Monthly Archives: February 2015

How cities are searching for solutions among massive mounds of data

Description: In mid-2011, New York found itself gripped by a series of horrible tragedies: Five people, including several children, had died in blazes that broke out in overcrowded, decrepit apartments that were literally disasters waiting to happen.

Source: theglobeandmail.com

Date: February 5, 2015

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Mr. Flowers, now a visiting scholar at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, is at the forefront of what he rightly describes as a “revolution” in the way local governments deliver services.

By making smarter use of their vast storehouses of operational information – everything from traffic counts and readings gathered by air-quality sensors to date stamps on business-licence applications – municipalities may be able to prevent deaths, boost quality of life, improve their operations, and reduce costs. In such sprawling city-regions as Greater Toronto, planners are trying to go a step further by using extensive transportation surveys, granular census data and sophisticated computer forecasts to model demand for multibillion-dollar transit lines.     Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

1.  What type of problems or opportunities do you see municipal governments being able to improve or resolve as a result of using data they already have?

2.  Should municipal govt. allow outside organizations access to this data or keep it in-house?

Twitter strikes deal for tweets to appear in Google searches

Description: Twitter Inc. has struck a deal with Google Inc. to make its 140-character updates more searchable online..

Source:  theglobeandmail.com

Date: February 5, 2015

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In the first half of this year, tweets will start to be visible in Google’s search results as soon as they’re posted, thanks to a deal giving the Web company access to Twitter’s firehose, the stream of data generated by the microblogging service’s 284 million users, people with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday. Google previously had to crawl Twitter’s site for the information, which will now be visible automatically.   Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why did twitter make this deal with Google?
  2. What is the revenue model for Twitter?

How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Description: When Microsoft stock was at a record high in 1999, and its market capitalization was nearly $620 billion, the notion that Apple Computer would ever be bigger — let alone twice as big — was laughable.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Jan 29, 2015

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Mr. Gates “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.”
“He knows he can’t win,” Mr. Gates said then of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
But less than two decades later, Apple has won. How this happened contains some important lessons — including for Apple itself, if it wants to avoid Microsoft’s fate. Apple, after all, is now as dependent on the success of one product line — the iPhone accounted for 69 percent of its revenue — as Microsoft once was with Windows. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, a radical idea when IBM mainframes took up entire rooms. But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. That computer also just happened to be a phone, the most ubiquitous consumer device in the world. Apple ended up disrupting two huge markets. Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:
1. How did Apple overtake Microsoft in becoming more valuable?
2. How would you describe Apples strategy using one of Porter’s generic competitive strategies?