Tony Camilli

Senior Product Management and Technology Professional

Product Management


Design Thinking

Business Model Development

UX & Design


The iPad isn't for Business /s

Yes.  That's a closing tag for sarcasm.  You're kidding yourself if you think smartphones and tablets aren't for business.  If the landslide of BYOD'ers bringing the devices to work isn't enough proof, check out an Apple store.  Okay, okay.  That's a bit biased, they have to use them.  But still, the iPhone (and/or iPod touch) sleeves with a credit card ready illustrate the opportunity for vertical solutions that exist for these "consumer, content consumption only devices."  I was at Sears last week and saw a scaled up version of the Apple store sleeve, this time on iPads.  It was accompanied by a sticker on the old POS terminals that read something to the effect of "Why aren't you using an iPad?" - implying a push to move all sales transactions to the iPad.

But what really brought me to the computer tonight was a series of announcements this week, two in particular, where iPads are making obvious inroads to the enterprise.

The first, and was hard to miss if you follow tech, was the announcement of Square's new dock that turns an iPad into a cash register.  I recommend reading the full post from The Verge, but here's the gist:

Square today unveiled a new piece of hardware designed to replace traditional cash registers in the businesses that use the company to accept payments. Square Stand, which can be pre-ordered for $299 starting today, features an integrated card reader for processing payments.

This is probably the first time a POS terminal could be accused of being sexy.  The post goes on to say it's targeted at big brick-and-mortar stores.  I'm not sure about that, but I can imagine it being a hit with small and medium businesses.  When I get around to building my dream bike/coffee shop, I'll be sure to kit it out with a few of these.

The second announcement was from ShoreTel, which has announced ShorTel Dock, which turns an iPhone or iPad into a desk phone and unified communications device.  Anyone who has fought with a Lucent, Polycom, or Cisco desk phone can probably immediately see a benefit to having an iPhone or especially iPad as a corporate landline replacement.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, an IT manager who thinks tablets are consumer-only, content consumption devices probably won't be in his/her job for very long.

Google is keeping iCloud’s promises | PandoDaily

From PandoDaily by Nathaniel Mott.  He makes some great, very valid points.  The summary is:
The difference between the two [Apple vs. Google Services]? Google’s services aren’t restricted to its own devices.
Apple developed iCloud for people who want to keep data in sync across their iOS and Mac devices. Besides rudimentary photo-sync support on Windows PCs, iCloud doesn’t allow any data in or out from, say, the Web or Android. Anyone wanting to make their data available on all of their devices without being restricted to Apple’s products must turn to other solutions, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.

All of that is true, of course.  I don't disagree with Mott's conclusions, but I disagree with his expectations.  When comparing Apple and Google, you have to follow the money.  Google, first and foremost, is an internet services company.  They don't care how or where you get on the internet, they just want you there.  Using Google services, seeing AdSense-hosted ads, sending as much personal data back to Google as possible.  Apple, on the other hand, is devices company.  They make money when you buy a piece of hardware.  iCloud is a way to, theoretically, make it easier to use all-Apple devices, thereby increasing lock-in to Apple's ecosystem.  They don't want you to use iCloud on an Android phone because ad-based or even subscription-based services isn't their business model.

There is no doubt Apple needs to fix iCloud.  It needs to live up to the "just works" promise.  But to expect Apple to abandon the Apple-only lock-in approach ignores Apple's entire business model.

Automatic's BYO Telematics | The Verge

Automatic is a combination app and hardware unit, launching this May for $69.95. It mixes your car's data with Google Maps and gas pricing info to create a comprehensive record of every trip you take, tracking fuel efficiency, acceleration and engine alerts. It's a familiar playbook — opening up a legacy tech into the mobile world — but few companies have tried it on the automotive world. And with backing from Y Combinator and Founders Fund, Automatic has the resources to give it a shot.

In the connected car space, there are a few basic approaches: dumb car (BYO telematics and infotainment), connected telematics/BYO infotainment, or connected telematics and infotainment.  A majority of cars on the road fall into the first bucket.  A growing number of cars are falling into the second bucket (think of all GM cars with OnStar).  The third is an area of heated debate within the industry - driven mainly by debates around who pays for the data and radically different development cycles between telco networks and vehicle lifecycles.

This solution from Automatic is interesting because it can address the largest part of the market - the legacy non-connected cars.  It could even address the second bucket because GM doesn't alway like to share it's data with you.  So in that sense it makes this interesting.

I'm am a bit wear of ODB-II, however.  In the US it has been fairly standardized for quite a while.  Worldwide that is definitely not the case.  In addition, most manufacturers implement the bare minimum data set over ODB-II and the rest of the data is either in obfuscated, proprietary formats or even encrypted.  Internationally, you also run the risk of voiding your warranty by plugging a 3rd-party device into the ODB port.

At any rate, this looks pretty compelling and at $70 could be worth a try.

Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote) - Kara Swisher - News - AllThingsD

According to numerous sources, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has instituted a HR plan today to require Yahoo employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities. The move will apparently impact several hundred employees, who must either comply without exception or presumably quit.

I think this a major strike against broader adoption of teleworking.  Some publications like GigaOm would have you believe that teleworking is the norm, rather than the exception.  As a recent (3 years ago) and current job searcher (both times international relocations), I have literally looked at thousands of job postings and can easily count on one hand the number of teleworking jobs I have come across.  I think too much emphasis is placed on virtualizing actual presence (telepresence robots, video conferencing, etc.) and too little on measuring outcomes vs. working hours.

Some have rushed to Yahoo's defense, stating among other things that teleworking isn't for every company.  I agree with that whole heartedly.  However, there are some positions within a company (service reps, etc.) that don't benefit from water-cooler collaboration.  It's unfortunate that so many companies will send a job overseas before considering allowing someone to simply work from home.

GM adding AT&T LTE service to 'most' vehicles starting next year | The Verge

GM has announced this morning that it will start deploying LTE service from AT&T in its 2014 cars and trucks to deliver drivers "enhanced suite of safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services."
Also unclear is how the service will be billed or priced: there aren't any announcements being made at this point, but AT&T's Glenn Lurie noted that low-bandwidth services (uploads of diagnostic data from the car to your dealer, for instance) could be free or billed by the manufacturer, while higher-bandwidth services could be billed directly by AT&T or even bundled in a subscriber's Mobile Share plan alongside phones and tablets.

This is an interesting announcement from GM.  Shifting OnStar from Verizon to AT&T isn't that earth shattering (although it does mean adding SIMs).  However, the use of LTE and the mention of infotainment may have broader implications.  Certainly, LTE brings in a range of infotainment options. However, mobile network technology changes much more quickly than the typical car purchase cycle.  In 5 years, when your still spry car can't connect to a presumably ubiquitous LTE-Advanced network, you may wish you had a BYO connectivity implementation like Ford or Toyota.

Billing is also an interesting question.  GSMA has been working on reprogrammable embedded SIMs for some time now.  However, that doesn't solve the problem of billing telematics traffic to one party (auto manufacturer) and infotainment traffic to another (car owner); even more complicated would be putting that infotainment traffic on a shared data plan.

Pebble smartwatch review | The Verge

Here's a review of the Pebble Smartwatch from Nilay Patel of The Verge.  I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, Pebble was one of the most highly publicized projects to come out of Kickstarter, and more importantly, it was a successful (albeit delayed) launch.  Second, I think wearable tech is going to be one of the next two big areas of consumer product innovation (TV will be the other).

I have long argued that there isn't going to be one device that replaces the PC.  Rather, it's going to be many separate devices that work together (including PAN, LAN, and with the cloud, WAN).  The watch is one of these devices, along with glasses, phones, tablets, connected appliances, Smart TV's, etc. all working in concert.  Personal preferences are going to drive the device mix and end experience.  For example, I paid thousands of dollars to "fix" my eyes because I hate wearing glasses, so no matter how compelling, Google Glass won't be in my device mix.  I know plenty of others who hate wearing watches.

Apple Using Its Religion

NEW YORK - In a surprise announcement, Apple has disclosed that beginning today, all products sold in New York will be free of the state's typical 4.5% sales tax. The announcement follows a story from the Associated Press revealing that yoga studios are exempt from New York sales tax due to their status as religious institutions. According to the AP, the Department of Taxation and Finance found that yoga "is predominantly a spiritual practice" and should therefore be exempt from the tax.
Astute industry observers may recall a study performed by the BBC last year which found "Apple was actually stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith." According to Apple, it's own stable of godly gadgets far surpass yoga in religious significance. We received the following statement from an Apple spokesman:
Where you find religion, you find disagreement. Nothing has caused more derision in the history of the world than religion. But yoga, really? Who hates yoga? If yoga studios have achieved religious status, surely Apple's decades-old crusade of fanboys versus haters should be granted religious status.
We have reached out to Google for comment, but they have not responded. However, a reliable source has found references to an unannounced Google project named "G-had" that is believed to be the company's planned response to the Apple announcement.
In other Apple news: