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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Personalized Convergent Blended Composite Mashups

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, October 20, 2006
3:32 am

I recently reviewed a proposal to one of our telecom customers that highlighted a major trend in the communications industry. May I paraphrase one important point: “Service providers are pursuing initiatives to personalize services to their subscribers. Convergence of traditional wireless and wireline networks holds the promise of creating a broad array of new services, many of which will be based on useful blends of more basic services.”

These are interesting buzzwords, particularly when you add “composite applications” and “mashups” that I addressed recently.

Consider the definitions, focusing first on the concept of combining many things into one:

Convergent: tending to move toward one point or to approach each other. The communications industry has talked for many years about bringing together divergent technologies and services into one. Of particular importance to this discussion is the goal of combining all the communications industry has to offer (e.g. wireline, wireless, VOIP, IPTV, entertainment, online services) for the benefit of individuals. It is a process of focusing many things into one.

Blended: combined or associated so that the separate constituents or the line of demarcation cannot be distinguished. Although the many services a carrier has to offer may come from many sources, the key goal is to present those services to a user in a seamless fashion.

Composite Application: an application built by combining multiple services. A favorite term in Service Oriented Architecture circles, “Composite Application” implies an integration of multiple services into one. This functional integration is essential in delivering blended services.

Mashup: a web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience. A mashup is an example of a composite application. However, all composite applications are not mashups. The term “mashup” implies a Web 2.0 look and feel, an “integrated experience” in cyberspace.

I propose that all this blending and convergence and mashing up is irrelevant without personalization.

Personalize: to make personal or individual. The key is to blending services is to meet the particular needs of individual subscribers, not the amorphous needs of the masses. This requires Identity to govern the blend. It is as if I were to walk to our kitchen and blend up a smoothie with strawberries, bananas, yogurt, ice, sugar and a few drops of vanilla. My recipe, my blend, my mashup so to speak. Yours will be different. I think that is what communications carriers want to deliver. Why should they care? Because we demand it – and probably deserve it. And because we’ll move on to the next carrier if we don’t get what we want. People are funny that way.

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