Sunday, 18 December 2011

Merry Christmas, Prosperous and Productive New Year

Wishing all Aeonvista's Customers, Colleagues and Friends Season's wishes for a restful and happy holidays. We hope you all enjoy a prosperous, productive and fulfilling New Year in this difficult economic climate.

I am looking forward to an exciting New Year back at my current position in News International. I hope all of you enjoy the next 12 months and lets hope we can all work towards pulling us out of the global recession.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Someone shares my vision for Operators

I was flicking through my linkedIn notices and news items and spotted this great entry on the IPL Blog:

Services are the way to reach customers, it pretty clear to me and the guys at IPL seem to agree too. Although I have to admit a certain bias towards the IPL comments as an ex-employee of IPL, I still have a keen interest and still have a number of connections to the IPLers.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Future communications networks and services

Like most professional's inbox, mine fills with news, messages and sales pitches. Amongst this ever present background noise, every once in a while the title of an email or news item catches my attention. This week two items caught my eye:

  • [Special Report] Towards the New Intelligent Network, from V2M, sponsored by Cisco
  • TechRepublic: Microsoft conjures up the future of mobile productivity.
Below is direct extract from the overview of the Special Report.
An intelligent network can be a platform for new business models and differentiators, by enabling network segmentation, partnerships with content partners and the creation of personalized services. This is especially important in a landscape that has seen the rise of content, applications and devices as having the primary relationship with the customer from a brand perspective. Driving intelligence in the network isthe primary strategy for mobile operators looking to architect for the next-generation business model.

This report includes:
  • The Intelligent Mobile Broadband Imperative: Why Intelligence Matters
  • The Network as Profitability Engine
  • New Approach to Analytics
The special report as you can see from the description above showed promise, and service design and "intelligent" services is a bit of a pet interest of mine, started when we tried in the early nineties to crowbar  out the control logic from the stored program controller functions of the TDM switches in to a centralised execution engine (called a service control point - SCP). We've moved on from this with IP networks now dominating over traditional TDM and even a short life for ATM (I know its lasted in the mobile space - and oh yes its still heavily present in ADSL networks).

Alas I was disappointed by the content, admittedly I should have spotted the Cisco sponsorship of the paper, but the focus of the paper was on network traffic flows, rather than the actual services and how to make the best use of infrastructure to support these.

This is the comment I emailed to the editor at V2M:

I've just picked my way through the "Special Report", and I have to say I found very little new material or real content of value. It could have been written 10 years ago, in fact I think there was better material around 10 years ago about the challenges facing both fixed and mobile operators by the Internet's growth and the Telco's challenge of not being just a bit pipe provider.

Having worked in the telecoms industry for over 20 years now and seen the analogue exchanges replaced with TDM switching and the usurping of the traditional telco model by open source VoIP, I feel the challenges telcos face are far greater than the material you have put out.

Traditional telecoms operators are having to face the challenges of services which no longer rely on centralised telco controlled (walled garden) network architectures.  IMS, EPC and LTE architecture just prolong the pain for operators who cling to this centralised control model. If telco's don't adopt a decentralised collaborative approach to services, rather than build their castles on an old and frankly out-dated model for services, they will fail and become what they're most afraid of stove-piped carries of traffic with no share in valuable content and services it contains.

Discussions of traffic shaping and understanding customer trends and usage and traffic flows will not make network operators "rich" look at the richness embodied in modern applications, the report mentions facebook, but misses the point of what the APIs to services like facebook offer by discussing traffic patterns. Facebook's value to organisations looking to increase revenue is about the relationships and activities the "friends" on facebook are engaged in. Glue-ing the richness of the applications with the network operators "crown jewels" - ubiquitous access is where the gold mine lies.

The tech republic blog entry was actually slightly more enlighting and the video from Microsoft, if a little "Minority Report" (as pointed out by one of commenters on the tech republic blog) was actually quite refreshing and potentially close to a future communications and office environment. It was yes full of gloss, but looking beyond this at some of the underly technical considerations for this future view of communications and it's all pretty plausible from flexible OLED 3D display technologies, with the Xbox motion detection (Kinect) built in to interactive displays augmenting touch gestures. For near and remote comms between devices we have ZigBee and bluetooth and LTE and HSPA.

If you view the Microsoft video whilst thinking about my views on intelligent networks. Whilst I fully support the views in the V2M paper on capacity and flow management (this is really important since this addresses the scarce resources of the service provider), if you view the video, think about the value to the customers of the network providers, its in the content and services they're using. The key single element that mobile operators in particular have the advantage - Ubiquitous access. Mobile operators by offering access and taking note of the services their customers are using, can use this to personalise each customer's experience - both of the underlying network, but also the services themselves.

Friday, 14 October 2011

A sad weeks news in computing

Yes - just about everyone is mourning the passing of Steve Jobs, but less public fervour has been made of Dennis Ritchie's recent death.

Just about everyone who has learnt to programme at University will have been introduced to the C programming language in the seminal text, know affectionally as Kernighan & Ritchie, I have my precious copy still in near mint condition with a sticky-backed plastic cover on to strengthen it, alongside it sits my other precious book, The UNIX programming environment by Briane Kernighan and Rob Pike, both of whom have paid their very personal respects to Dennis Richie.

This is my small thanks to the contribution that Dennis Richie has made to the world of computing, without his work I would have not had the C programming language, UNIX operating system and my career as a software engineer. Thanks and God bless. Wired puts the contribution he made much better than I could.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Time flies - when you're looking in the other direction!

This post is a brief moment to capture the fact that time has traveled on since the last post and at times has felt that little progress has been made. But on reflection a lot has been done.

I've busied myself in the day job working my way through various installation and user guides for Woodwing's Enterprise server and working my way through installing the software under Ubuntu and Centos 5.6, together with a number of builds of iPad Reader software and a couple of versions of Android.

Combine this with a number of evenings collaborating on updating the Wraycastle VoIP course notes, with friend and colleague John Timms.

And finally reviewing and writing up the High level design for a multi-VLAN bladed data centre environment for Sensee's new CosmoCom system.

Plus a couple of ad-hoc sessions on tele-medicine design work with Inmezzo, and I've just realized where the last 2 and half months have gone!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Discovering more about Macs

This week I've been having fun with AppleScript, it's a pretty cool Apple version of the likes of bash scripting and Windows script, with a more natural language based syntax. It works well for automating all sorts of things from applications, and the core elements of the OS X experience.

The need arose to look at a quick means of moving InDesign Plugins around as some of the plugins clash with functionality of other plugins, preventing InDesign from Starting.

I thought there ought be a quick way to make an easy program to move the files from the plugins folder to a "plugouts" folder. I started with the idea of using a command line script like a bash script, since OS X is based on Unix (or at least based on OpenStep), like most people discovering OS X and Macs in general - and with a fondness for Unix I found AppleScript was a great answer.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Living and working in an always-on always-connected world

I recently (Jan) started a daily commute to Central London, from my Suburbian utopia of Henley On Thames, this involves around 45 minutes on the train and a further 45 minutes on the tube each way. The trip gives me a mixture of time to reflect on what the day holds and what the day has held...

This journey also involves the "catching-up" on emails from a number of different client personna from the various roles I perform for my customers. Mostly I spend this time reading through emails on my X10, but since having access to an Apple iPad, I have spent more of my time using this touch screen tablet computer, which combined with the bluetooth keyboard that I bought for my X10 is proving more and more that for a small business owner and having multiple customers and identities for these customers, being "Always-on", is proving both productive and compelling!

I have the time to read the books in the form of PDFs or write emails and keep in touch with friends and collegues. Social media in the form of: Facebook, linked-in, twitter and of course IM tools like Skype.

The conclusion from this is that being always connected helps me both professionally and personally when I could be in dead time travelling.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

New Year - New Projects for Aeonvista

By chance rather than design - this New Year has brought a change to Aeonvista's usual projects in Telecoms and Network design....

An architecture and design role for iPad and soon Android applications for News International's Sunday Times Newspaper.

This has a new set of challenges from weaving though Apple's AppStore and Xcode development using Objective C, to working in a content production department.