Server Side Data and Networked Clients

Data on the server side is the future.

Ideally, the user would have a complete data environment that is accessible by various means by various devices.

Imagine that you could log in from any Internet capable appliance and access your data. Work with your programs.

Why, for example, do you need to lug around your Compact Discs from your home to your car and back?  When you purchase music, it should be stored digitally on some server somewhere so that your car stereo, your walkman, your computer, and your home stereo system could easily access it.

All commonly used devices that revolve around the use or storage of data will rely on the network for data storage and retrieval. This includes walkmans (music), cell phones (phone book), cordless phones (phone book), computers (documents, spreadsheets, and other application data), TV's (as vcr-replacements for movies).

Imagine the potential growth in revenue for the movie rental business:

First of all, why do you need a Blockbuster store in order to find a good movie to rent?  All you do at the store is read the movie titles, look at the pictures on the box, and read the summary. So...get rid of the store. Replace it with a smart, searchable, interactive online catalog with movie previews, etc.

Second of all, why do you need to manufacture video tapes?  The movie can be distributed to you blockbuster account via the network.  Get rid of the distribution costs.  No more video tapes.  No more trying to calculate the popularity of a movie in order to produce and distribute the "right number" of tapes.  If 800,000 people want Jurassic Park, they will get it.  If 1 person wants a small, no-namer B-Film, they will get it.  Blockbuster could perfectly supply the demand of its customers!  How incredibly efficient; analog companies that build and distribute physical devices (Sony, HP, Honda, Kenmore) can only dream of achieving this!

Applications will be on the server side, but in what form?

The benefits of an application being on the server side are distribution and maintenance. Installations and updates would not have to be done on a company's 2000 workstations. The applications would just be accessed by each workstation. Also, the application provider could log and analyze all user activity with the application. This could result in huge improvements in the design (and therefore, the usability) of applications (Yeah!).

Technologies such as JAVA were developed to achieve this goal.

Approaches to outsourcing access to applications like Microsoft Office via a web-browser are very mickey-moused. Applications such as Office were developed to run on the desktop. They were developed to run on some flavor of Windows. These implementations of Windows-apps gone Server Side will be very inefficient and extremely not user friendly. Office running in a Web Browser!? Give me a break!? Tell me, for example, what does the BACK button (on the browser) do?

Some "Browser" (meaning a tool that allows certain programs to run) needs to be developed without any "standard navigation" (like BACK, FORWARD, HyperLink, etc). It should only allow maintenance of its environment- like moving screens around, etc.

Of course, this sounds very familiar (MS Windows!).

Idea: Platform For Online Marketplaces

A platform for online marketplaces could be huge given all of the hype regarding "Reverse-Auction" style transactions.

The platform would allow buyers to specify items they are looking for, and sellers would place bids/quotes on these items.

The buyers would choose the seller that offers the best prices, guarantees, shipping, etc.

Like Moai Technologies Auction platform, this tool would be the transaction enabler for Online Marketplaces.

When the seller replies to an item, the tool would be smart enough to ask the seller the most important information regarding the item (for example, a television: screen size, PIP, remote control, etc.).

When viewing the bid, the buyer would see all of the most important features, as well as the asking price for the exact items from the top sellers in the market (for example, curcuit city, best buy, etc.). This would justify the value of the offer.

The tool would create a profile for sellers, including ratings and past-buyer comments.

It would be used to develop the now super-hyped reverse-auction style marketplaces; everything from:

  • Labor Brokering
  • Consumer-goods
  • Any business where there are multiple suppliers of similar goods/services (especially of commodity items)

Although there will ultimately only be a few successful reverse-auctioning sites for each market (historical examples for Auctioning model include: Ebay, ubid, Yahoo Auctions, etc), this tool has high short-term value as an easy way for different players to jump into the market quickly.

It's the equivalent of the "tool supplier" during the "Gold Rush" analogy, where the majority of the Goldminers made very little money, while the "tool supplier" did very well.

Idea: Mobile Telephone Style Marketing for Photography

Mobile telephone network companies (Sprint PCS, Pac Bell, LA Cellular) charge little or nothing for their hi-tech phones so long as their customers sign a lengthy contract (1 year +) for their phone network.

Film Developing providers, such as chain stores like WAL-MART, K-MART, RITE-AID, etc could charge little or nothing for appealing film cameras so long as their customers sign a lengthy contract for film developing with them.

Getting cameras in the hands of users can increase the potential that they take pictures, and the providers could increase revenue in film developing just like cellular telephone providers have increased revenue with more network use (more calls made). This also greatly increases the "walk-in" sporadic business of the chain store, as both dropping the film off and picking up the photos are a store visit (which is probably why most stores offer the service to begin with).

The problem with the idea is that the film developing providers have no way of enforcing that users develop their film only at their stores. However, the same problem exists with the Free/Cheap PC idea, in that the end users don't have to use the set-up ISP or start page portal.

The film development providers can enforce a certain number as the "minimum allowable film development" per year.

This idea assumes that photo-processing is something that chain stores anticipate existing for years to come. However, new digital means may allow end-users to "process" photos on their own. Ideally, no processing would be required in order to capture photos.