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.

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Storage Area Networks and Wireless Applications

  1. 1. STORAGE AND WIRELESS APPLICATIONS By Kishore Jethanandani In collaboration with Datacomm Research Company
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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 ( 53 5.2 Unified Messaging, Voice Information and Telematics ................................................ 54 5.2.1 Tornado Development ( 54 5.2.2 BeVOCAL ( ................................................. 57 5.3 CRM/Business Intelligence .......................................................................................... 58 5.3.1 Teradata ( ............................................................................. 61 5.4 Location Based Services.............................................................................................. 63 5.4.1 Space Machine ( ................................................ 64 5.5 Medical Applications .................................................................................................... 67 5.5.1 General Electric Medical Information Systems 68
  4. 4. 6 EXPERIENCES OF KEY PLAYERS: ................................................................... 72 6.1 Storability (www.storability) .......................................................................................... 72 6.2 IBM/Tivoli...................................................................................................................... 73 6.3 Veritas ( ................................................................................ 77 6.4 E-motion ( ...................................................................................... 78 6.5 Viafone ( ......................................................................................... 79 6.6 Tellme ( 81 6.7 Openwave ( ...................................................................... 82 6.8 Datadirectnet ( 83 6.9 Generic Media ( .................................................................... 84 6.10 Digital Fountain ( 85 6.11 Airborne Entertainment ( 86 6.12 I-DRIVE ( ................................................................................. 87 6.13 Deep Bridge ( ................................................................. 88 6.14 Broadstream ( .............................................................. 89 6.15 Vicinity ( ........................................................................................... 90 6.16 Mediabin ( 92 6.17 Scale Eight ( 94 7 CONCLUSIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS STRATEGY .................... 95
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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 ( has launched its products, to move large volume data such as that generated in the health industry. Alternatively, storage area networks can mirror
  8. 8. 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 ( 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.
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. format. Digital content, on the other hand, can be adapted for its presentation of several wireless devices or other devices2. Museums, rare books and historical archives are striking illustration of illiquid information. Today, the global mirroring feature of storage technologies, a service offered by Scale Eight among others, has enabled not only their centralized storage but also their worldwide dissemination ( The applications of storage are rooted in these generic attributes of archiving, retrieval, assimilation, and dissemination that have been enhanced by digitization and networks that interconnect storage devices. Ease of archiving, for example, encourages the preservation of old movies that would be lost by deterioration of silver halide films. The cost of maintaining large archives would not be bearable if footage was not conveniently retrieved such as by natural language keywords3. Similarly, geographic data and related traffic information would be hard to use for logistics management if could not be rapidly aggregated, assimilated and disseminated to 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
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. 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 ( 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
  14. 14. 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 ( 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 ( 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
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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 ( 7 This is discussed in detail in a white paper at (
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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 (, Kodak’s ( and Pixel Magic Imaging ( 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.
  20. 20. 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 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”
  21. 21. 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 ( 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 ( 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
  22. 22. 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 ( 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 ( 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 (, provides both unified messaging and speech enabled information services Comverse includes entertainment as well messaging and voice enabled information services ( Telematics Service providers such as ATX Technologies ( and Mobile Aria
  23. 23. ( are working on plans to offer multi-media telematics services over the next 18 to 24 months. Delphi Automotive Systems ( and Visteon ( 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.
  24. 24. 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.
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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 13
  27. 27. 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 ( offer parallel processing technologies to retrieve information rapidly from disks. It has also partnered with Inciscent ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 15 op cit 16
  28. 28. 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 ( 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 (, working in collaboration with EMC and Teradata (, working in collaboration 17 For a case study, 18 19 A sample of location based services can be found at
  29. 29. with LSI Logic ( 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
  30. 30. revealed by say sales data. Business Objects ( 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
  31. 31. care industry are General Electric Medical Systems (, in collaboration with EMC, and Siemens (, Philips ( and Agfa (, 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
  32. 32. 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 23 An exhaustive review of the evidence on the impact of CPOE and the opportunity costs of not implementing it can be found at
  33. 33. 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 ( specializes in applications that provide ready reference to information on drugs. Similarly, Allscripts Healthcare solutions ( 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, page 5. 25
  34. 34. The ability to reference clinical data quickly is another important reason ofr medical errors. Skyscape ( 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 ( 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 ( 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.
  35. 35. 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 (
  36. 36. 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 ( 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 ( The actual 29 See the case study of Mediabin
  37. 37. implementation of new wireless applications is happening in collaboration with leaders in individual segments such as Microsoft ( and Sony ( 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 (, 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 ( lNodeId=997) IBM, together with its associate companies Tivoli and Ascential Software, has a comprehensive plan for the wireless space (, including embedded devices, which includes mobile platforms, enterprise applications and related storage infrastructure ( and storage management software ( 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 (, 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 (, 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
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. • 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 ( 31, describes the technical reasons for the delays in taking photographs. 32 Op cit
  40. 40. • 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 ( 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 34
  41. 41. 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 ( followed by AT&T with Tellme ( and Hey Anita ( 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 36 See market research study available at 37 A review of cost issues can be found at
  42. 42. 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 ( 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.
  43. 43. 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 ( introduced by General Motors for Cadillac DeVilles and Sevilles, in November 2001. Similar services are also available from Sirius Satellite Radio ( New companies such as Wingcast and Mobile Aria, besides new independent service providers such as Automobile Association of America, are poised to introduce a wide range of new services. Emerging players are using dual mode devices since the coverage of digital networks is still less than half of analog networks; AMPS (advanced mobile phone service) is the analog system which has 90% coverage in the USA while digital systems have 40% coverage. While security and safety services were ostensibly the most important services, the actual call pattern showed that many of the queries were for location based services. Figures released by ATX Technologies ( 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