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Thunderbolt Announcement: Why it is good for Consumers and SMBs

Intel today announced, Thunderbolt, a technology that allows a user to connect multiple devices with only one cable with a bi-directional transfer rate of 10 Gbps. Now, that is a massive speed and certainly takes the pain and guessing game away from finding the right cables to fit into their relevant slots acoss devices. Imagine a case where a PC is connected to a TV to a printer to a storage device to a phone - all with the same cable and with almost instantaneous data transfer.

It is certainly a very excitement development. However, I feel it is several years out in its full adoption, implementation and pervasiveness. In a world that is increasingly becoming wireless do we still need cables? Why would I want to stream my music or video to my TV through a cable? But no, no. I feel that wireless is becoming important but not all devices are suitable for wireless connections. Wireless transfer rates of 10 Gbps at consumer level are still far out. But would it not be nice. At my home, or even in the office, behind the TV stand or the desk are hiding plethoras of cables gathering dust. Such tangled cables are also known to be bad feng-shui.

If we understand correctly, using Thunderbolt, all the cables can be replaced in one uniform daisy chain. Would that not be nice? It would be.  But only now we are all learning the use of HDMI and probably USB 3.0 and not all devices have them. What about legacy systems that are still in use? And there are many and will remain so for many years. Especially, in the case of SMBs where devices and form factors get amassed organically with no one clear overhaul.

Nevertheless, I am rooting for the technology. However, Intel will have to move very fast to get device-makers on board. Granted it may be expensive to begin with but such pricing becomes secondary when wide adoption begins.

WiGig is also coming into play with data transfer rates of 7 Gbps and Intel is among its board members. To those who say that WiGig will win, I say, wait and watch, both Thunderbolt and WiGig will co-exist. With Apple taking the lead in the introduction of Thunderbolt it is definitely a defining moment which many will take note of, especially the eco-system that thrives around Apple.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle
  0 Comments

Will SMB Cloud Computing follow the path of Client-Server?

Techaisle believes that in about 5 year’s time, SMB Cloud Computing will begin its steady route of complexity of client-server technology. Client-server technology (alternatively server-based computing) became increasingly complex to implement and maintain because of the following reasons:

  • Lack of control

  • Complexity in development and usage

  • Muddled TCO

  • Intricacies in Data Integration

  • Expensive implementation

  • Dependency on Consultants

  • Too many Vendors providing niche solutions


Historically, these are the very reasons that  gave rise to thin-client computing which quickly transformed its nomenclature to Desktop Virtualization. Again the promise of lower TCO, “access anytime, anywhere”, centralized computing with de-centralized user capabilities, disaster recovery and standardization is still struggling to make a definitive statement for SMBs.

Similar signs are already becoming visible in the Cloud Computing arena. The beneficiaries of this complexity will be three different types of entities:

  1. Those that provide consulting to SMBs prior to Cloud Computing Implementation

  2. Those that provide consulting and data integration across clouds post cloud implementation for SMBs

  3. Those that have a stack of offerings providing not only cloud solutions but also seamless data exchange capabilities for SMBs


Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle
  0 Comments

Direct Business Relevance Critical to SMB Cloud Adoption

It should come as no surprise that marketing to SMBs is hard – harder in many ways than marketing to enterprises. The diversity and vast size of the SMB market is the primary reason for why getting and supporting SMB customers is such a hard task. Most Cloud vendors design their products with larger enterprises in mind with SMBs being an afterthought. Even if there are any SMB specific requirements that become part of the solution they are typically overshadowed by other enterprise requirements. This is a particular problem with Cloud based services which are designed to scale and so selling those to SMBs becomes a matter of configuring a price that SMBs can digest.

Little if any thought is given to whether a Cloud service has direct business relevance to SMBs. But as the Techaisle SMB computing survey data shows, vendors must demonstrate direct business relevance if they are to succeed in gaining SMB customers. Despite all the marketing around productivity and line of business Cloud services, SMB Cloud adoption is led by industry specific services. This aspect provides valuable insight into SMB decision making where Cloud services are concerned. When evaluating packaged software SMBs are more concerned with issues surrounding application compatibility, maintenance, cost, integration, training and support. It would appear, however, that this criteria changes when applications are evaluated as Cloud services. The key question appears to be how quickly can a Cloud service impact their business. This makes justifying purchase of industry specific services rather an easy one.

It is clearly not the only criteria though. The same survey shows high levels of adoption of hosted email, Cloud storage and security services. While all these have indirect business relevance in that they are foundational IT services, they are essentially a cost line item in an SMB income statement. SMBs are migrating these services to the Cloud because it is also an easy decision. SMBs are familiar with using email in the Cloud for personal reasons (Gmail, Hotmail etc.) and are therefore comfortable migrating the business email and storage to the Cloud as well. Similarly, migrating to Cloud based storage and security also are easy decisions for the same reasons.

Other services however, have not enjoyed the same success (yet). One can argue that this is simply a matter of giving SMBs time to get comfy with Cloud services. The problem as we see it is that most of the other services are marketed using a “reduce cost” value proposition. We believe a different sales and marketing approach is warranted. If reducing cost continues to be the centerpiece then for vendors this becomes a race to the bottom – which is not good for the industry as a whole.

Abhijeet Rane
Techaisle
  0 Comments

Tablet PCs and Relative Views on PC Cannibalization

Recently we conducted a survey of small businesses to understand the adoption and cannibalization of traditional PC market by iPads and thereby Tablet PCs. Keeping aside the survey results for another time, a different blog and a report – our analysts came up with a lively discussion and two opposing views.

The debate started with the topic of Versatility: Multi role of PCs VS single role of Tablet PCs. However, Tablets are gaining docking stations and full keyboards and other aspects such as cameras will find their way in as a result of natural evolution of tablets.

For PC Cannibalization View

What will drive Tablets is the following:

  • Longer battery life

  • Shift to web based apps (no client download requirements)

  • Cost in terms of power consumption

  • Windows for Tablets

  • Decreasing cost of flash storage


What will hold Tablets back:

  • Manageability, tracking

  • Corporate level security


Cannibalization should be discussed and thought of within the context of time. It will be significant in about 3-5 years. What it won’t cannibalize is the smart phone market. The problem this is going to cause is what do we call a notebook and what do we call a tablet. Apple has already announced that their notebooks going forward will resemble the new Macbook Air which will have access to the newly announced Mac AppStore and have access to the same apps that are available for iOS. Windows on ARM also means that previously Tablet specific apps will be available on traditional notebook form factors.

What we are seeing now is true convergence with the devices providing different user experiences depending upon whether they are used in a mobile context or not. One area where I do not see tablets replacing PCs is in software development.

Counter View

If Tablet PCs are given a keyboard, they then start to function like a notebook. If we look ahead, Cisco Cius, Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Avaya are not your traditional PC vendors. But more and more vendors are entering the fray and there is no stopping here. The degree of PC cannibalization will be driven by the strengths and interests of the following:

  1. Suppliers: some processor manufacturer will be interested to have the Tablet market grow

  2. New Entrants: data networking, phone companies, operators for 3/4G traffic utilization

  3. Substitute: apps, cloud, input VS consumption

  4. Customers: consumers appeal, businesses security


Cannibalization to some degree will take place and perhaps the functional substitution area is one we need to look at to determine probable size – i.e. what current functions done by PCs can be substituted by tablet PCs?

Tavishi Agrawal
Techaisle
  0 Comments

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