Archive for Business

Transportation, Manufacturing and Twittering Things

Having spent some time recently at the interesting convergence of people and vehicles known as AltWheels, I’m wondering how transportation and local manufacturing will mesh. A great deal of  our transportation infrastructure deals with moving goods from centralized factories to distribution centers, retail outlets and consumers. Some think a radical decentralization of this existing process will be too inefficient, but I’m old enough to remember personal computers being seen as inadequate for the serious work of mainframe computers. It took about a decade for personal computers to supplant mainframes for new application development. Most of the mainframe companies were acquired or went under. Today, IBM has a thriving mainframe business, albeit one that runs Linux, an operating system designed for personal computers.

As with information systems, transportation systems are deeply intertwined with human activities so the most significant opportunities for improvements tend to  stem from process reengineering. IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative recognizes the need to rethink existing processes:

Traffic systems are part of a larger system

Rethinking how we get from point A to point B means applying new technology and new policies to old assumptions and habits. It means improving the drivers’ experience, not just where and when they drive. And it could lead to advances in the cars we drive, the roads we drive them on, and the public transit we might take instead.

and their blog also has a Transportation category. Often the most significant barrier to process improvement is that people don’t recognize some of the terrain they are acting in and can’t align themselves with other participants in their ecosystem. Clearly, social networking is helping to break down these barriers – Twittering Things will only accelerate the evolution.

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CNBC Videos on Social Networking for Business

Social Climbing, a 5-part series of short and generally informative videos looking at the business impact of social networking is worth viewing. There doesn’t seem to be a single page where all the segments are linked so I decided to post them here.

  1. The Power of Social Networking
  2. Companies Look To Facebook To Reach Consumers
  3. The New Definition of Networking
  4. Twitter: Popularity to Profitability
  5. Social Networking Goes Mainstream

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Leveraging Twitter for Business

ReadWriteWeb has a good review of Twitter’s recently launched Twitter 101 site. The review is short but if you really want to cut to the chase, see their recommended links to best practices and real life case studies. There’s more Twitter-for-business tips on the Groundswell blog which was mentioned here on the MJ recently in Leveraging Social Networks for Businesses.

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Leveraging Social Networks for Businesses

Facebook has been getting a lot of press but with the Wall Street Journal report that Oprah will interview Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today,  a significant threshhold has been reached. When a broad segment of the public starts to perceive a technology as suitable for “business” a period of rapid growth typically follows. This shift in perception has been building up over the past two years and is following the same pattern as a long line of technologies like the PC, web browser, and blogs. Now is the time for businesses small and large are trying to learn how to leverage the new technology before they lose out to competitors who got a quicker and/or smarter start.

One good place to begin is Forrester’s blog for their book groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies where you’ll find general guidelines along with specific tips and examples on how to use social tools like Twitter. Experience is the best teacher so I recommend taking a free look at business oriented social networking tools such as Facebook’s Pages, IBM’s LotusLive or Socialcast.

Additional Links:

NY Times Small Business: Be It Twitter or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing

How And Why To Launch A Business Presence On Twitter

Facebook Puts On A Business Friendlier Face

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Tribal Mesh: Why Business and Military Leaders Are Adopting Facebook

A few quick thoughts and links on an important meshverse topic. Studies by the Center for Strategic and International Studies have shown that:

a large group of digitally connected individuals will usually be smarter than a small group of individuals collected in one place The Digital Network Advantage

In Tribes: We Need, You Lead, marketing guru Seth Godin points out the opportunities for leadership afforded by technologies that allow our age-old tribal instincts to operate beyond geographic bounds. John Robb calls for a return to Tribal organization has more on tribes and lots of 411 on how military orgs(friend and foe) are leveraging networks.

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Business Week's CEO Guide to 3D Computing

In Business Week’s CEO Guide to 3D Computing there are many topics covered previously here in the MJ. What follows are a few which you should be able to find MJ links for by using the search box in the upper right:

No longer just the stuff of Hollywood movies and Silicon Valley video games, 3D technology is changing the way people do business everywhere. Consider Lori Coulter, a women’s swimsuit designer inside the Macy’s (M) at the Chesterfield Mall about 30 miles west of St. Louis.

Lori Coulter clients needn’t try on piles of swimsuits amid unflattering fluorescent lights in a cramped dressing room. Instead, they discreetly step into a room where the shop uses a scanner to take 140 measurements in less than a minute, then uploads them to a computer, which builds a 3D image and suggests an array of figure-flattering styles. The client chooses a style and pattern, and within as few as three days a custom-made swimsuit is ready to wear.

Lori Coulter is one of the scores of businesses that are being transformed by technology that lets you build and manipulate computerized three-dimensional models. “What we’re seeing increasingly is the greater use of computer simulations,” says Boyd Davis, a marketing director at Intel

A typical workstation based on two Intel Xeon processors delivers computing performance roughly equivalent to the fastest supercomputer in the world in 1993, according to Intel.

While some within the fashion industry are just now warming to 3D technology, Coulter built her business around it. When she was studying at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis in the late 1990s, she wrote a paper about how new technologies were revolutionizing the retail industry

3D Imaging Spreads to Fashion and Beyond

Read the rest of this entry »

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Business Week’s CEO Guide to 3D Computing

In Business Week’s CEO Guide to 3D Computing there are many topics covered previously here in the MJ. What follows are a few which you should be able to find MJ links for by using the search box in the upper right:

No longer just the stuff of Hollywood movies and Silicon Valley video games, 3D technology is changing the way people do business everywhere. Consider Lori Coulter, a women’s swimsuit designer inside the Macy’s (M) at the Chesterfield Mall about 30 miles west of St. Louis.

Lori Coulter clients needn’t try on piles of swimsuits amid unflattering fluorescent lights in a cramped dressing room. Instead, they discreetly step into a room where the shop uses a scanner to take 140 measurements in less than a minute, then uploads them to a computer, which builds a 3D image and suggests an array of figure-flattering styles. The client chooses a style and pattern, and within as few as three days a custom-made swimsuit is ready to wear.

Lori Coulter is one of the scores of businesses that are being transformed by technology that lets you build and manipulate computerized three-dimensional models. “What we’re seeing increasingly is the greater use of computer simulations,” says Boyd Davis, a marketing director at Intel

A typical workstation based on two Intel Xeon processors delivers computing performance roughly equivalent to the fastest supercomputer in the world in 1993, according to Intel.

While some within the fashion industry are just now warming to 3D technology, Coulter built her business around it. When she was studying at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis in the late 1990s, she wrote a paper about how new technologies were revolutionizing the retail industry

3D Imaging Spreads to Fashion and Beyond

Read the rest of this entry »

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