model of business. Publishing companies, like Airborne Entertainment, are valuable to carriers since they become the conduits for sale of content produced by numerous small companies. In addition, they provide customer support, service level agreements, etc. Unlike the traditional media companies, Airborne has an edge in content distribution technologies. Airborne’s proprietary technology, RUNWAY, can be tailored to meet the specific needs of wireless carriers such as optimizing content for several different devices, personalization of content, supporting SMS for a variety of protocols, billing, etc. 6.11 I-DRIVE (http://www.idrive.com/) I-drive is a middleware company whose software provides solutions primarily for personal storage requirements. Its products facilitate the storage, file sharing and file management of especially rich media content. Typically, customers use its software to download documents from the web, music files or store digital photographs that can be shared with family and friends. Enterprise customers use its storage for saving documents that they can access remotely. Till recently, I-drive offered 50MB of free storage where customers could download their files. The software and the storage services were targeted at mobile users who could share files by transferring them between accounts on the storage device, download from the web for later viewing or print files without straining the limited bandwidth available with their mobile devices. The middleware facilitates the interface with a variety of devices, transcodes content for a diverse range of players and bit rates and mediates between varying protocols used for messaging. The main source of revenue for I-drive in the early days was from its contracts signed with twenty-five universities. Storage provided to students on campuses was paid for by the administration from the tuition fees. Usage patterns in the universities indicated a strong interest
  • in multi-media content. Students used 55% of their space for multi-media files equally divided between audio and image files while 40% was used for documents and 5 % for zip files. I-drive has abandoned its efforts to cultivate a retail market for its software, which it initially promoted by offering free storage. The company admitted that the free service was made possible by venture capital, which could not any longer be sustained. As a middleware company, I-drive does not see itself servicing the retail market where brands count. Instead, it is collaborating with carriers and ISPs to offer its software as a package of value-added services that consumers would be willing to pay for. 6.12 Deep Bridge (http://www.deepbridge.com/) Deep Bridge specializes in developing content management solutions for text and pictures repositories that are required in the pharmaceutical industry for regulatory purposes and in the financial industry for regulatory reporting. The company has a conservative view of the possibilities of content management solutions for rich media repositories; it sees a limited potential for them in niches like mass media houses. Currently, Deep Bridge does not see a prospect of remote searches of data on storage area networks. The Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) required to search for information managed by a variety of operating systems have not yet been developed. Similarly, efforts at personalization, delivery of content independent of the media players, etc, have achieved limited results on account of the slow progress in standards based applications development. Deep Bridge does not foresee a significant potential for growth of markets since content distribution to retail markets is hamstrung on account of bandwidth limitations. The modest diffusion of broadband in the last mile and bandwidth limitations in wireless sector stymies the flow of information to the customers. The focus of the company’s effort is to develop a relational database that will help to search for specific components of content available in a repository.
  • 6.13 Broadstream (http://www.broadstream.com/) BroadStream has developed software tools that measure usage patterns and quality of service as experienced at the consumer end. Currently, content providers have no other means, besides the log files of Content Delivery Networks, to determine both the usage and the quality of transmission. Inevitably, the data available from log files is unreliable and does not provide adequate information. The rate of adoption of streaming media is low because consumer experience is not yet satisfactory. Bandwidth limitations are not the only cause of poor quality of experience with streaming media; standards based MPEG players permit narrowband transmission as well. Content Delivery Networks can improve the quality of transmission if service level agreements were monitored. Furthermore, content providers need data on usage and the quality of reception to estimate consumer willingness to pay for programming and to enforce copyright laws. They can implement pay-per-view programs if they knew the data consumed by individual customers and price according to the quality of reception. Streaming media provides recourse to enterprises to reduce their costs of travel incurred for training and corporate communications. Some companies like Hewlett Packard and Cisco have taken to streaming media in the current economic slowdown. Many other enterprises are unwilling to follow because they do not want to risk disruption in their mission critical applications. In the absence of real time data on bandwidth usage, bandwidth utilization rates are unpredictable which can jeopardize mission critical applications. Several companies, therefore, prefer to shut down less important applications. The technologies for load balancing that ensure the consistency in the quality of transmission of HTTP traffic were not designed to achieve the same purpose with streaming media. A page once viewed remains in the browser and its quality is unaffected by subsequent congestion on the Internet. If another page is requested, data can be routed from the least congested server. Consumers who connect to a media server, on the other hand, experience deterioration in quality as the numbers watching a program increase. BroadStream’s Media sensor measures the quality
  • of reception in real time and BroadStream’s Fusion Center redirects traffic to a server best able to serve the demand after it receives the information. Currently, log files available from Content Delivery Networks aggregate information on data served from several servers spread over a location. The reports generated from such data are available after a lag of time. It is difficult to interpret the data because it does not relate to any specific customer. Finally, the log file data matches the data transmitted to data received rather than the data received to the bandwidth. BroadStream’s Media Sensor helps to gather information about each customer, who remains anonymous and is identified by a number, and gathers information about the bit rate, quality of service and extent of usage. The data is gathered in real time, which aids capacity planning on the fly. Currently, content delivery networks decide on storage of content on the basis of probability of usage on the edge sites. Consequently, content is often replicated in more edge sites than is necessary. The data on usage, collected in real time, can be used to route traffic to the edge when it is required so that a great deal of replication can be saved. However, software to take advantage of the data gathered at customer sites is not yet developed. The information on quality of service can be used to route traffic from a broader selection of content delivery networks than is the case now. Currently, customers prefer reputed organizations like Akamai, Digital Island or I-Beam. Content providers can afford to be agnostic about their vendors if had a way to measure the quality of their service. They would then be able to manage traffic optimally and reduce their costs. 6.14 Vicinity (www.vicinity.com) Vicinity, a start-up offering enterprise location based services, is focused on providing licensing and hosted services to multi-location companies such as retail chains, hotels and automobile companies. Customers use the licensed software to provide location information, on their web sites, to their clients. Two of its data centers also offer similar services off-site from its own web site (http://www.mapblast.com/). License and hosting revenue accounted for $16 million of the total of $ 20 million that the company generated in fiscal year 2001.
  • Although corporations have been purchasing Vicinity’s services, the beneficiaries are their customers rather than employees using them for operational purposes. The staple of its services are web based business finder, maps, driving directions and directory services, which accounted for 76% of the revenue in the nine-month period ending April 30, 2001, 65% in fiscal 2000, 86% in fiscal 1999 and 91% of our revenues in fiscal 1998. The declining share of these services reflects a trend towards an increasing emphasis on enterprise services. Currently, a typical customer of Vicinity is Federal Express, which provides information on drop- off locations on its web site for customers. The acquisition of over 300 of such multi-location clients has prepared the way for developing enterprise services. In the immediate future, Vicinity will offer data on supplies available at each of the centers of its customers such as GAP. The data volumes are expected to rise from tens of Gigabytes to Terabytes with the addition of these services alone. Spatial intelligence is another enterprise opportunity that is available to Vicinity as a result of recent customer acquisition. A typical application is to analyze the location aspects of matching supply and customer need. Wells Fargo bank, for example, is interested in finding out the distances between its branches and Coca Cola’s outlets in individual cities and neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the established vendors of CRM applications like Siebel have extended their capabilities into wireless space. This presents an opportunity for Vicinity because it has skills in geo-coding that CRM companies need before they can offer location-based services. Geo- coding under girds services such as time proximity search or estimate of time required to move from one location to another. Over the longer run, Vicinity is betting on location based field service automation services. However, mission critical services of this nature require deployment from behind the firewall acquisition of additional technological capabilities to integrate with related enterprise applications. Currently, its development effort is focused on usability aspects of its products. Although, Vicinity is not looking to invest in integrating imagery information, it is working on the quality of
  • its vector data. It purchased BeeLine in 2000 to improve the rendering of maps. Customers will now be able to zoom in and zoom out using the new capabilities. Positional accuracy and location awareness is another aspect of improving the usability of location-based services. Currently, customers feed their zip code information, which covers an area much too large for customers who use the services to save time, resources and effort. Vicinity has partnered with Signal Soft to add sensors to cellular phones, which will identify the location within a 100-meter range. Customers will be presented with options, on any aspect of their choice, available within that location. However, positional inaccuracies will continue to be a thorn in the development of enterprise applications. Vicinity’s geo-coding is able to estimate the spatial parameters of a destination with an error rate that does not exceed 7 square foot. Location identification has ways to go before it can match that accuracy. Although Vicinity has incurred huge losses of $27.3 million (including a $ 7.6 million one time charge) in fiscal year 2001 compared to $ 16.5 million in 2000, it has cash reserves of over $ 94 million to continue the development effort. It will also benefit from the completion of the development of an Enterprise Location Server that helps to increase the reliability of the services offered. 6.15 Mediabin (www.MediaBin.com) Mediabin is positioned to meet the brand asset management workflow needs of large enterprises such as Ford Motor Company. Its software automates the tasks of filing, indexing, retrieving and reformatting images and related marketing assets for a variety of media such as print and the web. Assets are centralized in a repository that serves as a clearinghouse for users, inside the enterprise for use by all databases, and by partners. A key component is the metadata that helps users, whatever their preferred tool, access the assets. Digital asset management (‘DAM’) software for rich media management has been available with entertainment and printing/publishing companies but has not been deployed beyond these
  • vertical markets. MediaBin sees a more compelling need for managing the flow of brand-related content within a large multinational company. MediaBin’s marketing strategy is intended to save customers the cost and the complexities that they experience in preparing content, especially images, and in deploying brand assets within and beyond the enterprise. Currently, customers have to pay in excess of $100,000 to purchase a license for a content management tool. MediaBin chooses to provide an infrastructure that is focused on the management and deployment of digital brand assets. The company’s image management and its support for standards (especially XML, and COM, Java and PERL APIs) allows easy interface with other systems. The license for MediaBin’s software begins at $50,000 and the price increases with complexity. MediaBin’s portal type of software, with a directory of files and file management tools, can be deployed within a day as long as a file structure is already in place. Large enterprises like the automobile companies have to cope with a welter of brand related collateral as they offer numerous models in the market place. Images and other related information lies scattered with advertising firms, marketing agencies and market communications departments within the enterprise. Within a company, several departments create content which they need to share. A repository reduces the workflow between these departments. MediaBin has developed a platform to create the applications to manage images centralized in a repository. The need to reuse images has grown as the number of channels of communications and participants has grown, due mostly to the emergence of the web. Images have to be rendered in a variety of formats such as JPEG, TIFF, PDF, etc., besides innumerable shapes, colors, resolutions and sizes. In more recent times, MediaBin has had to respond to the demand for version management of images. The latest upgrade version of MediaBin’s software graduates from workflow management for a workgroup to enterprise wide management of brand assets. It has enhanced its software to scale and has broadened the range of file types that can be previewed via a browser, to include PDFs and MS Office documents such as PowerPoint presentations. In order to handle larger volumes of traffic, the software enables management from a cluster of servers each of them specializing in
  • specific types of traffic, e.g., data flow from images comes in larger blocks than related textual material. Metadata, and its incorporation with the media file in an XML “wrapper,” plays a key role in the enterprise version of the software. It serves as the intersection point for content to flow between departments and users to search for the content they need. Security features had to be enhanced to enable access for especially participants outside the enterprise. The browser has been redeveloped to allow access and downloading of assets after password checks. MediaBin has been encouraged to integrate media related workflow processes in the entire enterprise by changing attitudes of the IT departments. The large volumes of rich media- generated traffic were anathema to IT departments. Lately, the increasing numbers of customers of images within the enterprise has forced a reappraisal with IT departments. 6.16 Scale Eight (www.scale8.com) Scale Eight is a start-up offering Internet based storage services with a niche market in the rich media segment. Unlike the incumbents, such as StorageNetworks and Storability, Scale Eight serves clients who prefer to outsource the management of all storage services outside the firewall. The hallmark of Scale Eight services is that file management happens locally on a web browser or on a LAN within an enterprise. Customers also have the option to mirror their file systems in several locations spread around the world with its Global Storage Port device. Scale Eight’s services are, therefore, particularly useful for collaboration within enterprises with subsidiaries around the globe. The Global Storage Port device is attached to the local area network and the file system is cached locally at customer premises. Customers manage storage devices resident on the four central locations, in San Francisco, Tokyo, London and Virginia on Scale Eight’s network. Scale Eight does not cater to the security sensitive applications that have to be offered on the premises of enterprises. By creating an infrastructure outside the enterprise on the Internet, Scale Eight does not have to work with proprietary software and associated equipment available from
  • costly vendors like EMC. Scale Eight uses commodity equipment, JBODs, and standard software to drive down the costs to a fifth of the incumbents. The current price of its service is $30 per managed mirrored gigabyte compared to $150 from competitors. Predictably, Scale Eight’s sweet spot is personal storage, including executive baggage, which includes mostly music files from MSN music services besides digital photographs, digital images and video. Overall, the market is split into half each between the consumer and the business segments. The market for visual files is divided equally between digital photography/images and video. The company is also exploring wireless markets in European markets but does not see an immediate prospect in the USA. CONCLUSIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS STRATEGY 7 Storage area networks are analogous to radar systems in the airline industry whilst wireless technologies are like individual aircraft. Just like data from individual aircraft are received at a central point to decide on landing and take-off schedules for aircraft, storage area networks accumulate information and churn out alerts for the mobile staff of an enterprise. Similarly, wireless devices like airplanes receive data from a central point about possible dangers to them en route. Enterprises would find as hard to function as airlines would without their radar systems; they will cease to be agile enough to be relevant in the marketplace. Storage industry’s transition from directly attached storage and LAN-attached storage to storage area networks has far reaching ramifications for information management and business strategy in the near-term future. The value of information is dramatically enhanced when large volumes of related data are gathered and correlated at a single point to draw out significant patterns for decision making purposes. Its utility is also augmented by ease of search of information at a granular level so that information can be reused. Finally, the value of information rises as it is shared more widely in a variety of situations. Storage technologies, especially network storage, have the ability to achieve all these goals. The boundaries separating sources of information, such as their medium of publishing, location, computing systems, will begin to wither and all data will be flow into colossal repositories. Businesses will be able to use not only textual information but also imagery, moving pictures,
  • photography and voice data to their competitive advantage. Imagine the impact of catalogs with not only still photographs but also movie footage to demonstrate the capabilities of a product like digital cameras to on-line buyers who may not have previous exposure to them. Multi-media communication is creating new possibilities for managing work processes. The engineering industry, for example, can use a combination of imagery, design graphics and textual data that has to be often exchanged between field staff engaged in construction and the planning staff working from offices. The entire documentation, accessed from a single source, can be shared by all staff members working on-site. LAN attached storage devices were a help at a time when enterprises needed to raise the efficiency of work groups. Storage area networks allow enterprises across several locations to collaborate with each other. A striking illustration is the advertising industry which often has clients spread over several locations or its value chain includes shooting, production and distribution spread over several locations worldwide. The availability of work-in-progress on storage area networks helps the groups working in different locations to collaborate since time lags in receiving the material is reduced to virtually zero. Storage technologies will play a critical role in the commercial viability of a whole new range of products and services by providing capacious capacity for storage. Services such as digital photography and video-on-demand will simply not be possible without large volumes of storage. Unified Messaging has been unaffordable for the large majority of potential customers because of its high cost. Storage technologies, aided by software tools for management of capacity, can substantially lower the costs of managing messages. Similarly, the commodious storage capacities of storage area networks have aided the rise of the voice information industry. Speech recognition technologies, create large files that would be hard to use without the cavernous storage capacity of SANs. The very same files can be mirrored on several sites for convenient access locally. The prohibitive costs of maintaining call centers can be lowered by automation enabled by speech recognition technologies besides rescuing customers from the “menu-hell” of interactive voice recognition systems.
  • The distributed nature of storage area networks creates new channels that can diversify the revenue sources. Revenue realization for movies is hamstrung by the inability to cater to smaller size audience. A striking illustration is the grossly underserved education market for documentaries. Movie halls are not amenable to viewing on demand. Similarly, car owners require content on demand unlike the preferences of mass audiences. Storage area networks have the ability to serve customers on demand and to view content in their preferred ways. Channel diversity is not limited to the flexibility in distribution of content to audience types. The users of content can be differentiated by the diversity of devices especially among owners of wireless handsets. Typically, format needs differ such as the standards used for playing movies and the language. Storage area networks, aided by related content management tools, can convert content from one format to another or from one language to another in real time allowing its reuse. Corporate strategy, especially decision making, will be fundamentally transformed by the capabilities that storage technologies afford. Storage technologies enable a quantum leap in the volumes, velocity and variety of information so that the quality and speed of decision making is greatly improved. The shorter lead times enable companies to make price adjustments to supply and demand imbalances in near time. Errors in decision making will be reduced as companies have the ability to process inter-related information, compare their metrics with best practices and to check with their past experience. Correlations between pieces of information are possible when the data is defined abstractly before relationships can be drawn. Metadata, or the data describing data, plays a crucial role in discerning the relationships in disparate pieces of very large volumes of information. A great of health information is meaningful when it can be related with patient information. Similarly, all location information can be interpreted when it is related to spatial co-ordinates. Past information on a patient, record of illnesses in youth, is useful in making decisions about diagnosis of a person when he or she grows old. None of this would be feasible if the inter- related information cannot be retrieved and presented in an intelligible format to the user in real time.
  • Agility will be the byword of enterprises who take advantage of storage technologies. Field forces and sales staff especially will benefit from time saved on paperwork and the ability to access information to service consumers’ faster. The maintenance of far flung assets will be faster as field forces navigate to their specific destinations aided by graphically rich maps that they can view on their handheld devices. They can review technical information on the tip of their fingers to service their clients. Sales personnel will not be burdened by the document luggage; they can print remotely accessed documents on customer sites. They can also be alerted to opportunities, e.g. trucks can be alerted about parcels they can pick up by delaying their departures. The agility of enterprises will greatly increase as business processes are streamlined by reducing paper work and duplication in document generation. Documents are often referred by several participants in an enterprise; the consequent paper shuffle causes duplication at several levels and slows down decision making as information flows from one point to another. The health industry is a classic example of an industry that is bogged down by paperwork. Once documents are available centrally on storage area networks, they can be viewed conveniently much like any information is on the Internet. Enterprises create brand related imaging and related collateral which can be shared rather than duplicated when it is stored on a device. Advertising agencies can, for example, keep their work-in-progress on a storage area network so that their clients can plan their campaigns. When the collateral is ready, it can be published not only for printed publications but also on the web. A great deal of duplication takes place because the collateral has to be published in a variety of shapes and sizes, different resolutions and color shades. These conversions can happen quickly and with low incremental costs if the template is stored at a single point. Network storage is evolving into a grid which would be as ubiquitous as electrical networks in the near term future. Storage providers are integrating fragmented networks by joining them with the abundant dark fiber, converted into optical networks, widely available in the USA and elsewhere in the world. Pioneering companies like Giant Loop and In Range Technologies have set the stage for global storage area networks.
  • The process is completed by logical representation of the physical capacity by virtualization software before centralized management of the entire network becomes possible. A bevy of start-ups such as Datacore Software, Legato and Falconstore supported by financially strong companies like IBM will accelerate the process of centralized management of storage area networks. The full benefit of storage area networks will be realized when software for storage management is deployed with success. Storage hardware, installed in the initial stages, has been underutilized because software for its optimal utilization was not widely adopted. Economic pressures of the recent recession are driving companies to make greater use of software to manage their storage hardware as a single network and to distribute the load evenly over all disks and tapes. Initial progress in tying storage devices has been limited to homogenous devices within the enterprises for security reasons. Over time, heterogeneous devices will also be inter-connected in a single storage area network as companies agree to share APIs for inter-operability. For security reasons, networks will not be entirely open but some segments of the industry catering to needs such as digital photography and imaging will take advantage of bargains available from outsourcing solutions. The speed of retrieval of information is limited by the inability to increase the speed of operation of disks. This will be mitigated by parallel processing that is possible by dividing information flows into several streams of data. File systems are increasingly able to manage parallel streams of traffic. Widespread adoption of SANs depends a great deal on the quality of service available to customers. In a shared environment, companies can experience inconsistency of performance as clients make conflicting demands on storage capacity. This would be unacceptable to I/O intensive applications like data warehouse applications that have to offer consistent performance such as query time. Cost reduction will be another major driver of greater adoption of storage area networks. Disk drives are way too costly for many of the applications especially where images are utilized.
  • Tapes present a viable alternative to disks to reduce costs especially if their latencies can be lowered. Near-line tape storage promises to increase the adoption of tapes to substantially reduce the costs of managing imaging data. Storage technologies not only enable new applications their commercial acceptance is also dependent on the progress of applications. In the near term future, several applications will come to fruition after years of nurturing. Digital photography is one of the major new applications that create storage needs and an application that lends itself to mass usage. The conditions for its widespread adoption are available as traditional photographs can now be digitized, digital photographs can be processed conveniently at kiosks, work with common software such as Windows XP and communicated over the Internet. In addition, agreement on metadata standards will enable reuse of photographs. Storage demand will increase in step to enable sharing of digital photographs. Similarly, medical applications of storage have long been dormant because clinical information systems were resistant to automation. The primary reason for slow progress in the health industry was the lack of consensus over the vocabulary of medical terms, its logical representation and the metadata. These barriers have been overcome so that data integration in medical enterprises is now possible. Health enterprises can substantially reduce opportunity costs since duplication in paperwork is common and time delays are extremely costly when expensive equipment is idle. In addition, the speed and quality of decision making will greatly improve as the volumes, velocity and variety of information available increases aided by storage technologies. Location based services will grow as the initial spade work of rendering map data has been largely completed. Increasingly, LBS companies will correlate map information with related attribute information besides imagery and aerial photography to offer premium services. Storage demand will increase especially as media intensive services are offered. Enterprises are likely to adopt the more advanced services available. Vehicle Telematics is growing out of its infancy as entertainment and information services are offered besides the staple safety and security services. Voice information services will greatly
  • facilitate the delivery of information services. Mobile professionals are likely to be receptive to information services that they require in the daily routine of their business. Satellite audio entertainment has already been launched and its success will encourage several other companies to offer entertainment services to vehicles. Business Intelligence and Customer Relationship Management data warehouses have an established market which will grow in size as the variety of information gathered increases. In addition, the adoption of BI/CRM will be a boost to the growth of related services such as location based services and remote document retrieval. Storage area networks will increasingly drive the adoption of wireless technologies as the backlog of integration of work processes and information technologies utilized by storage technologies is completed. Wireless technologies will improve communication with customers and the quality of services available to them. For a low incremental cost of integrating wireless technologies, mobile computing will reap the gains from the enormous investments in storage technologies.