|By Adrian Bridgwater||
|December 27, 2006 05:30 AM EST||
Adobe staged its MAX 2006 developer and customer conference under the theme "Beyond Boundaries" to showcase the company's emerging technologies and provide a glimpse of future innovations. Adrian Bridgwater attended to drink it all in.
Adobe's MAX 2006 event was held at The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from the 23rd to the 26th of October - the company's first event of this kind since joining forces with Macromedia. Adobe's focus was directed at highlighting the newest breed of rich applications and what it likes to call "engaging content and experiences" under the banner of its next-generation technology.
Described by Adobe as a chance for its community of developers and customers to reinvent the future of the Internet and design in virtually every medium, MAX 2006 was billed as both a milestone in the integration of Adobe and Macromedia and a reflection of what's possible when all these creative forces come together.
Typical to large-scale events of this kind, MAX 2006 featured over 100 workshops and hands-on sessions. The event included technical support labs, partner exhibits, certification programs, birds-of-a-feather networking events and presentations from industry experts as well as in-depth technical sessions that covered a range of Adobe products and solutions.
In addition to the various certification programs it supports, it's encouraging to see a company like Adobe engendering a vibrant level of shared participation in technology among the developer community. The Acrobat User Community (you can sign up at www.acrobatusers.com) has over 5000 users and is growing strong. Spread over 75 countries, the site's users benefit from blogs, news, articles, tips and tutorials. The Web site, Adobe says, is a gathering place where developers can share and exchange ideas and tap into the broad expertise that characterizes the Acrobat community. And most important of all is the long-established Adobe Developer Center (developer.adobe.com), which hosts blogs, articles, tutorials, SDKs, and sample applications, attracting thousands of users every day. The Adobe developer community contributes a large percentage of this content, which makes the Developer Center the "face" of the community.
Adobe held pre-conference sessions for both delegates and press. The press sessions were well presented and the speakers themselves were keen to insist on "interactive" meetings with as many questions as possible. Adobe is far more open than the likes of Apple or Intel - and sets realistic goals in areas where "ubiquitous mass market roll out" (a term it is especially fond of!) of its technologies is still some way off.
The Mobile/Devices Perspective
In mobile, Adobe continues to leverage relationships with handset manufacturers, operators and content aggregators to offer developer communities the fully-integrated technologies necessary to deliver what it calls "breakthrough mobile experiences."
Adobe's mobile and devices guru Anup Murarka gave us an insight into the company's work in the mobile space. He explained that Flash and PDF deployment has proliferated in Asia mainly due to the specific alignment with the mobile phone market - but that increasing growth is starting to show in Europe and the USA. "Deployment of Flash has probably grown more than any other mobile technology in the world over the last three years," said Murarka.
- Over 150 mobile devices have now been certified to utilize Flash Lite. Many more are expected in the coming twelve months.
- 210,000 registered users have signed up for Adobe's mobile developer program and this number is expected to mushroom with newly announced handset support for the USA.
- Flash is increasingly being used to deploy the complete UI for new phones...
Adobe's partnerships with mobile media publishers who include Flash Lite software in product portfolios present developers with additional opportunities to commercialize Flash mobile content. Also interesting is Flash Cast, originally from the Macromedia side of the bed; this is a flexible client-server solution that effectively delivers rich, intuitive, branded mobile data experiences. Server-hosted broadcasts push content to the phone such as stocks and shares data, your favourite television channel schedule or even games. With content developed in Flash, it could also be used to connect to RSS feeds and download content that has been reformatted for phones.
"This is the kind of rich experience that changed the way the way the Web worked - and now we see that happening in mobile," said Muraka. As yet, NTT DoCoMo is the only company to have made significant headway with this technology. That said, more than two million mobile phone subscribers have signed up for NTT DoCoMo's i-channel news and information delivery service since it was launched in Japan last September.
"We have been astonished by the unprecedented success of i-channel, which proves that consumers embrace data services when they are automatically delivered and presented in a compelling and interactive way," said Takeshi Natsuno, senior vice president at NTT DoCoMo.
In terms of strategy, Adobe's Flash Player technology is installed on over 700 million Internet connected desktops and mobile devices worldwide and it is aiming to see the same level of mass ubiquity on mobile phones. The recently announced acquisition of vector graphics technology developed by Actimagine will help considerably in reaching mass ubiquity on mobile phones.
So mobile is crucial, then. "Flexible user interfaces are a key differentiator and a significant part of the value creation on devices," said John Jackson, senior analyst at Yankee Group, in a statement issued by Adobe. "Flash Lite 2 and Flash Player SDK 7 expand vendors' and operators' U/I options and open the mobile market to a broader base of content and prolific developers."
Day One Keynote
The morning of the keynote came - and we were colorfully awakened by an intro from the Blue Man Group (who by no coincidence play at the Venetian). Adobe president and chief operating officer Shantanu Narayen welcomed an extremely enthusiastic crowd still whooping from the shock of seeing plastic blue men playing rock music at 8:30 in the morning.
Narayen described the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe as having been rather like any other traditional marriage: the respective chiefs first went into a period of "dating" before the deal was finally sealed. It's true to say, this has been one of the better-received examples of the industry coming together. Not just because the number of employees affected was relatively small (compared to say, the HP-Compaq scenario) - but also because the reaction from users was almost completely positive given the synergy the two companies shared and the opportunity it presented for a better set of tools to soon be developed.
At a high level, the keynote presentations were projected not only to present working examples of emerging Adobe technologies, but also to set the scene for the company's "Apollo" project, which continues to generate pre-release interest among developers and businesses due to its promise to extend the reach and capabilities of today's rich Internet applications, freeing them to run outside of the browser, across multiple operating systems on desktops and devices.
Adobe plans to invest approximately US$100 million in venture capital over the next three to five years in companies leveraging Adobe platform technologies, particularly companies delivering applications via Apollo, as part of Adobe's commitment to building an ecosystem for what it terms the Adobe Engagement Platform.
Narayen closed by introducing the hugely popular Ben Forta, who presented a portion of the keynote. Forta, Adobe's senior technical evangelist, is the author of books on ColdFusion, SQL, Windows 2000, JSP, WAP, Regular Expressions and more. His work emphasis is on Adobe's application server and software development framework ColdFusion as he strives to provide feedback to help shape the future direction of the product. His personal Web site is listed at the end of this feature and is a must-read for self-confessed geeks of all shapes and sizes.
Also making a splash at this year's event (and featuring up front in the keynote) was news of Adobe Digital Editions, a rich Internet application (RIA) built from the ground up for digital publishing. With native support for PDF as well as an XHTML-based reflow-centric publication format, Digital Editions promises to deliver an engaging way to acquire, read and manage content, including eBooks, digital magazines, digital newspapers and other digital publications.
Initially available as a free public beta for Windows, Digital Editions will support Macintosh systems as a universal binary application, Linux platforms, as well as mobile phones and other embedded devices in future versions.
"Adobe Digital Editions builds on the ubiquitous reach of PDF and Flash and will further energize the eBook and digital publishing market," said Narayen. "By creating a specialized, consumer-friendly application like this, Adobe is ensuring publishers can securely deliver high-impact content to the widest possible audience, across hardware platforms, operating systems and devices."
This is Adobe's first Flex 2.0 application to go commercial and, as Bill McCoy puts it, "Digital publishing has reached a tipping point." McCoy is general manager of the company's ePublishing business and in a later breakout session he explained why consumers are now demanding electronic delivery of data that was previously only published in print data in this way. His justifications included the following points:
- Public libraries are now lending out eBooks.
- Textbooks in eBook format are now being used in education.
- eBooks have been embraced by well-known technical publishers such as O'Reilly.
- Young people are demanding that their content be delivered digitally.
- ePublishing brings with it new capabilities such as on-demand, portability, searchability, etc.
- Sales of laptops and other devices with improved ergonomics are now far outstripping PCs.
Digital Editions' support for Flash SWF will enable new levels of interactivity and rich media delivery, McCoy notes. The Digital Editions beta includes integration with Adobe Acrobat 8 and Reader 8, which can install and launch Digital Editions from within their user interface.
Why hasn't ePublishing mushroomed before now, I asked McCoy. "Consumers and content publishers still suffer from format confusion," he replied. Other factors include client software, digital rights management hassles, inordinate costs and Web browser limitations, he added.
"As a result, a whole host of proprietary formats has sprung up (at least a dozen) so that the authoring tools the publishers use could not viably work commercially up until this point," McCoy continued.
Digital Editions aims to rectify this problem as it assures content portability and is lightweight as well as being both consumer-optimized and content-centric rather than application-experience-centric. (As a sidenote, Adobe InDesign will be augmented to embrace and support this technology.)
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Oct. 21, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,212
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
Oct. 21, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 192
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 11,109
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,355
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,568
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Oct. 21, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,724
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Oct. 21, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,274
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service.
Oct. 21, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 868
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Oct. 21, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,784
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Oct. 21, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,633
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
Oct. 21, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,043
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Oct. 21, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,930
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Oct. 21, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,071
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Oct. 21, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,714
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Oct. 21, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 10,931
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Oct. 21, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,856
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Oct. 21, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,652
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Oct. 21, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,908
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
Oct. 21, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 890
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
Oct. 21, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,914