Posts Tagged ‘integration’

The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

November 29th, 2012 11:11 admin View Comments


jfruh writes “Automakers are striving mightily to bring their in-dash systems into the modern age, providing integration with smartphones and other advanced features. The problem: while smartphones go in an out of vogue every few years, modern cars have lifespans of a decade or more. Add in the fact that many (though not all) manufacturers have no plans to allow software upgrades to their systems, and you might end up driving a car with a fancy in-dash computer system that’s completely useless for much of the time you own it.”

Source: The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

Hadoop Needs Better Bridges to Fulfill the Big Data Promise

June 26th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

Hadoop is designed to store big data cheaply on a distributed file system across commodity servers. How you get that data there is your problem. And it’s a surprisingly critical issue because Hadoop isn’t a replacement for existing infrastructure, but rather a tool to augment data management and storage capabilities. Data, therefore, will be continually going in and out.

Beyond Basic Tools

Basic tools exist, of course: Since Hadoop came into being, simple commands like Hadoop Copy have enabled a very straightforward and slow way to get data into Hadoop. And there’s Apache Sqoop, which is built expressly for getting data within a relational database management system (RDBMS) in and out of Hadoop.

But Sqoop has limitations of its own. It works, but it uses low-level MapReduce jobs to accomplish the work, which introduces a lot of complexity and (since MapReduce is done in batch jobs) time to data import and export jobs. It might be possible to take the time, of course, and dump your data into Hadoop just the once, but that assumes that Hadoop will be completely replacing your data storage infrastructure.

This is the near-forgotten side of big data: properly placing Hadoop within existing infrastructure so data is stored cheaply, but still quickly accessible for analysis. It is here that data integration tools must play a role as the bridge between existing data stores, analytics and business intelligence tools on one side, and Hadoop on the other.

Pervasive Software is a recent entrant to the Hadoop space, but not to the field of data integration: The Pervasive Data Integrator is no stranger to those who move in data circles. Earlier this month, the Austin-based company announced a Hadoop edition of its product that enables users to roll data from more than 200 sources into Hadoop’s Distributed File System (HDFS) or HBase, the Big Table-type NoSQL database that runs atop Hadoop.

A Visual Approach

Unlike Sqoop, Pervasive uses a visual approach to integrating data.

“It’s a mapping problem,” described Pervasive CTO Mike Hoskins, detailing a story of how even in development, one of Pervasive’s developers was able to perform an off-the-cuff data integration of 50,000 rows of data from an Oracle database to Hadoop in seconds… and that included the time it took to visually map tables in Oracle to Hadoop.

“He just mapped the tables, set the filters and constraints, set the target and clicked go,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins has a vested interest in talking up Pervasive, of course, but his company’s software is part of a growing class of data integration software geared to work with Hadoop and its ecosystem of big data tools. Among these are Talend’s Open Studio and Enterprise Data Integration products, as well as Pentaho’s Kettle.

Data integration tools like these will make transitioning to Hadoop a lot easier up front, along with extracting data for further analysis with tools outside Hadoop. And they will be necessary if Big Data is to fulfill its promise of making it easier to understand the meanings and patterns hidden in complex information.

Source: Hadoop Needs Better Bridges to Fulfill the Big Data Promise

Will Facebook Take Advantage of Apple to Push Privacy Limits?

June 12th, 2012 06:30 admin View Comments

Apple announced Monday that it would offer far deeper integration of Facebook in iOS6. The partnership is bound to benefit both companies, as well as app developers. But the new arrangement may require greater vigilence on the part of Apple customers and Facebook users.

Among the key points in Apple’s Facebook announcement:

  • Facebook events are integrated into calendars, and your contacts get Facebook connection as well.
  • In addition to more integration in iOS6 and OS X, Facebook integration will also feature prominently in Apple’s App Store and iTunes Store.
  • Users will be able to share products, including apps, movies, songs and television shows from the stores.
  • Apple will offer a public Facebook integration API.
  • Users will get a single sign-in for both Facebook and Apple.
  • As it previously did with Twitter, Apple will make it possible for users to post directly to Facebook from the Notification Center.
  • Easier sharing of photos to and from Facebook through Apple operating systems.

“Today’s announcement from Apple is great news for Facebook users and iOS and Mac OS X developers,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Next Web. “With deep integration throughout iOS and OS X, people will have new ways to share and connect, and it becomes easier for developers to integrate Facebook into apps and games.”

Battery Life, Friends’ Patience Could be Drained

But there is already some criticism of the new integration. The integration will drain batteries more quickly. But more importantly, the integration seems to make public sharing the default setting. This would align Apple more closely with Facebook’s widely criticized privacy policies. CNET’s Larry Dignan warned that people are likely to forget they’re signed in and automatically share to Facebook, creating an oversharing nightmare.

“Add it up, and iOS and Facebook will be an integration that’s going to be a bit too frictionless for a lot of us,” Dignan wrote. ”Here’s the new world order: Unless you manage Facebook closely, you’ll wind up sharing more than you want. The reality is that most of us will forget we’re logged into Facebook and burden ourselves and our friends with oversharing.”

In Apple We Trust

Schwartz noted that users are more likely to give a trusted name like Apple access to their Facebook timeline, which will make it much easier for developers to seamlessly integrate (and sell) apps in Facebook.

“A large amount of users won’t allow [third-party] applications to have access to the same details, even if it’s only the fake email address they gave Facebook five years ago,” he said. “This will shorten the funnel, increase the user base and revenue for everyone. If your users don’t need to click ‘Connect with Facebook’ every time they go into the app, that means that app developers can create almost a magical user experience on the first use with the app.”

Patrick Chukwura, the co-founder of the app developer SimpleLeap Software and the mobile game company Fine & Dandy, said Apple immediately gives Facebook and its developers credibility.

The messages is, “If Apple trusts them, so should we,” Chukwura said.

Photo courtesy of Gdgt

Source: Will Facebook Take Advantage of Apple to Push Privacy Limits?

What Facebook and Apple Will Gain by Teaming Up for iOS 6

June 7th, 2012 06:03 admin View Comments

If the latest reports are to be believed, we’ll soon be doing a lot more “liking” from our iDevices. That’s because Apple is expected to roll out Facebook integration in iOS 6, allegedly not unlike it did with Twitter in the last major update to its mobile operating system. 

The baking of the world’s biggest social network deep into one of the world’s biggest smartphone operating systems is a move that, while incredibly delayed, will present important advantages to both companies.  

What’s in it for Facebook

When Twitter’s deep integration with iOS 5 rolled out, the microblogging service saw a huge increase in daily sign-ups. Facebook, which is already well on its way to tallying up its billionth users, probably won’t see quite as big of a jump in new users. In some markets, Facebook may see a noticeable uptick in signups as a result of the iOS integration. But the biggest advantage for the newly public social giant will likely be increases in content-sharing and user engagement.

With Facebook baked right into iOS, sharing content on the social network will be considerably easier. Not only will the integration simplify single sign-on authentication within third-party apps (and thus reduce the already minor friction there), but its role in Apple’s own native apps will be a boon for Facebook. Safari and the Camera app alone will be substantial pipelines of content funneling directly into Facebook, enabling easier sharing of articles, blog posts and photos. 

In many ways, the fact that these apps don’t already function this way is absurd. For the last few years, the relationship between the two giants has been, in Facebook’s parlance, complicated. Now that they’re warming up to one another, users will get some useful, if long-overdue, features.

What Apple and iOS Stand to Gain

When the words “social” and “Apple” wind up in the same sentence, it’s usually followed by some form of ridicule for Ping, the company’s most serious social networking effort to date. That’s fine. Apple has plenty of strengths; this just isn’t one of them. Deep Facebook integration into the company’s mobile OS will help amend it with some badly needed social features. 

Apple has always strived to provide the most optimal user experience possible. As social networking weaves itself ever more deeply into the lives of hundreds of millions of people, it becomes a bit harder to achieve that goal without teaming up with a company like Facebook. 

It’s no secret that discoverability has long been a shortcoming of the iTunes App Store. Apple is expected to fix that with whatever comes of their acquistion of Chomp, but in the meantime, the Facebook integration in iOS 6 will help boost exposure for many popular apps. The partnership reportedly includes native “liking” of apps on iTunes, which will generate more awareness of apps within the Facebook ecosystem and also offer another measure of popularity beyond what’s gleaned from Apple’s own metrics and user-generated reviews. This also opens the door to another marketing opportunity for developers.

It’s worth noting that the nature of Apple and Facebook’s partnership is still unclear. TechCrunch reported on the alliance a few days ago, but as Cult of Mac’s Mike Elgan points out, the report doesn’t indicate that the integration will necessarily be as deep as Twitter’s iOS presence. Elgan runs through a list of reasons why he thinks Apple is unlikely to get too cozy with Facebook, and his analysis is worth a read.

Assuming the integration is a meaningful one, the real winners here just may be users, given that so many are already actively using social networks from their iPhones and iPads on a daily basis. Like last year’s Twitter integration, plugging Facebook into iOS will simply make it easier for people to do what they’re already doing. Removing even a little bit of friction stands to improve the user experience considerably.

Source: What Facebook and Apple Will Gain by Teaming Up for iOS 6

WorldDesk Launches Dropbox-powered Way To Access Your Desktop

February 14th, 2012 02:46 admin View Comments

It would appear Dropbox is building a pretty wide ecosystem around its service and the latest today is an integration with WorldDesk. Who are they? Well they provide desktop virtualisation software, and they’ve just launched a beta cloud-based desktop delivery platform leveraging Dropbox.

Right now WorldDesk lets you access your “desktop” (whatever that is these days) from any device,allowing access to your applications and personalised desktop from your physical machine. Using WorldDesk, you could use a simple USB drive, or access your desktop from a smartphone, for instance.

But its integration with Dropbox means you can now access your desktop, through your Dropbox folder, on any 32-bit Windows 7 machine. They are also finalising plans to roll-out across all other operating systems and on other cloud storage platforms.

Belfast-based WorldDesk was founded by Claire Moore and Jonathan Chesney in early 2010.

Source: WorldDesk Launches Dropbox-powered Way To Access Your Desktop

CES 2012: 10 Ways Facebook Is Integrating Into Your TV, Music & Games

January 13th, 2012 01:36 admin View Comments

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpgThe world’s biggest social network wants to change the way you share TV shows, music and games. Think frictionless sharing meets social TV for all media. Given what Facebook recent announcements about integration with cameras and cars, is full media integration? If you’re still unsure, take a hint from this: Earlier this week, Facebook announced frictionless sharing for your TV with Boxee.

Facebook is integrating with DIRECTV for social discovery of programs and movies. You can see what their friends are watching, and then start watching those shows immediately or, just save them for later.

With the IntoNow iPhone app, you can identify the shows your friends are watching by analyzing the audio signal. Then you can share those TV shows with your Facebook friends.

Trident is not a bubblegum app. It’s yet another apps for seeing what shows your friends are watching, liking and commenting on.

The U-Verse social TV app integrates directly with the Facebook Platform. You can share what you’re watching and what you “like.”

Zeebox is a social TV app with a slightly different twist. Instead of just seeing what your friends are watching and liking, you can also post those shows directly to your Facebook Timeline.

The Snapstick app for Facebook Timeline is designed for playing and watching video, listening to music and surfing channels with your friends. Web content is streamed directly to your TV.

With the Xbox app, you can share game achievements with friends, which seems more useful than just dumping them into the crowded Facebook news feed. You can also share shows, music and pictures taken with their Kinect device.

The Slacker Radio app is similar to frictionless sharing music services Spotify, MOG and Rdio. You discover and listen to music with friends through Web or mobile devices.

Earlier this week, Kodak launched two Facebook-integrated cameras and two apps; could these two moves save Kodak from its tenuous pre-bankruptcy state?

Facebook and Mercedes-Benz announced a new Facebook app that allows drivers to access Facebook friends and restaurants that their friends have “liked.” The new feature will be available in the 2012 SL-Class Mercedes this upcoming spring.

With integration of cars, cameras, music, TV and games, will Facebook become your one true login?

Source: CES 2012: 10 Ways Facebook Is Integrating Into Your TV, Music & Games

Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing Comes to Your TV With Boxee

January 11th, 2012 01:45 admin View Comments

Whether you love it or hate it, Facebook’s so-called frictionless sharing concept isn’t going away anytime soon. From songs played on Spotify to articles read on the Washington Post, everything your friends consume via participating sites is broadcast to the news ticker in real time.

Today, the social TV and streaming media center service Boxee became the latest to join in on the trend when it announced a new partnership with Facebook. Users who opt in can automatically update Facebook about TV shows and other videos they watch through Boxee’s interface.

Like any good content app worth using, Boxee has always allowed users to manually share items via Twitter and Facebook. The service even took its social integration a step further by including Flipboard-style channels of video that are auto-curated based on what one’s friends and followees are sharing online.

With this latest update, the process is streamlined and updates are posted automatically based on what users are watching. The feature will work with Boxee’s new Live TV dongle, so even if you’re watching the latest episode of “The Office” during its original broadcast time, your Facebook friends will all know about it.

Like some other implementations, the Boxee and Facebook integration has its limitations. When you click on a link on the News Feed or Timeline, you’re not taken directly to the content itself, but rather to a landing page with more information abdout the show. This may be annoying to some users, who expect to be able to consume the content immediately.

Mindful of privacy concerns, Boxee makes very clear that the feature is opt-in so one needn’t worry about blasting their friends with excessive or updates.

Boxee Facebook Live TV Integration from boxee on Vimeo.

Source: Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing Comes to Your TV With Boxee

Facebook Turns Your Timeline Into Moo Business Cards, First 200,000 Are Free

January 5th, 2012 01:57 admin View Comments

In a move which is likely to catapult UK startup Moo into a new international stage, the company has become the only one to deeply integrate its ‘social business cards’ with the Facebook platform today. Taking pictures from users’ Facebook Timeline information and photography, users will now be able to create 50 personalised business cards for £10/$15. But in a promotion from today Moo is giving away cards to the first 200,000 users, equivalent to 10 million cards.

The cards can feature a different photo image on the front of the cards together with a favourite quote or saying on the reverse. This will doubly act as a promo for Facebook’s Timelime as people will be able to take snapshots of their lives from their Timelines and put them onto the cards.

Facebook spokesperson Jillian Stefanki says “The MOO.COM integration makes it possible for people to take [the Timeline] experience with them offline.”

Richard Moross, CEO and Founder of MOO.COM told me the deal was put together daily quickly after an ‘enthusiastic Moo user” at Facebook, who was also a product manager, contacted him about a partnership.

The integration took about four or five weeks as although Moo had a basic integration with Facebook, “this is a more involved integration and we have had more exposure inside Facebok than before” says Moross.

Moo is the only partner for these social cards so far and won the contract with Facebook because it has “been doing this for 5/6 years so we are the most experienced online printer in working with social networks,” says Moross.

It also fulfils his original vision of the ‘social business card’: “My original idea was for a modern business card that connected online with offline, so it’s funny that years later this is now complete and it’s something which is very satisfying personally to me.”

He says Moo remains confident that it will be able to delver cards to anywhere in the world, given it has already done so in 200 different countries.

“We’re not quite sure where this could go but we’re confident we can scale this. We have capacity to print millions of cards a day and we’ve done this with many of partners before,” he says.

Moo’s revenues are made mostly in the US business followed by Europe then Asia.

Moo’s trump card, as it were, was its initial integration with Flickr. Now its Facebook integration could see the value of this startup soar. The company was backed by Atlas Venture, Index Ventures and The Accelerator Group with a $5m Series A round in 2006 but has not needed to raise money since.

He’s my personalised Facebook card:

Source: Facebook Turns Your Timeline Into Moo Business Cards, First 200,000 Are Free

IT Survey: Businesses Embrace APIs for Apps Integration, Not Social

December 20th, 2011 12:30 admin View Comments

Mae West (150 sq).jpgIn perhaps one of the more counter-intuitive surveys to be published this year, commissioned by developer tools maker Apigee, a majority of businesses interviewed whose IT departments are currently managing API-intensive development projects say that integration with social networking sites is the least of their concerns.

Though the interview was limited to only 24 companies (leaving some doubt as to whether the sample size is adequate enough), the Web API study published by Hurwitz & Associates shows only 12% (3 firms) registering “expanding to social networking sites” as an important motivating factor for adopting APIs in applications.

111220 Hurwitz survey 01.jpg

Some 82% (20) of the companies interviewed for the report said application integration was among the most important driving factors in their API adoption processes, while 78% (19) cited collaboration with partners as most important, and 61% (15) cited connecting to more devices.

The trend indicated here suggests that although Facebook may be “eating the Web,” as suggested on multiple occasions this year by CEO Marc Benioff, it may have gotten too full to eat businesses.

Or, as the Hurwitz team puts it, “these companies recognize that providing a quick and easy way for developers to integrate applications leads to a stronger application ecosystem and increased value to customers.” Maybe. Intense study on the subject over the past five years or more from firms such as Forrester confirms that application integration is a key driver for API adoption, but not necessarily for such high and lofty purposes.

As Forrester analysts Ken Vollmer and Noel Yuhanna put it more directly last April, “Enterprises are seeking a lean, mean, and more holistic approach to integration, doing more real-time integration and planning increased usage of enterprise service buses (ESBs) and data services platforms. The need to integrate on-premises apps with software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps is also starting to affect requirements. These trends will affect a wide range of Forrester clients this year and should shape key objectives for planned upgrades or modifications to integration infrastructure and skills.”

In other words, it’s not the need for a nice, shiny ecosystem that’s the problem: It’s the fact that SaaS applications are typically self-contained, and for many businesses, the most expedient way to make them useful with respect to businesses’ long history of existing data, is to build quick-and-dirty scripts and tools for forcing square pegs into rounder holes. Or as Mae West put it, “Goodness had nothing to do with it.”

In a separate question in the Hurwitz survey dealing with the business motivations for adopting APIs, as opposed to the technical factors, 75% (18) of respondents cited the need to connect to more partners as critical, while 65% (16) cited the need to expand their channel strategies. Only 12% (3) said it had anything to do with improving the recognition of their brand – which, if you think about it, is usually one of the factors behind building an ecosystem. That’s another indicator that there’s grittier, more pressing business needs at work here.

Source: IT Survey: Businesses Embrace APIs for Apps Integration, Not Social

The Remaking of ZohoCRM

December 15th, 2011 12:08 admin View Comments

Today Zoho announced a makeover for its venerable (my, how time flies) CRM SaaS service, including new features and a new UI. The company also stated that its software is used by 5.5 million users and has 25,000 CRM customers. The features are all available immediately and the existing pricing remains the same.

First is the UI makeover. You can see the setup screen below, it is more organized and more visually appealing. (A comparison between old and new can be found here.)What I liked is that Zoho will offer you a choice of UI for a limited time to aid in your own transition, if you liked the old furniture arrangement.

Second are two new social integration features that are all the rage in SaaS products. First is its own social streaming app called Pulse, as you can see it is similar to a variety of streaming features that can be found elsewhere. You can follow fellow employees, post to their stream and so forth.


The second social feature is an integration with LinkedIn and this is two way: your updates in Zoho get posted on LinkedIn, and vice-versa. You can link someone in your Zoho contacts or leads databases to their LinkedIn profile. You click on the little LinkedIn box underneath their photo to get into this part of the program. Both Pulse and the LinkedIn integration are free for all users of Zoho.

The last two features are only available to enterprise-grade Zoho users. First is a new Creator app that is integrated into the CRM service. With it, you can develop custom CRM modules using a variety of forms and templates, as you see below.

If that isn’t enough, Zoho is also assembling a series of Workflow APIs called Webhooks to automate particular processes externally. Again, this is just available to enterprise users. So you could update your Quickbooks accounting system every time you indicate you close a deal in the ZohoCRM module.

Source: The Remaking of ZohoCRM