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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation

Amazon Echo: Bringing Voice to Internet of Things

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Amazon is investing heavily in voice recognition – the Fire TV, and now followed by Echo. I have signed up for an invite to buy the Echo – but what I am really waiting for is Amazon opening up developer access to the Echo. Echo could be the Home Butler, the Digital Assistant to automate and manage the home. It is a step in the right direction – pulling out your Smartphone to control devices is not ideal – yes you don’t have to get up from the couch to turn off the lights (with the phone that is) but asking “Alexa” to do so wouldn’t be just cool, but mighty useful!


Written by Ashu Joshi

November 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm

A Cluster Of Links: Telcos & Innovation

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Last months Mobile World Congress prompted a cluster of posts and book reviews around the subject of Innovation & Telcos, especially around the roll of Bell Labs. Here are the top ones to read: 

The Carriers Are Stuck In The Innovator’s Dilemma. Just Don’t Tell Them That.
Jeff Lawson, Pando Daily, February 20th 2012 (the author is founder of Twilio, an example given in the post for innovation using Telco networks)



“To survive the innovator’s dilemma, carriers need to increase the intelligence of their networks and open them up for innovation.”


“There is, in fact, a party of innovation among developers of voice, VoIP and SMS apps that is similar in spirit to the early days of DIY telephone networks. It’s time for the carriers to join in.”


“Instead of being fearful, operators should embrace the opportunity to innovate. But they do require a different organizational structure that allows them to fail fast and learn so that every once in while they have a winner.”

A new book is out  “The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation” and the author Jon Gertner wrote an opinion piece in NYTimes that has prompted me to add the book to my reading list. Here is what he has to say:


Indeed, in the search for innovative models to address seemingly intractable problems like climate change, we would do well to consider Bell Labs’ example — an effort that rivals the Apollo program and the Manhattan Project in size, scope and expense. Its mission, and its great triumph, was to connect all of us, and all of our new machines, together. 

In his recent letter to potential shareholders of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg noted that one of his firm’s mottoes was “move fast and break things.” Bell Labs’ might just as well have been “move deliberately and build things.” This sounds like the quaint pursuit of men who carried around slide rules and went to bed by 10 o’clock. But it was not. 

But to consider the legacy of Bell Labs is to see that we should not mistake small technological steps for huge technological leaps. It also shows us that to always “move fast and break things,” as Facebook is apparently doing, or to constantly pursue “a gospel of speed” (as Google has described its philosophy) is not the only way to get where we are going. Perhaps it is not even the best way. Revolutions happen fast but dawn slowly. To a large extent, we’re still benefiting from risks that were taken, and research that was financed, more than a half century ago.

You can read more reviews of the book @ Huffington Post and NYTimes.



Written by Ashu Joshi

March 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

Posted in Service Providers

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Netbook Innovation: Dell + Litl + Boxee

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While my brain is unusually active on ideas, I rarely write them down. Back in May in my post The Dell Dilemma – I wrote about how Dell needs to innovate. At that time I had an idea to propose, I never got around to writing about it. The idea can be best expressed by the seeing what this Litl startup has done. Dell needs to innovate their PC and Notebook lineup to better compete with HP. John Gruber of Daring Fireball makes very good arguments on why PC companies need to out of the box innovation here and here – and gives example of what Litl has done.

For now, Dell is trying to mimic IBM and HP with the acquisition of Perot Systems to compete with them. I think that is, culturally, a much more difficult move for Dell, not to mention it is not their core competency.

Dell should learn from Litl or may be even acquire them and come out with dual function notebook or webbook.  I would, though, enhance the Litl platform in the following ways:

1. A Dual-Mode machine = PC + Media Player

2. Install a Android-based OS (or may be even Ubuntu Karmic!) – increase the PC functionality on the current design of Litl

3. Make it a dual boot OR rather a dual-mode machine by providing a “dock” that has the HDMI connections to the TV

4. When the machine is docked, it would work as a Entertainment Netbook (the SW would switch upon docking)

5. Bundle a nice remote with the package (and of course the Dock)

5. License Boxee software and have it pre-loaded on the Book

6. When Undocked – it works like a PC with support for Google Docs or Open Office

Future editions could bundle the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook support to make it work like an e-Reader. The bottomline, though, is that Dell’s operational and supply chain expertise could bring down the cost of manufacturing and marketing and introduce a new category in the Computing Market.

Written by Ashu Joshi

December 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

Innovative Business Models: Bharti-Airtel

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Bharti-Airtel of India continues to innovate on their business models, recently outsourcing mobile value added services to Comviva.  As you read through this article, one paragraph captures my attention:

Airtel’s IT contract with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) works on a revenue-sharing basis, while the operator’s network outsourcing contracts with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Siemens Networks introduced a radical financial arrangement whereby Airtel pays for network capacity usage (priced per erlang), and not for the network infrastructure.

Bharti is not paying for the network infrastructure, they are not even leasing it, they are paying based on actual usage.

Written by Ashu Joshi

June 19, 2009 at 10:00 am