OSS Study, IPhone Apps, Bango's WiFi, Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, Boomi Widgets, Tpad

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David Sims
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OSS Study, IPhone Apps, Bango's WiFi, Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, Boomi Widgets, Tpad

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the first song to come up on the iTunes shuffle of the thousands upon thousands of songs here on the official First Coffee playlist... it is... "The Equaliser" by The Clash from their glorious, sprawling freeway crash of an album, Sandinista!:

Worldwide revenue from open source software will grow at a 22.4 percent compound annual growth rate to reach $8.1 billion by 2013, according to a recent IDC study.

The attentive reader will notice that this forecast is "considerably higher" than 2008. IDC officials give three reasons for that: One, the bottom-up list used to calculate the revenue has expanded through an effort to include more projects in the forecast. Secondly, open source software "has had a much higher level of acceptance over the past 12 months than previously expected," IDC officials say, and finally, the economy accelerated the uptake and use of open source software in the closing months of 2008.

Translation: When the economy goes south, folks look for cheaper alternatives.

The study also finds that hybrid business models seem to be increasing. IDC officials say it is "likely" that this will end up as "the most prevalent business model, with on-premise vendors adding SaaS, SaaS vendors offering on premise, OSS vendors selling variants," as well as closed source vendors offering more OSS.

"The open source software market has seen a strong boost from the current economic crisis," agrees Michael Fauscette, group vice president, Software Business Solutions. Fauscette thinks if OSS vendors play their cards right they could turn a windfall situation into a permanent business advantage: "As the overall software industry continues to consolidate, it will be key for OSS vendors to reach scale if they plan to continue as a standalone business."

The study also finds large software vendors like IBM, Sun, Dell, HP, and Oracle making "significant amounts" of indirect revenue from their activities with and support of OSS: "This has greatly aided mainstream adoption and acceptance of OSS," IDC officials note.

Smartphones represent the fastest growing mobile phone segment, as 38.1 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2009 according to Gartner. And you don't need First Coffee to tell you the iPhone dominates the smart phone market, but guess how many iPhone apps there are? Yep -- well over 65,000.

Everybody's churning out iPhone apps, either as a way to turn a buck in tough times or just get their name out there. It may simply be coincidental timing, but the popularity of iPhone apps is at an all-time high in these here hard(er) times. And the market isn't drying up anytime soon -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced last quarter that 5.2 million iPhones were sold, a 626 percent increase from a year ago.

IPhoneAppQuotes.com ("where new apps are born every day," according to company officials) is on top of things, and according to their tallies, medical, education, business and book applications are the most popular development requests.

A bit surprisingly, to First Coffee anyway, requests for game iPhone application development dropped by roughly 10 percent and the development of new music applications are in "steep decline," the study finds. Less surprisingly "the initiation of new weather, sports and photography have slowed to a near standstill." Well, naturally -- how many sports score trackers do we really need?

Other tidbits:

In the first quarter of 2009, there was a 50 / 50 split between business versus consumer application request for development.

In the second quarter, business applications have increased by 30 percent, resulting in a 70/30 split.

Request for quotes to develop new iPhone applications are up 20 percent from May to June 2009.

Apple has announced there are now over 100,000 registered iPhone app developers.

"Business apps are proving to be the most popular category of apps as entrepreneurs and small businesses realize the marketing and additional revenue stream potential the iPhone creates," says Gregg Weiss, founder of iPhoneAppQuotes.com, adding that apps "are now available in 77 countries." But iPhoneAppQuotes.com is open to only U.S. based companies.

Bango, a mobile payment and analytics company, has announced Wi-Fi enabled operator billing for smartphones.

It's Bango's contention that mobile operator payments deliver more successful transactions than traditional payment methods, but as company officials note, "mobile content revenues have been impacted by the increasing popularity of smartphones, such as Blackberry and iPhone." Until now smartphone users were redirected to credit card payment instead of placing charges on their phone bill, leading to lost sales and lower conversion rates.

Evidently the issue is that given these devices' ability to connect to the Web through Wi-Fi, operator billing that normally relies on traffic coming through operator gateways isn't available, making it a bit more difficult for consumers to buy content: Bango officials quote Satoshi Asari, Director of Product Marketing at Monotype Imaging, saying that last month, fully "36 percent of our FlipFont.mobi traffic was recorded as coming from Symbian Series 60 handsets via Wi-Fi and other non-operator connections."

So Bango's pushing technology for operator on-bill payment for mobile phones, "even when consumers connect through Wi-Fi."

"An increasing number of our customers are using smartphones and connect via Wi-Fi to access mobile content," says Mark Curtis, CEO of Flirtomatic. Yes, that's right, Flirtomatic. First Coffee doesn't know either, but will find out in the name of professional research soon enough.

Bear in mind, too, friends, the stat cited above: Smartphones represent the fastest growing mobile phone segment, as 38.1 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2009.

When New York City's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex (Motto: "Cleveland? How Did That Happen?") opened last November, Sennheiser's guidePORT was the chosen technology to deliver the audio experience.

Sennheiser officials said this was "only fitting." Really? Why? Did Mick Jagger used to work for them or something?

This summer Sennheiser is introducing the Sennheiser Sound Tour, described by company officials as "a highly creative, guerrilla-marketing campaign" designed to "increase the German manufacturer's brand awareness among consumers."

The Sennheiser Sound Tour uses a combination of "unconventional avenues and social media channels" to reach headphone consumers, a market which evidently includes "music enthusiasts, online gamers, multimedia artists and musicians," according to Sennheiser officials.

Sennheiser's microphones and audio products are evidently endorsed by "stars like Seal, Madonna, Sting and others," according to Sennheiser officials. The company will host two consumer engagement events at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC on July 31st and August 1st between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The events will include a first-hand look at the "technology behind the tour," a photo op with "the original, highly customized microphones used by the American Idol finalists and a chance to meet and "interact with" the Sennheiser Sound Tour "Girls Team," who will be on hand offering product demonstrations, rebates and what company officials describe as "incentives" on Sennheiser Headphones.

Boomi, a vendor of on-demand integration technology, has announced the availability of integration Widgets for SaaS-to-SaaS and SaaS-to-On-premise integration of common business applications.

They're aimed at businesses "with application-specific integration needs," looking to deploy integration Widgets "without the burden of coding, data mapping or configuring for firewall issues." Once deployed, company officials say, Boomi Widgets update and synchronize applications every few minutes.

No, pre-built integration processes are not, in fact, a new concept in the industry, but Boomi officials say theirs can be customized by the end-user at the time of deployment -- by technophobe doofuses, no less: "Boomi Widgets allow non-technical end-users to customize and deploy these productized integrations in minutes via menu-driven wizards."

Laurie McCabe, Partner, Hurwitz and Associates, says business users with "limited or no technical skills" can connect common SaaS and on-premise applications "with just a few mouse clicks." Bob Moul, CEO of Boomi, modestly called the product "the Holy Grail of integration that people have been trying to solve for decades."

Boomi officials say that independent software vendors, system integrators and developers can also build and embed productized integration processes themselves without being dependent on an integration vendor for development and maintenance, "generating competitive advantage over applications that rely on separate, third-party integration products."

Boomi Widgets "allow us to essentially productize our intellectual property and enhance our competitive advantage," says Deborah Brook, CEO of WDCi, a systems integration consultancy based in Sydney.

Boomi officials say the company has added more than 100 customers from January to June 2009 and doubled its growth rate from 2008. The company created AtomSphere, an integration platform-as-a-service.

Operating on what company officials say is "the major challenge facing small and medium-sized enterprise today," that of "remaining viable in an increasingly competitive marketplace," Britain's Tpad officials are pitching their hosted IP PBX service as a way to provide better customer satisfaction.

Tpad's hosted IP PBX services are "geared provide flexibility in the way companies can access and use communication services," company officials say, adding that this not only "reduces the response time to clients, but increases the level of productivity organization wide, whether the employees are stationary in the office or mobile, working from a remote location." The phone system is monitored with around the clock and supported by a server room.
New software features are added to call management software "the moment they become available," company officials say, "removing the anxiety of large capital equipment upgrades as the communication needs of your business evolves. There are no hidden charges or fees, you simply select the extensions you need to add to your current system and pay accordingly."

Steve Smart, Managing Director of Tpad, pointed out the "portability" of the system as another advantage: "With traditional PSTN numbers, if your company changed locations you would be unable to keep the same telephone number. The hosted IP/PBX system from Tpad provides you with a Personal Number or Extension that is not tied to your geographic location."

The system works with Wi-Fi mobile phones, soft phones and ATAs. The company is headquartered in the UK with offices in the United Arab Emirates.

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