The Constant Observer Picks: Top Product and Technology Innovations in 2007

Posted by Rahul Sethi on 8:05 PM



1) The Amazon Kindle: 200 Books, the size of a paperback.


The Good:


Small Size

A Model that looks to earn revenues from the service rather than the product.

Battery Life.

Does not tire the eyes while reading.



The Bad:


Does not read PDF’s

The ‘service’ can be cracked, giving users free alternatives.



2) The RFID Revolution: By tagging items and containers with tiny chips that can be interrogated wirelessly from a few metres away, companies will be able to streamline their distribution and delivery systems. RFID tags can act as wireless bar-codes on everything from cereal boxes to medicine bottles to expensive military hardware, enabling suppliers, retailers and government agencies to track inventory more efficiently and cut costs.



RFID is not new – the technology has been around for a while, 2007 was the year it’s potential use was put into use at certain places.



In the Future, RFID can possibly put into human beings, their emotions and impulses monitored and contextual marketing can be taken to the next level.



The Drawback of course is Privacy. Also, for a large scale RFID detection mechanism, large scale wireless networks need to be deployed. In India at least, we are far from that.



3) Biometrics: It’s all about uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits.



Why it’s good:

Enhanced Security


How can it be taken to the next level:

If biometrics can identify human emotions along with identifying traits, we can expect the same level of contextual marketing that is possible with embedding RFID’s into human beings.



4) The Nintendo Wii: I spoke at length about ‘generic benefits’ that products seek to identify in my series on technological innovation – the Wii identifies that gaming is not all about graphics and appealing to the hardcore gamers.


The Good:


Easy interface

More multiplayer options

Takes gaming back to the basics without really doing so (only people who have used the Wii will understand this!)



The Bad:

Graphics – well but the graphics are good enough



5) Cheap Laptops: Rajesh Jain and Ashok Jhunjunwala have teamed up to form Novatium, a provider that hopes to pioneer the concept of a Net PC floated by Oracle’s Larry Ellison.


 The PC as we know it is a self-reliant machine, heaving with processing power, laden with software and stuffed with data. But in the age of broadband, it is unnecessary to house so much computing power in a box on your desk. Better to store the bulk of it on a central server, to which users can connect via the Internet.



Novatium’s PC will probably cost Rs. 2, 800 with a Rs. 399 monthly subscription.



Expect PC and hopefully Internet penetration to take off across our country.



Nigeria has also pioneered the one laptop per child policy – where a laptop costs as little as Rs. 4, 000 or $100.



6) API’s & Widgets: Application Programming Interfaces and widgets were included in FacebookOrkut also opened up its platform to API’s. Deep integration into the social network, mass distribution etc. can lead to new opportunities that have mutual benefits. They are here to stay.



7) Social Ads: This is something else Facebook started this year to try and be worth it’s while.  Contextual Social Advertising allows advertisers to choose the key words for which it seeks to generate clicks and simultaneously gives the advertiser an idea of how many people fit the description of being likely to click on that key word. (a handy research tool for marketers and an exciting tool for advertisers to view since they anyway get the option of targeting specific audiences and now they can also know what they are looking at in terms of sheer numbers). I do confess however that the numbers can be slightly overestimated since not everyone will probably click on the links. To counter that Facebook has used a Google style fee collection method of Cost per Click (CPC) and also Cost per Thousand or Mille (CPM). 


For more on ROI on the Internet Walk into the World of Web Metrics


The Good:




The Bad:

The Numbers



8) GPS Cameras: Flickr has launched a geotagging feature on it’s website – to cut the long story short, camera manufacturers are now embedding GPS into cameras so that 1 drunken party can be differentiated from the others.


The Good:

Handy feature that makes photography more interactive


The Bad:

What bad?



All iPhone lovers, sorry the iPhone does not really figure on WATBlog’s list. Primarily because of:

No video recording

No real ‘unique’ features

Bundled with operators – against the economic idea of freedom.



If you hate us but still love the iPhone, read all about it here.

















Comment by amolpatil2k on February 2, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Such a post could have been jazzed up with lotsa photos


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