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  • Is the iPad the best thing for Microsoft & what does it mean for enterprise IT?

    Below is an article I just wrote for my current employer MSC Mobility.

    Last week finally saw the arrival of Microsoft Office on the iPad. Big deal? Yes a very big deal.

    The last few years have seen many Office competitors born, acquired and some go on to become very successful. Documents To Go by Dataviz was the name that started it all in mobile office editors and was so popular on BlackBerry that RIM acquired Dataviz in 2010. At that stage Docs To Go was also one of the leading iPad Office editing offerings on the market which made this acquisition an interesting one as RIM was searching for an answer to consumerisation. Not to be left out Google acquired QuickOffice in 2012 with the aim of making the online Google Apps suite of products connect with mobile devices more natively. Citrix acquired Byte Squared (Makers of Office2 ) in 2013 to integrate with their ShareFile product to offer secure mobile editing end to end, and throughout all of this Polaris Office had been shipping on Samsung devices since 2011. Apple decided to get serious in 2013 offering free Pages, Keynote and Numbers with any new iPad or iPhone purchase.

     

    So is there a market for Office editing on iPad? Absolutely yes. Has anyone taken the lead position? Absolutely not.

     

    Unfortunately no product to date has been able to format (render) an Office document correctly 100% of the time. On countless occasions I have seen many weird and wonderful wonky representations of Excel charts, PowerPoint presentations and Word documents. Just recently I opened MSC’s monthly numbers that were emailed to me on an Android Tablet with the latest version of Polaris Office and was so convinced that the sender had sent the wrong sheet out I asked them to re check it and send again. Polaris Office had completely transposed the numbers and the chart was trending down not up. Imagine a board meeting with company projections heading in the wrong direction because the software screwed it up. Disastrous. Due this this ongoing inadequacy we have seen ‘rendering offerings’ come to the market. Two worthy of calling out are SlideShark which renders PowerPoint perfectly in iPad or iPhone via some sneaky magic on the server and NetApp Connect (formally ionGrid Stratos) which renders all of the Microsoft Office suite perfectly on an iPad. Once again this is via some server side coding to make up for the poor job done by native iPad formatting. The 3rd alternative is to use a remote access service such as, Citrix or CloudOn as 2 examples. These fix the formatting issues but come with a raft of their own issues around usability such as right click options and performance over the WAN.

     

    So with Microsoft finally turning up for the game on iPad are all of these now B or C grade at best? Will you still be happy with that table of contents that is all out of whack, an image that is in the wrong spot or Excel chart that you are just not sure is correct? Would you still buy a 3rd party app knowing that Microsoft Office is available for free for viewing only?

     

    My hat goes off to Microsoft for their execution of version 1 of Office on iPad. A great easy to use client that focuses on the core needs of a mobile user and that will continue to get better over time. Most importantly pixel perfect formatting of the entire Office suite. No more doubting the software.

     

    It is however the backend that I am more interested in which seems a bit strange given the points raised. As we saw with the iPad coming in from the top of the enterprise down will this move by Microsoft spur the largest and fastest take-up of a new version of Office in the enterprise in history? I think it will.

     

    e-mail archivierung in office 365.jpg

    I am picturing C level execs in a board meeting comparing notes on their iPads and observing an exec with iPad Office and more importantly Office 365 to support the editing of documents showing the other C level execs how ‘cool it is’. In other words the leaders of the enterprise selling to other leaders. The consumerisation of IT at its best. These executives will undoubtedly go back to their organisations and ask, ‘When are we moving to Office 365. I want it.’ Just like they did in the early days of what I called the ‘iFad era’ where we saw PA’s of executives from government and enterprise lining up to purchase the latest iPad on launch day, just because.

     

    So back to the title of this article, ‘Is the iPad the best thing for Microsoft’. Absolutely it is. I believe we will look back on 2014 and attribute Office arriving on the iPad as being one of the major compelling reasons that Office 365 became the fastest adopted Office upgrade by the enterprise in history and as such lead the transition of Microsoft from a legacy software licencing vendor to a major cloud, services and subscription player. With a new leader at the helm of Microsoft, this is a win for Apple, and a win for Microsoft a win for iPad users everywhere.

     

    Go to www.appstore.com/microsoftoffice from your iPad to test it out for yourself.


    … AND JUST 10 DAYS LATER.

    Wow my predictions don’t usually come true this fast but here it is http://mdm.sc/1qjQFiO The Queensland Government looks like they are the 1st state government to jump on the Office 365 bandwagon.  Who will be next?

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  • conditions
  • iPad and iPhone mirroring on PC not mac.

     

     

    AirServer – The saviour at last.

    As someone who constantly needs to show iOS apps to prospects I run into times where I need to do it remotley.  Up until this app I have had to show my ipad or iphone via video (webcam or similar) showing the screen or jailbreaking the device to run 3rd party apps that can show the screen.  Neither of these have been ideal.

    Alas no longer is this the case.  I can now show my iPad and iPhone srceen remotely via webex (we use Join.me) and most importantly for me on a PC not on a Mac.  The best bit… it just works great.

    Thank-you very much AirServer Team.

    Get a free copy and try it out for yourself.

    http://www.airserverapp.com/en/Download/Referrer/60398

     

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  • copyright
  • what will your next device look like

     

    It’s always quite interesting to look at the changes that have occurred all rolled up together.  Amazing how far we have come in such a short time and where we will end up in a few years more.

    I cant wait for the next generation of apps that support multicore processing to kick in.  This + fast networks like 4G and beyond will change the game yet again.

    Enjoy.

     

    Symphony Teleca gathered up various data points and technologies in this infographic that helps explain what features to expect.

     
  • language
  • Siri vs Watson – a modern day battle of the sexes

    Watson vs Siri – A natural language showdown.  The ultimate battle of the sexes

    Having now had some time to use and digest the capabilities of Apples integration of Siri into it’s new iPhone 4S and previously having understood the capabilities of Watson from IBM I thought it was timely to look as what is becoming the new battlefield of voice recognition.

    Mobile voice recognition has been around for a long time.  I recall using it back on Windows Mobile 5 many years ago now.  Some implementations required you to record the voice tag to the contact and then it simply matched the tag and applied the action.  Soon after the need for the voice tag was removed and the software looked up the contact or activity via speech to text translation.  This type of voice interaction (ie: Call Randall, open email etc.) is basically dumb voice matching and should not be compared to a natural language engine like Siri or Watson.

    What is natural language

    The first place to start is to watch this video of IBM’s Watson in action.

    Quite amazing right?  Less than a year after Watsons public debut he now has his first job.   The first Watson deployment will be with WellPoint nurses who manage complex patient cases and review treatment requests from medical providers.   Imagine Watson listening in the background in every doctors consultation room throughout the world.  I feel a bit weezy, and crook (Aussie slang for sick) or I feel tight and gunky in the chest.  Watson needs to work out what the person is actually saying and learn from it.  What is the context of weezy, what does crook mean and how does gunky relate to chest and tight?  Simple for us mere humans but a real challenge for a computer and some software to actually ‘understand’.

    So lets leap forward 10 years.  Watson is sitting in the corner and listening to 1000’s of conversations and doctors diagnosis of those conversations.  After the doctor diagnoses your condition he turns to Watson and says.  Watson do you agree?  He reply’s with based on the information provided I estimate with 89% accuracy that you are correct.   Rolling up all the info outbreaks of disease could be isolated and contained faster than ever.  This really is ground breaking technology.

    Coming out swinging from the other corner is Apple’s Siri.  With its consumer focused deployment on millions of iPhones it is basically the opposite approach to IBM’s Watson.  Siri in a lot of ways is similar in architecture in that it sends all voice commands back to the mother ship for diagnosis and translation and then delivers the result back to the phone.  So with millions and millions of requests coming in each day can Siri learn faster that Watson?  Will it become the platform of choice?  Will consumerisation win the war.  Sell to the consumer and let them take it to work then let the enterprise work out how to support it vs Sell it to the enterprise approach of IBM.  Apples approach certainly seems to be working for them at present with iOS penetration into the enterprise at an all time high.  Can they caplitalise on this and sell server software with Siri to enterprise customers or will they keep the secret sauce to themselves to sell more Apple devices?

    Interesting times ahead.

     
  • marketing
  • Going Social with f commerce

    Thought it was time to take the facebook plunge and put up a social shop to see if I can sell some more ski tuning tools   Have a look at page  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ski-Snowboard-Tuning-Tools/172419312847414  and let me know what you think.

    The big question is… is facebook ready for commerce.  Some are calling if ‘F Commerce’ rather than e-commerce.  Time will tell.

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  • Apple iOS to update over the air (OTA)

     

     

    If this article/rumour is in fact true this will be a fantastic addition to the iOS platform.  As enterprise customers continue to roll out iOS devices driven by the consumerisation of technology this change will be very very welcome.

    I am in 2 minds about if this is true or not as it will be a major underlying code change for Apple to do this.  Currently Apple ship the whole OS for each patch rather than just cumulative updates like many software vendors (Microsoft, Adobe etc.) to add new features and fix bugs.  This is the same on OSX.  From a programming point of view this keeps it all pretty clean (no patches ontop of patches etc.) but from a consumer point of view you need to download big lumps anytime something changes.  Take the ios 4.3.3 update last week as an example.  Over 600Mb to change a few tracking setting that probably represented less than 1Mb in code changes.  Big lumps might be ok for a wired world (why Apple makes you connect to iTunes to do it) but in a wireless world this is not really achievable yet.

    I hope they do make this change to help support many hundreds or thousands of iOS devices in an enterprise deployments and to keep them up to date without having to come back to base.  Does this mean they will also change the way OSX updates?

    Read the full article at

    http://www.9to5mac.com/64928/apple-and-verizon-to-deliver-over-the-air-ios-updates-to-verizon-iphone/

     

     

     
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