RFID Tightens, AnchorFree, BT's Marks, Seapine's TestTrack, Kentico, OtterBox

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David Sims
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RFID Tightens, AnchorFree, BT's Marks, Seapine's TestTrack, Kentico, OtterBox

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and it's a Friday kind of day, clearing out the odds and ends from the news wires, things a bit more wide-ranging than straight CRM, and the music, appropriately, is an iTunes all-song shuffle, first selection, The Ramones' "Rock 'n' Roll High School:"

The drop in exports has dealt a blow to the radio frequency identification market, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan, forcing manufacturers to "take drastic measures to stay afloat."
Analysis from Frost & Sullivan on the Asia Pacific RFID market finds that the market earned revenues of $569.7 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $2.17 billion in 2015, at a compound annual growth rate of 21.1 percent.
Most RFID manufacturers have tightened their budgets on technology-related investments,  the study also found, "creating further hurdles to product uptake." The high capital costs and system integration issues deter vendors and retailers, the study found: "RFID companies should not fail to justify the business return on investment in their eagerness to focus on technology," the study's authors caution.

The bright spot, evidently, for the RFID market is government, in the form of direct funding for vendor initiatives or subsidies to end users intending to adopt this technology. Frost & Sullivan's research also found that governments provide encouragement schemes in proof of concepts and pilot projects.

"The Japanese and South Korean governments have promoted extensive research in RFID to keep track of their high-valued assets," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Parul Oswal, adding that South Korea is "more aggressive than others."

There has also been increasing government sector potential for active RFID deployments in Australia, and more government-backed initiatives and deployments are expected to be rolled out in the next five years across Asia Pacific.

The study found "huge potential for newer applications," where vendors need to demonstrate the uniqueness and innovation of their systems and their ability to provide an appropriate solution to a specific problem. Other integration technologies include RFID with closed circuit television (CCTV), smart cards, biometrics, and other access control systems.

With what AnchorFree officials characterize as "growing censorship and political tensions around the world," Internet users may be interested in a free online privacy and security tool called Hotspot Shield to access the Internet "freely and safely."

The product is a free ad-supported virtual private network guaranteeing users complete privacy and security online. Available on desktop computers, laptops and iPhones, it establishes a secure tunnel between a user's computer and Internet connection, encrypting entire Web sessions to keep IP addresses protected and the user anonymous. 

This means third party Web sites and Internet Service Providers cannot block or censor Internet content. Developed in 2005, Hotspot Shield has a user base of over 7.5 million monthly, averaging almost 30 million page views per day, company officials say.

When Hotspot Shield is downloaded and enabled, all Web activity is immediately encrypted, and the user's identity becomes anonymous. 

AnchorFree Founder and CEO David Gorodyansky noted that many of their users are in countries "where individual efforts to thwart governmental censorship online have recently been thrown into the spotlight," listing the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Thailand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China.

Domestically it's used for secure Wi-Fi connections at airports, hotels or coffee shops, as well as to secure online shopping or financial transactions.

One result has been surges in traffic in frequently-banned Web sites overseas, such as Google, Orkut, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, as well as news sites such as BBC, FOX and CNN, AnchorFree officials contend.

BT announced that Kevin Marks has joined as Vice President of Web Services, reporting to JP Rangaswami, Managing Director of Service Design. Marks will be based in Mountain View at Ribbit, the company BT acquired a year ago.

Rangaswami remarked that to date, telecommunications "have typically been walled off, limiting the possibilities for innovation and choice for consumers and the enterprise," but that Marks has "a long history of pursuing open standards and an open approach to communications." 

Marks said working with BT "is an opportunity to connect the solid engineering culture of BT with the open Web standards culture of Silicon Valley... connecting the mobile and Web worlds through an open platform, and making sense of them through social software and open initiatives is an exciting prospect." Before joining BT, he was Developer Advocate for OpenSocial at Google.

The Ribbit communications platform supports a global community of 15,000-plus application developers designing voiceware applications for consumers and enterprise. 

Ted Griggs, CEO at Ribbit, noted Marks's work with Apple, Google, and Technorati. Ribbit is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT.

Seapine, a vendor of application life cycle management products, has announced the release of TestTrack RM for managing and tracking project requirements "throughout the entire development life cycle." 

Company officials say it's part of Cincinnati-based Seapine's recently-launched TestTrack 2010 product "that includes the latest versions of issue tracking and test case management applications."

Mark Shapiro, Chief Technology Officer, Segue Technologies, an IT products vendor and early adopter of TestTrack RM, said early in the specification phase "we were trying to formalize on a requirements definition process and select the best tool to employ." He said the company liked TestTrack's integration with other Seapine tools "and reasonable pricing."

TestTrack RM builds on the platform of TestTrack Pro and allows users to manage requirements definition, including planning, traceability, impact, review processes, measurement, and reporting. It also "ensures team members stay informed of each other's tasks and progress by centralizing requirements management, automating the requirements planning and review process, and triggering RSS feeds and e-mail communications," company officials say.

It has features to meet regulatory compliance requirements, including 21 CFR Part 11, Sarbanes-Oxley, and others as well.

Web content management system vendor Kentico Software has released a free Kentico CMS Connector for Microsoft SharePoint. 
Company officials say it lets business users create content on their SharePoint intranet and publish it on the public-facing Web sites powered by Kentico Web Content Management System. 

Kentico CMS lets business users create content in the SharePoint environment and publish it automatically on the public Web sites, instead of duplicating content in several applications. It's a good workaround for the lack of Web Content Management features of Microsoft SharePoint, and to simplify the publishing workflow as well.

Indeed, getting Microsoft SharePoint "leaves many organizations in a difficult situation," Czech Republic-based Kentico officials say, since "SharePoint doesn't provide a complete tool for public-facing Web sites," and have to manage their online content in other systems. 
"While SharePoint was designed for intranets, Kentico CMS for ASP.NET provides a method for public-facing Web sites," says Petr Palas, Kentico CEO. "If a marketing manager wants to publish news, she may need to get it approved by several people. Now, she can do everything in SharePoint and automatically publish content on the public site."

Kentico CMS Connector works with both Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0. Company officials say clients include Microsoft, Vodafone, Audi, Samsung, Gibson, Bayer, ESPN, Guinness, Medibank, Ireland.ie and others.

OtterBox has announced two products for the BlackBerry Tour smartphone, company officials say, enabling device accessibility "right through the case."
The company's offering "simple, silicone protection," and we'll thank you to keep your sophomoric jokes to yourself, you, with the Impact Series, and "more rugged, durable protection with the three-layer Defender Series.
Inner coring provides "drop and shock protection and a self-adhering screen protector safeguards from scratches," company officials say, adding that this does not protect against water.

"Keeping your life organized can get overwhelming with phone calls, e-mails, meetings and appointments," OtterBox officials say, noting that with the OtterBox Impact Series case, "you can maintain peace of mind knowing your smartphone is safe." Always nice to have one less thing to worry about, isn't it?

The Defender Series has three shielding layers -- a clear polycarbonate window for scratching and dust intrusion, a "high-impact polycarbonate shell" and a silicone skin wrapping over the device to absorb bump and shock. Again, OtterBox officials say, this is not intended for water protection.

Yes, of course volume, trackball, convenience keys, camera, mute button, speakers and the micro USB port all remain accessible through the case.

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