Friday, November 22, 2013

Hear the news – it’s all about great storytelling!

I have been following InkaBinka since the beginning of this year and now there are folks within HP, too, that see plenty of opportunities as we all become newscasters. “Capturing your world!” could involve us all and NonStop may very well be involved … 

To the dismay of many, Margo and I drove from Boulder, Colorado, to Orlando, Florida. What were we thinking? After road trips for business to Atlanta, Georgia, to Mississauga, Canada, and then the extended travel we did while in Australia, you would have thought a 2,000 plus mile trip to sunny Florida would be a bit much – but we love the travel. The picture above was taken of Margo and me after making a detour to Daytona Beach for lunch, Sunday. 

We have checked in to one of Disney’s kingdoms specifically, Magic Kingdom; looking down on this fantasy world from high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. When you enter Disney, the “wonderful world of meetings” that is, there’s a tag line displayed on their folios – “the secret of an inspiring meeting is great storytelling”, and for someone who makes a living writing, nothing could be closer to the truth. The meeting we are attending is for the medical community, but for the NonStop community, it should evoke memories of the past as this association is headed by none other than ITUG’s former Executive Director, Jon Lindberg.

In an opinion column published in the November 12, 2013, edition of USA Today, under the headline of “Modern Journalism Fails Taste Test” – a testament to just how good a job Walter Cronkite did many years ago – reporters, Timothy M. Gay and Susan Bennett, bemoan the shoddy news reporting of late. “Too often in today’s tragedies, stories are triggered by social media hearsay and unconfirmed chatter on police scanners”, they wrote. “Today’s journalists need to renew their vow to get it right – from the first.” Unfortunately, here’s the problem: increasingly we are relying less and less on newscasters, even as they try harder to impress; when it comes to forming opinions on any topic, we check the details ourselves and usually follow a small cadre of acquaintances, whose views we share.

Readers of this blog should by now be familiar with InkaBinka and its founder, Kevin McGushion. I have covered the company and its founder in previous posts, including my post Ideas! Innovations! Will we keep on inventing? , as well as Margo’s commentary in her post Comes the revolution . Since introducing InkaBinka to the NonStop community the product has come a long way and now has the attention of HP.

However, it was a comment made by Kevin during my last conversation with him that hit a nerve – “we trust newscaster less and less these days so why not create our own channel using InkaBinka, express our own preferences and opinions and follow those whose observations which pass your own taste test! Add to that the ability to educate yourself on anything and now you have a true democratization of information.”

In other words, as Kevin reiterated, “Surely we can weight information based on what a user thinks is important and deliver that content fast and in an unfiltered way; community sourcing of real time information what’s important’ to me could become the channel like-minded users turn to first – essentially, paralleling the world of crowd sourcing, news and information distributed in this fashion (with enough channels tuned in)  the goal  is to get closer to what is real and what is the truth.”

What is InkaBinka? It’s the capability to live create channels, just as you would create “favorites” on your satellite or cable TV controller with Tivo mixed in and the discovery channel ready to launch a window to educate you on anything you don’t understand about whatever you are reading. It’s the support from InkaBinka to keep all channels current, updating content as it changes, in near real time. It’s then the opportunity to share you channel with others in a public forum.

In bringing InkaBinka to market it’s essentially relegating traditional RSS feeds to the trash can – a reminder of legacy channels of the past. Expectations are high as InkaBinka roles out in earnest. “We are hoping people will create channels based on their areas of interest or expertise and share them on the public board for others to enjoy,” Kevin told me. “We allow users to rate channels they follow, and the creators of channels to see their following as well as provide  a venue for commentary.

At this point, let me tell you how HP is involved, and why I believe the NonStop community will likely be impacted. For the NonStop user this will not be immediate, as the consumer market is being addressed well ahead of the enterprise market, but as we have seen with the take-up of mobile devices, they have become the almighty tail that now wags all dogs. With InkaBinka on your smartphone or tablet, it could become the gateway to enterprise applications now being externalized as services. We have witnessed the steady march from monolithic applications to the client/server model to a services-driven world. As aggregation is increasingly happening on the client device – more often these days, our mobile device – and performance is beginning to suffer.

When I first broached the subject of InkaBinka to the America’s team responsible for Project Moonshot, the team noticed the value proposition immediately. Clearly, following 2013 HP Discover we became aware that the sweet spot for marketing Moonshot (hyperscale servers) was not the existing big players like Amazon, Yahoo or Microsoft but rather up and coming potential competitors to these heavyweights. It’s way too early to promote InkaBinka as upsetting the status quo just yet, but for HP there’s every opportunity to be involved with a winner from day one – and that’s their mantra going forward.

“When I was first briefed on InkaBinka’s strategy, I saw enormous potential,” said Paul Santeler, vice president, HP’s Hyperscale business segment. “Their approach to content delivery is innovative and as my understanding of their architecture deepened, I can see that Moonshot is an ideal platform to achieve their goals. HP is excited to be working with InkaBinka and we are pleased that they are evaluating Moonshot for their cloud-based solution.”

InkaBinka will roll out using HP’s Cloud Services but as Moonshot matures, InkaBinka will populate its data center with Moonshot cartridge servers on a scale that I’m sure will prove impressive. Currently deployed on servers on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, the economics for server-oriented solutions, like InkaBinka, makes switching to Moonshot an attractive option. All my own interactions with the Moonshot team to date suggests other companies will follow suite and I am already across another vendor, perhaps better known in the NonStop space, that has just begun discussions about leveraging Moonshot. 

InkaBinka relies heavily on servers, and lots of them. Every channel that is created is processed on InkaBinka’s servers and this is where the immediate performance gains over existing products emerges – when you invoke your channel, it’s just a single connection even though multiple channels may be updating in real time – it’s the servers doing the heavy lifting to keep you engaged as a newscaster, not your mobile device. Stop by Starbucks for coffee and while you pay for your latte right from your phone, your channels continue to be updated in real time, but via a single pipe.

Among the tag lines being trialed at this time is one I particularly like, as it conveys to me what InkaBinka provides. “Capturing your world,” says Kevin, is just one tag line under consideration, but when you consider InkaBinka is an ecosystem comprising incredibly powerful tools, a whole new social media play whereby you exchange ideas as if you were a newscaster broadcasting live, “it could very well become the standard as it offers people freedom, immediacy and relevance all directed to just one location – your device.”

What does it look like and how do you get started? Below is a screenshot of a well-populated InkaBinka page depicting the many sites of interest that you may be viewing, as channels, in real time – all from a single feed from the InkaBinka servers. A quick glance will show you that there are buttons to create a channel (yours, of course) as well as to add a channel (someone else’s). Clicking on “Create Channel” opens a dialogue box whereby you can select a publication, click on just those stories you are interested in (and bypass all the advertisements, of course), or you can select a blog or other social media feed / channel, and so forth.

Now comes what I consider to be the serious value-add from what the InkaBinka servers are supporting behind the scenes. In the screen shot below, you will see this user has set up a “twitter reaction” box capturing commentary that is currently ongoing about a story the user has selected to read in more detail. Furthermore, items in the story you may not be familiar with are the subject of “web research” that unlike Google or Bing, is current and will often reflect items other InkaBinka users have found prior to your access – it’s all fresh and new!

“What might interest your NonStop community”, suggested Kevin, “is that this is not just about news – imagine how this will evolve as users add individual shopping channels, perhaps the monitoring of stock, and even airline schedules, flight departures, etc.; it will be up to our users to push the channel creation as far afield as they want and it’s up to us to make it happen”

“The secret of an inspiring meeting is great storytelling,” according to Disney, to which we can add, the secret to inspiring newscasting is immediacy and accuracy. At a time when enterprises today are turning to analytics to better derive value from all that they provide, products and services, imagine the power that could be put into employees’ hands via a product such as this? For the NonStop community, this is where the product paths of both InkaBinka and NonStop will likely intersect – increasingly, applications on NonStop are being externalized as services, and providing access to multiple applications concurrently from NonStop may be a boon to many enterprises.

it's very early days but all the same, InkaBinka can be accessed  – all you need do is visit the web site, I will be making a visit as I sense it holds potential to be the next Yahoo! or even the next Google! A stretch perhaps but this I know; our industry never sits still for a moment and complacency is never rewarded. We may be watching the evolution of a whole new way to interact with information, in a manner far richer than we had ever imagined possible!

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