GSA Technology Council

Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

Adobe Introduces “Strobe” Framework for Media Player Creation

At the 2009 NAB Show, Adobe Systems Incorporated announced a new software framework for building media players that extends the capabilities of the Adobe Flash Platform. Code-named “Strobe,” the framework will help establish an open industry standard for media players and offer production-ready software components to streamline the development of custom media players, reducing the time content publishers spend creating their own playback technologies. The framework will enable developers using Flash technologies to quickly and easily add rich functionality—such as advertising, user measurement and tracking, and social network integration—into new custom players that can be branded for individual content owners.

“With Strobe, we’re delivering an open framework that enables media companies to focus on their core competency, creating great content that people want to see, instead of developing their own video players from scratch,” said Jim Guerard, vice president and general manager of Dynamic Media at Adobe. “Adobe is committed to driving Web innovation and now with Strobe, we are helping to create an open framework for media players, enabling developers and media companies to focus on developing, delivering, and monetizing content so they can extend their online media efforts.”

Defining Media Player Standards

Strobe extends Adobe’s continued support for open access to Flash Platform technologies and will accelerate the creation of media players by enabling developers to assemble plug-and-play software components from Adobe and third-party developers. The open, extensible framework, which will be incorporated into Adobe’s standard set of development tools, allows developers in the Adobe Flash Platform ecosystem to use components in media players that add rich functionality such as advertising, user measurement and tracking, and social network integration. Because Strobe takes advantage of the Flash Platform, content owners can be sure that programming will reach the largest possible online audience, as they bring their Strobe-based video players to market. The new Strobe framework builds on the vision of the Open Screen Project, a broad industry initiative to deliver a consistent runtime environment across desktops, televisions, mobile phones, and consumer electronics.

“Akamai has always believed in the need for open standards around the video player application to make it easier for content owners to quickly and seamlessly develop, distribute and monetize online video,” said Tim Napoleon, chief strategist for Akamai. “Since bringing the Open Video Player initiative to the community last year, we have seen enormous adoption of the player. Adobe’s Strobe compliments these efforts and will strengthen the industry shift toward open standards. The combined initiatives of Akamai and Adobe will only support the scale and growth of the Open Video Player community.”

“Omniture continues to see growth in our customers’ use of rich media. Along with that growth has come the desire to better understand how rich media affects return on investment. Our customers are asking us about how to optimize the use of rich media, and our relationship with Adobe helps us answer those questions,” said John Mellor, executive vice president of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Omniture. “Adobe’s Strobe allows Omniture to enable key functionalities, such as in-depth analytics, indicating how consumers interact with content. With this understanding, we can help our customers create relevant and personalized experiences on this exciting new platform.”

Strobe further broadens the reach and capabilities of the Adobe Flash Platform, the No. 1 technology for video on the Web. According to comScore Media Metrix, approximately 80 percent of online videos viewed worldwide are delivered using Adobe Flash technology. Adobe Flash Player—already installed on 98 percent of Internet-connected desktops—gives viewers access to rich content without having to download additional software.

via Adobe

Forrester Lowers Outlook For US IT Purchases In 2009

US business and government purchases of IT goods and services will decrease by 3.1 percent in 2009, compared with the 1.6 percent annual increase previously projected by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). With the US economy dropping at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in Q4 2008 and most professional economic forecasters reducing their predictions for 2009 US real GDP growth, Forrester has revised its forecast for technology spending in the US to reflect these changes. Forrester expects growth in IT investment will resume in Q4 2009 and gather strength in 2010.

“In many ways, the biggest factor affecting the tech market is not the recession but the breakdown of the financial system,” said Andrew Bartels, Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst. “The credit crunch is still causing companies to dramatically cut back on all forms of capital investment, including many IT goods and services, and this will affect 2009 revenues for most IT vendors.”

Forrester uses several metrics to determine the health and size of the IT market on a quarterly basis. The data in the new Forrester forecast report focuses on IT purchasing — how much computer and communications equipment, software, IT consulting and integration services, and IT outsourcing businesses and governments buy from technology vendors. It is one of the most important metrics for evaluating the health of technology vendors.

2009 US IT Spending Outlook By Sector

The new Forrester forecast report makes the following predictions:

Computer equipment will fall even more in 2009. Forrester expects that US business and government purchases of computer equipment will drop by 6.8 percent in 2009, on top of a 4 percent decline in 2008. However, growth is expected to bounce back in 2010 to 7 percent.

Communications equipment demand will shift from 2008 growth to a big cut in 2009. A mixture of enterprise demand for videoconferencing and mobile technologies and telco demand for 3G wireless and broadband equipment kept purchases growing by 3.7 percent in 2008. Both factors will erode in 2009, leading to a 7.8 percent decline, but growth will revive modestly in 2010 to 4.8 percent.

Software purchases will decline slightly in 2009, with license revenues falling. Since about half of software purchases each year are maintenance fees and subscription fees that grow at relatively constant rates, the flat growth of total software purchases means that license revenues will continue to fall in 2009. The picture will improve in 2010, with growth of 6.3 percent.

IT consulting and systems integration services will slip in 2009. Cutbacks in the project portfolio of most companies will lead to a decline of 2 percent in 2009 for IT consulting and systems integration services. The outlook for 2010 remains positive, with 7.4 percent growth expected in 2010.

IT outsourcing growth will remain moderate in 2009 and 2010. IT outsourcing turned out to be weak in 2008, with 2.8 percent growth as economic uncertainty froze potential clients, increased competition and smaller-scale projects cut prices, and the recession caused prospects to wait to see if prices would get even lower. These same forces will continue through the first half of 2009, with revenues starting to improve in the second half of 2009 and in 2010. Growth in 2009 will be small but positive at 2.1 percent, improving to 6.8 percent in 2010.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel — demand has been delayed but not cancelled,” said Bartels. “Growth will come back strong once the recession and tight credit conditions start to ease, so IT Vendor Strategy professionals should get prepared by investing in research and development and focusing on building the proof points, case studies, and success stories about how their technology solutions have helped businesses.”

via: Forrester

Google Announces new Version of App Engine

Google Inc. has announced a new version of Google App Engine, furthering its goal of making Google’s scalable infrastructure available to all developers – from those in startups to those working in enterprise IT departments.

New features include:

  • Cron support. Developers want the flexibility to run tasks on a regular basis, without the need for labor-intensive monitoring and maintenance. Starting today, App Engine developers can automatically run and schedule jobs using cron.
  • Database import and export. Developers want the freedom to move around application data in lockstep with business needs. Starting today, App Engine developers can batch transfer gigabytes of data into App Engine using a new import tool. Export capabilities will be available within the next month.
  • Access to firewalled data. Enterprise developers want the security of firewalled data and the ease of web app deployment, but applications in the cloud can’t generally access on-premise datastores. To address this challenge Google is launching the Secure Data Connector, which enables centrally-managed access to on-premise data from Google Appsâ„¢, including App Engine- and gadget-based solutions.

In conjunction with today’s news, we are also giving developers an early look at App Engine’s support for the Java programming language. Limited to the first 10,000 sign-ups, this early look is intended to gather feedback from the Java developer community. Important highlights include:

  • Standards-based. App Engine’s use of standard Java APIs and libraries enables developers to work with the Java tools and frameworks they’re already familiar with, and ensures the easy deployment of their Java code to all standard J2EE servlet containers, including IBM WebSphere, Tomcat and others.
  • An end-to-end solution. App Engine’s early look at Java language support includes a Java runtime, integration with the new Google Web Toolkit 1.6, and a Google Plugin for Eclipse. Together these tools provide a unified development experience for writing AJAX applications in a single language, from client to server.

“In making Google’s infrastructure broadly available, App Engine has helped over 150,000 developers focus on designing and launching great products, without the usual scale and maintenance headaches,” said Andrew Bowers, Product Manager at Google. “Today – with newly-launched features, and an early look at Java language support – we’re making Google App Engine a viable deployment option for more and more application developers.”

Google has worked in coordination with Oracle, IBM, Appirio, Cast Iron, Panorama, PivotLink, Sword Group, ThoughtWorks, Cloud Sherpas and PingIdentity, on this launch. These companies have developed applications and gadgets using the App Engine features premiering today.

To learn more about Google App Engine, and to watch the video of tonight’s Campfire One announcement, visit http://code.google.com/appengine. Additionally, the App Engine team will be on-hand at the Google I/O conference in May (http://code.google.com/events/io) to engage in product discussions with the larger developer community.

via Google

Fluor Awarded Engineering Contract for CO2 Capturing Project

Fluor Corporation announced today that it was awarded front-end engineering for CO2 capture for the SaskPower Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Sequestration Demonstration project in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. The contract value for the first quarter award was not disclosed. If the project proceeds as planned, it would be the first commercial-scale carbon capture system used on a coal-fired power plant in North America.SaskPower’s project will transform the aging Unit 3 at Boundary Dam Power Station into a reliable, long-term producer of clean electricity while enhancing provincial oil production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This leading-edge project will determine the technical, economic and environmental performance of carbon capture and storage technology.

“Fluor is looking forward to demonstrating the benefits of our commercially-proven carbon capture technology,” said Dave Dunning, president of Fluor’s Power Group. “Fluor is a leader in the power industry and our industry-proven Econamine FG Plus SM technology is just one example of our commitment to client needs.”

The front-end engineering involves the preparation of a detailed process design, cost estimate and a design verification analysis using Fluor’s CO2 technology. Fluor is one of three companies selected to proceed to the next stage for further evaluation of the carbon capture technologies. SaskPower is expected to make a final selection by the end of 2009.

“Our leadership in clean energy is demonstrated by our use of Fluor’s proven Econamine FG Plus SM technology since 1989,” said Don Broeils, vice president for plant betterment, within Fluor’s Power Group. “We have successfully applied it to fossil-fueled boilers, gas turbines, gas engines and steam reformers to operate with significantly lower capital and operating costs.”

Fluor’s CO2 capture technology was successfully demonstrated for 14 years at a gas and oil-fired combined cycle power plant in Bellingham, Mass. The plant produced 365 tons of liquefied food grade CO2 daily for local sale. Fluor’s Econamine FG PlusSM technology has also recently been selected for FEED study opportunities in Germany and Norway.

via Fluor

Apple Updates Xserve

Apple has announced an updated Xserve that delivers up to twice the performance of the previous system. Using Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processors and a next generation system architecture, the 1U rack-optimized Xserve delivers up to an 89 percent improvement in performance per watt.** Xserve is available with up to two 2.93 GHz Intel Xeon processors and industry-leading storage options that include a low-power solid state drive (SSD) and up to 3TB of internal storage. Starting at $2,999, Xserve includes an unlimited client license for Mac OS X Server version 10.5 Leopard.

“The Xserve is the best workgroup server for our education, business and creative customers,” said David Moody, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Mac Product Marketing. “With up to twice the performance, better power efficiency and an innovative SSD drive option, this is the best Xserve we’ve ever made.”

The new Xserve includes Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 2.93 GHz, each with an integrated memory controller with three channels of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC memory that delivers up to 2.4 times the memory bandwidth while cutting memory latency up to 40 percent.*** Using high-efficiency power supplies and intelligent thermal management, Xserve delivers a 19 percent reduction in idle power use.

Xserve’s industry-leading storage capabilities include a 128GB SSD boot-drive option that requires a fraction of the power of a hard disk and delivers up to 48 times faster random access times without occupying a drive bay. Xserve’s three 3.5 inch drive bays support both 7200 rpm SATA and 15,000 rpm SAS drives and can be configured with up to 3TB of internal storage. Two PCI Express 2.0 x16 expansion slots provide massive I/O bandwidth to support the latest high-bandwidth expansion cards. The Xserve RAID card option now delivers improved performance up to 497MB/s**** and supports RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 with 512MB of cache without using a valuable PCI Express expansion slot. A 72-hour backup battery is included for enhanced data protection.

Every Xserve ships with an unlimited client edition of Leopard Server, offering support for Mac®, Linux and Windows clients without the added cost of client-access licenses. Leopard Server extends Apple’s legendary ease of use with Server Assistant and Server Preferences, which allow even nontechnical users to quickly manage users and groups on the server and easily set up key services. Leopard Server includes Podcast Producer, the ideal way to automatically publish podcasts to iTunes® or the web; Wiki Server, allowing people to collaboratively create and modify their shared websites with just a few clicks; and iCal® Server, the world’s first commercial CalDAV standard-based calendar server. Leopard Server is fully UNIX compliant and LDAP and Active Directory support allows Xserve to fit right in to existing IT environments.

The new Xserve joins Apple’s latest hardware products in setting new standards for environmentally friendly design. Xserve uses PVC-free internal cables and components, contains no brominated flame retardants and features a power supply with an average energy efficiency of 89 percent.

via Apple

Yahoo! Launches Artist’s Pages for Users to Find Information on Favorite Musicians

Yahoo! has announced the availability of Artist Pages, a free consumer experience that aggregates the best music products, services, information, and content the Web has to offer about more than 500,000 artists featured at Yahoo! Music, making it a great starting point for music fans. Showcasing tour dates, music videos, music downloads, streaming music, editorial content and much more, Artist Pages will help fans discover, experience, or purchase their favorite music online as easily as possible. Artist Pages will launch on Yahoo! Music (http://music.yahoo.com) on April 7.

Yahoo! is placing control of its Artist Pages in the hands of music fans, giving them an ability to create their own canvas of content and commerce offerings. To customize their own Artist Pages, users can select among modules offering iTunes, Amazon.com, Last.fm, Rhapsody, Pandora, YouTube and Yahoo!. In the future, users will also be able to create and self-publish their own Artist Pages as Yahoo! opens the platform to any musician, artist or record label exposing their creativity to Yahoo!’s enormous audience.

“Yahoo! is focused on attracting and engaging the largest online audience and connecting each individual to the people and experiences that matter most to them,” said Jeff Dossett, senior vice president of Yahoo!’s North America Audience Group. “With Yahoo! Music’s Artist Pages, we’re creating a truly open and indispensable music destination that will drive music fans to Yahoo! first on their path to music discovery, experience and purchase.”

Originally conceived as a closed service that was restricted to proprietary consumption and information offerings, the re-launched Artist Pages represents the first major effort by any online music site to truly open itself up to best serve music fans who use multiple online music products and services. The end-result is a rich Web experience that eliminates the friction that otherwise exists in the fragmented online music world.

“Artist Pages leverages the scale of the Web and Yahoo!’s massive audience to create something totally new, open, social and original which we believe will attract a new generation of music fans and Web users to Yahoo! Music,” said Michael Spiegelman, head of Yahoo! Music. “Artist Pages is a major game-changer for the digital music industry.”

via Yahoo!

There is a Role for Challengers in the European Mobile Communications Market

The global economic downturn has taken its toll on industries across the globe, and the mobile and wireless communications industry is no exception. In the European market, which is highly saturated and competitive, mobile network operators (MNOs) are in a survival of the fittest battle to maintain and expand their market share. On the fringes of this battle are new entrants, challenging established MNOs to stay in the game. The question is whether or not there is space for these new entrants in an established market, especially during these economic times, when smaller companies could be viewed as potential acquisition targets.

According to Yiru Zhong, Frost & Sullivan’s analyst: “Analyzing the performance of new MNO entrants, there are three MNOs with interesting developments: 3 in Italy and the UK, P4 (or its brand name, Play) in Poland, and Yoigo in Spain.” 3 began its operations in 2003, when the Italian market had almost 100% population penetration and was dominated by three major players: TiM, who held 45% of the market; Vodafone, a 33% market share; and WIND, with the remainder. 3 UK faced equally challenging conditions as the UK mobile market had four dominant players, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and O2, all of whom occupied a relatively equal market share. As such, 3 UK became the fifth MNO at a time when only 10% of the population did not have a mobile subscription. By the end of their second year of operation in 2004, both 3 UK and 3 Italy had managed to capture 4 – 5% share of subscribers in their respective markets. In order to sustain and grow customer scale, 3 moved away from being a mobile communications company to become a multimedia service provider.

P4 in Poland launched its operations in 2007 with its brand name, Play, at a time when the population penetration was 109% and the market was dominated by TP, Era and Plus. Play specifically targeted the youth segment and had the explicit vision of becoming the “interactive mobile operator.” Play entered into a strategic partnership with Onet.pl, one of Poland’s key online players, to combine its wireless communication services with internet-based opportunities such as social networking. This is a critical differentiator as Play becomes the only MNO in the Polish market which enables customers to move seamlessly between the mobile and internet worlds. Play’s key to success was its decision to focus on a specific group of customers, the youth segment, and to serve it well. This strategy, combined with a competitive pricing approach, helped Play to gain a 5% market share by the end of 2008 in its second year of operations. This puts its performance on par with 3′s historic performance in 2004.

As an alternative to the three MNOs in Spain, Yoigo entered the market in December 2006 as a no-frills operator with simple, low cost and efficient service. At the time of Yoigo’s entry, the market penetration exceeded 100% at 107% and there were already three established players in Movistar (Telefonica’s mobile arm), Vodafone and Orange. Yoigo not only invested in building its own network but also positioned itself as the alternative newcomer by highlighting its simple tariff plans and low cost service. By the end of 2008, it appeared that Yoigo’s performance did not match what other challengers such as 3 and Play had achieved in terms of market share. Yoigo had only managed to gain a 2% subscriber market share. Nonetheless, Yoigo’s business plan relies on its ability to control cost while maintaining its low tariff strategy. As such, Yoigo is an enthusiastic supporter of outsourcing functions, from network operations to IT activities to online distribution. While it remains to be seen if this cost control strategy works out in the long run, Yoigo demonstrated the effectiveness of online distribution channels. This in turn may have indirectly triggered a rethink in Vodafone’s and Orange’s distribution strategies in Spain.

“We believe that there is a role for challengers in the mobile market as competition increases innovation in the market. There are two main lessons from the performances of 3, Play and Yoigo,” observes Frost & Sullivan analyst Yiru Zhong. “First, new entrants, whatever their market performance, have the ability to motivate established players to accelerate innovation ranging from service offerings to partnerships to the way they engage with existing and new customers. Second, a successful value proposition cannot rely on low cost alone. Yoigo’s performance in terms of market share confirmed this view that was first evident from the lack of sustained success in Virgin Mobile and other low cost MVNOs in UK. Yoigo can become a viable MNO in the mobile market by redefining its value proposition to tap into a specific customer segment or customer need.”

via: Frost and Sullivan

Yahoo! Mobile Launches

Yahoo! has announced the availability of Yahoo! Mobile, an open and highly-personalized mobile starting point to the Internet, on both the mobile Web and as an Apple? iPhone app, allowing consumers to discover, stay connected and stay informed through their mobile devices. Additionally, the company will preview the soon-to-be-launched Yahoo! Messenger app for the iPhone, which will provide iPhone users in the United States with the No. 1 Messenger service in the country1.

Announced at Mobile World Congress in February, Yahoo! Mobile for the Web is now available across more than 300 devices with HTML-enabled mobile browsers by visiting http://new.m.yahoo.com, while the Yahoo! Mobile iPhone app is now available in the Apple iPhone App Store. Both are currently available in eight countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, with additional localized versions expected to launch over the next several months.

“Consumers around the globe are demanding compelling mobile Internet services that offer increased personalization,” said David Ko, senior vice president, Yahoo! Mobile. “To further capitalize on the market potential and continue our mobile leadership, we created Yahoo! Mobile, a dynamic starting point enabling consumers to discover the world around them, stay connected through a variety of communication services, and customize content to define their Internet experience on mobile devices.”

via Yahoo!

Software Services, Engineering and Tech Services show job gains through last year

2008 was the fifth straight year of employment gains in the tech industry’s two strongest sectors — software services, which added 86,200 net jobs, and engineering and tech services, which added 26,600 net jobs. The downside is that high-tech manufacturing shed 23,100 jobs and communications services shed 12,700 jobs. This is according to the 2009 Cyberstates Report from TechAmerica.org.

TechAmerica, formed by the merger of AeA and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), today released its 12th annual Cyberstates report, which includes a first-ever supplement with a 3rd and 4th quarter breakdown of 2008 tech employment. Fourth quarter data show the tech industry’s resilience compared to the U.S. economy as a whole, having sustained only a 0.6 percent drop in employment, or 38,000 jobs, in Q4 2008 when total private-sector employment declined by 1.3 percent.

The high-tech industry has added 382,900 jobs to the U.S. economy over the last four years. The industry added 77,000 net jobs in 2008, for a total of 5.9 million workers. This was on top of 79,600 added in 2007, 139,000 in 2006, and 87,400 in 2005.

The Cyberstates 2009 report — which details national and state trends in high-tech employment, wages, and other key economic factors for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — shows that California’s high-tech industry added 2,000 net jobs for an industry total of 942,700 in 2007, the most current year for which state data is available. This marks the third net increase in jobs since the tech bubble began to burst in 2000. Leading the way in job creation were the computer systems design and related services sector (+12,600 jobs), R&D and testing labs (+8,800), and engineering services (+2,500 jobs).

Cyberstates 2009 Highlights


  • U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.9 million in 2008.

  • Tech employment was up in 2008 by 77,000 or by 1.3 percent.

  • High-tech manufacturing employment fell by 1.3 percent, losing 23,100 jobs between 2007 and 2008.

  • The semiconductor industry lost the most jobs of any manufacturing sector, 10,900 in 2008.

  • Six of the nine tech manufacturing sectors lost jobs in 2007. Only the communications equipment, defense electronics, and electromedical equipment sectors added jobs.

  • The communications services sector continued to shed jobs in 2008, albeit at a faster pace, losing 12,700 compared to a loss of 7,200 in 2007.

  • The software services industry added 86,200 jobs in 2008, up for the fifth year in a row.

  • The engineering and tech services industry added 26,600 jobs in 2008, also up for the fifth year in a row, putting it at an all time high.

  • The unemployment rate for electrical engineers was 2.5 percent in 2008 and 2.7 percent for computer and math occupations.

  • The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $83,300 in 2007, 88 percent more than the average private sector wage of $44,400.

The Full report is available for purchase at Cyberstates 2009

Xobni Recieves $10M Investment from BlackBerry Partners Fund

Xobni, the an Outlook search and relationship plugin, has announced an investment from the BlackBerry Partners Fund to bring the company’s Series B round to over $10 million. The company has also removed its beta label with the introduction of Xobni v1.7. The new version of Xobni includes significant performance improvements to its relationship management sidebar and is available as a free download here: http://xobni.com/download

The BlackBerry Partners Fund’s investment allows Xobni to continue developing innovative solutions, including its lightning fast inbox search and powerful relationship management tools. The funding will also accelerate the development of a premium version of the product slated for release later this summer. The investment from BlackBerry Partners Fund brings the total raised in Xobni’s Series B funding to over $10M and adds BlackBerry Partners Fund Partner, Rick Segal, to Xobni’s board of directors. Xobni closed the first part of the Series B in January 2009, led by Cisco Systems.

“Xobni has a very compelling value proposition and we look forward to its extension into new platforms and use cases,” said Rick Segal of the BlackBerry Partners Fund. “We’re delighted to be part of Xobni’s growth and success.”

“We’re excited the BlackBerry Partners Fund shares our vision of improving email search and management,” said Jeff Bonforte, Xobni CEO. “With the additional funding, Xobni will strengthen its service and extend it to new platforms for our customers.”

Since the launch of Xobni’s public beta in May 2008, the company has been working to optimize speed and performance. The new version of Xobni makes the following significant improvements:

  • Reduced Outlook Startup Time – Xobni now loads much faster inside Outlook
  • Faster Message Loading – Xobni profile data is now cached, reducing delays between loading messages
  • Indexing Controls – users can now control how often and how much of their mail is indexed
  • Sidebar Controls – users can now choose for Xobni to open automatically with Outlook or only open when they need it

Xobni has also enhanced its product offering throughout the past year by developing strategic partnerships with leading content providers including LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Mail, Skype and Hoover’s

via Xobni