Monthly Archives: July 2007

Webcams for Service

My younger brother flys a plane between Kununurra and Darwin, dropping off passengers at the Lake Argyle Diamond Mine. He tells me that the other day, his co-pilot pointed out that a warning light was going off on his dashboard. The light was very dim, and it was around sunset and difficult to see. While they were discussing the likely hood of there actually being a fire in the engine, a series of alarms went off, waking up and scaring the sh*t out of everyone in the plane. It turned out later that it was just a loose wire going into the sensor, but it was certainly an exciting “day at the office” for him.

Now the exciting thing about this, is he told me all this via a video conference. Both of us have a broadband internet connection, have downloaded the internet telephone software skype, and plugged in a web cam. The cost of this video conference was a $69pm internet connection and a $49 web cam.

I compare this to a traditional Video conferencing system. I am led to believe that this costs around $170 to apply to have a link setup, then many thousands of dollars to actually run it. In fact a detective friend indicated that its normally cheaper to fly someone to Australia to give evidence, than use Video.

Anyway, the link with my brother wasn’t perfect. However cost virtually nothing and accurately conveyed all his feelings. He could also pick up his webcam and show me the colour of his undies, so to speak.

It was strange to have a video conference with him, because normally we don’t have much to say. Normally its : Hi..Hi..Nothing new here….Nothing new here either…oh well… bye…bye. However the one time he did have something to say, it was fantastic. Its occurred to me that it would be a great service solution. Most of the time it would be useless, but that one time in 100, where someone could actually show you the part that’s broken. It would be a clear differentiator of my business.

Skype can be downloaded at www.skype.com and the camera I am using is a Logitech Webcam Family at http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/webcams/devices/254&cl=au,en

Australian Web 2.0

So this week the Churchill Club is running a program, called Australian Web 2.0 Success. There seems to be a hang-up in Australia about what Web 2.0 actually is, and whether we have any successful companies in that space. When asking around, there seemed to be a lot of consent that Atlassian, was one of our most successful Web 2.0 Companies, as they supply Web 2.0 software to many of America’s Fortune 500. However there was also a dissenting voices, that say Atlassian supply Enterprise Software that that produces Web 2.0 functionality, and are not actually a Web 2.0 company. Their products include Wiki’s and bug trackers.

So what’s Web 2.0?

It appears that Tim O’Reilly http://radar.oreilly.com first used the term Web 2.0 in 2003, but many of the things (applications, technologies, methodologies) talked about as Web 2.0 date back to the beginning of the world wide web in 1989.

There are many definitions for Web 2.0, and plenty of information can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2 , however the main thrust is as follows. Web 1.0 was about placing traditional business models on the Web. Web 2.0 is about taking the natural attributes of the internet, and using them to make new business models. For example, Web 1.0 was online publishing, Web 2.0 is about blogging (grass level content generation). Web 1.0 is putting your putting up a home page, Web 2.0 is about creating a MySpace or Facebook page that is linked to others in your social network. Web 1.0 is creating tree like structures of categorisation, Web 2.0 is about tag clouds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_clouds.

So does the definition matter?

I would argue not really, as there are lots of definitions and they mean different things to different people. To the technologist, Web 2.0 is about technologies such as XML, AJAX, SOAP and Ruby on Rails. (Yes these really are computer technologies). To content providers, its about user generated content, to marketers its all about authentic messages, and to financiers its about grabbing market share before layering in products and services.

To members of social networks or tribes I am sure the definition matters, but since I’m not an anthropologist, I won’t comment further.

Are Atlassian a web 2.0 Company?

Form my point of view they are, as they are harnessing the power and attributes of the internet, to ramp up their business, which just happens to be enterprise software that provides web 2.O functionality. I hope this makes sense.