Yesterday (May 29th 2009) I did attend SOLARCON in Singapore.
One afternoon of overlook of Solar energy business.
- the market is very promising, a lot of nice charts that show a wonderful market in … 2100
- The ecosystem is not ready.
For example, for PV panels are done using silicon, historically, silicon market is shared by 8 big players. Today, 120 companies are ramping up in china. The forecast is to keep 20-30 players.
The prices went from 140$ / kg to 60 $/kg. No real idea of forecast.
- The grid parity (solar electricity at competitive price) should be reached in 2012 in area with high electricity coast / lot of sun like Italy and California.
- Current crisis has an impact on development : big investments are needed, and banks to not loan money these days.
- The technology is improving a lot, often, so investment done today may be obsolete soon
- Biggest countries (US, India, China) recently announced big plans to increase solar part in electricity production. Because they think green…and also because it’s a good way to develop economy during the crisis.
To meet these targets of solar electricity production for 2030, the production of solar panel have to be 9 times bigger than what it is this year… for the next 20 years.. (sounds crazy, no ?)
- To sustain ecosystem, all players ask the governments to give grants and to fix the electricity rates.
- Smartgrid is mandatory for efficient solar electricity production.
My feeling after these presentations is good, but a lot of very big investments have to be done, it will take time.
Politics help will be needed to sustain these very long term investments.
[Update 2012 : it seems twitter do not keep old tweets, the link below does not work anymore today]
During the presentations, I’ve updated my twitter using the #solarcon tag (surprisingly, nobody else did this), so you can find my notes there.
If you ask yourself what 2.0 can bring to your company, and especially to knowledge management, I recommend you this very good presentation.
It’s available on slideshare, done by people from T-System.
I found it very interesting and very helpful.
In this post, Steve explains why, now the time is for realtime Web and especially twitter and that the old static RSS is dead.
I’ve been using RSS for a long time to follow websites and blogs, and twitter for 5 months now.
For twitter I’m user with around 220 followers, 190 followings.
Part of these RSS feeds are … twitter search (for my company for example) or to follow key people (like @lancearmstrong). This is a very rich and useful source of information.
What I like (love) in twitter is :
- it’s fast, immediate : when something happen, I can see, feel it. Today, the realtime Web” become more and more important. Tools like twitter, friendfeed really bring something totally new. I love it.
- it’s easy to find new people that are interesting for me : following the @ discussions, or using tools that suggest me people to follow, I can easily find new very interesting people
- it’s simple : no complicated features (except all these @replies parameters…), the usage is immediate as soon as you go on www.twitter.com
- search is very powerfull : because people post their blog entries on google, because people discuss on google, the realtime search is very powerful and always bring me very good results and inputs. This is today my main reason to use twitter.
What I like (love) in RSS is :
- it’s reliable : no issue, it works
- it’s quiet. When you’re in Google, there’s a lot of noise (a lot of discussions that are not interesting for me). In my rss reader, I follow my favorite websites and just them. In a quick check (few minutes),I check information about my company, about me, about some hot topic. I cannot do that in twitter
- I can organize information by categories. In twitter i cannot do that.
- I can know what I’ve read / not read. For some blogs, I want to have a look (at least on the title) on every post, in Google reader, it’s very easy
- the information is immediately accessible. In twitter, I see a link, with a shorten url on which I’ve to click to see more. With RSS in Google reader, I see the title of the article in big, and immediately after, the post itself. It’s very powerful to go throw a huge number of posts.
- a lot of tools exist to manage RSS feeds. I use Google reader online, especially because i use several PCs, so it’s important for me to be able to access MY feeds every time, everywhere, but other nice clients exist.
- RSS can bring to me information from many sources : blogs, twitter, social networks like linkedin, … in a single, coherent place.
As many people, to work day to day, I use outlook which is a corporate tool, and gmail for my private emails, because it’s free and convenient.
Of course, outlook is a good tool, this is why we use it.
What I like much in outlook is :
- it’s working quite fine : no major issues,
- performances are good, management of poor connections is fine
- the agenda management is great and very useful in compagny context,
- the synchronization with my blackberry is efficient
- it’s fully integrated with windows, no need to login again
- Outlook is fully integrated with other Microsoft tools (office, MOCS, portal), and it’s convenient
But… When I compare it to gmail I use for personal purpose… I’m disappointed, and I m sure some functionality are missing to make my life better, and make my job more efficient.
- In gmail, mails are organized by conversations, and not just listed like in outlook.
This is really a great feature to make emails easily accessible.
I’ve tried to reproduce it in outlook, but with no success. The tool is not design for it, so it does not really work.
- In gmail, mails can be tagged. this is also great and efficient for me (instead of putting emails in different folders, you can access by tag or by the full list of emails)
- Search is of course very good (engine by Google), so you can very easily retrieve emails base on sender name or keywords, which is really more painful in outlook
- I can access to my mailbox from every PCs in the world, with no limitation, with the same level of functionality. This is a key point for me. Daily I use 3 different pcs + my blackberry. I can access my mailbox easily on all these pcs.
- No backup issue. With outlook, part of my emails are on the exchange server and so are backuped by compagny servers, put a huge amount is store in separate pst files…
That are stored on my laptop…
I ve to do manual backup of it, and I do not like
- all my emails are always accessible (no special pst folder, no size limit the 2gb limit for outlook
- in gmail, I ve access to all my friends via IM and video chat (which can be done by additional product by Microsoft)
- Gmail is integrated with google reader : To follow my rss feeds, I use googlereader. When I want to send an article by email from Google reader… It uses my gmail account
- Gmail propose often new features, I can implement if I want to (via googlelabs)
So why do we continue to use outlook, what could trigger a change to gmail ?
Outlook / exchange is a company level decision, all the considerations in this post are only for the client point of view, so to assess to gap before a switch, it would be necessary to consider full picture, but the major issue I see today is : to use gmail, you need to trust Google about data confidentiality and safety.
In business the confidentiality of information that go throw emails is essential( I do not care about it for my personal stuff).
Today we are even using additional tools to encrypt confidential email we exchange.
Going to Google or other SAAS solution would be a huge concern for this.
I do not see today how to solve it and secure people about it.
I’m sure it will come, but I do not see when.
The situation is the same with people that were afraid to put their money to the bank and prefer to keep it at home in a small box…
The arguments were the same… “if I give it to the bank I do not know where it is, what will they do with this …”
But finally… now everybody use banks, because it’s easier, safer, so … should be the same for emails…soon
A few words about my music experience.
I think he’s right.
The evolution we’ve seen in musci business since 25 years is amazing.
Here’s my own experience.
1 – The 80’s.
I remember in the 80’s when only a few computers were able to produce (bad) sounds that we called music.
At this point of time, I did not listen any music on PC, but all my music (I was so young…) was on vinyl disks or tapes.
Buy a new disk or tape was a big deal : need to decide, go to the shop. We used to buy small disks with 2 songs on it.
2 – The 90’s
Then came the CDs, a first revolution :
- quality was very good (we called it “perfect”)
- it became very easy to go from a song to another, no “rewind” needed !
- it was supposed to be “indestructible”, especially compare to vinyls or tapes.
- it was possible t copy them with no loss, even if at the beginning it was very expensive to buy the blank disks.
Today I still have around 300 CDs, that I’ve bought in the last 20 years.
3 -And then internet…
When peer-to-peer networks became famous (kazaa, napster), I started to used them in the early 2000, to download a lot of music, especially some songs I’d never buy because music was too expensive, but were very famous.
It was amazing to see the speed for a download (even using the poor phone connection).
I started to buy music online in 2005.
Why buy when it’s possible to just download it ?
Main reasons for me were :
- I do not like to stole (maybe old fashion.. but true)
- the music I can find on peer to peer networks is not always high qualitiy, and the mp3 tags are not always up to date. This is very important for me to be able to manage the music
- the price. At this point of time, in Europe, the price of a CD was about 20 Euros (30 usd), and online, the price was 9.9 Euros( 15USD)
- you get the music immediately : you hear something, you like it, you can buy it immediatly (I know you can also stole it, but i prefer to buy !)
The main problem I’ve with this downloaded music is the protection embebded.
I use wma files with DRM. I encounter time to time issues (for which I need to call the vendor).
Every time my PC crash … it’s a new story to find again the licenses
Until now, I’ve bought around 500 songs (ie around 40 albums)
In the mean time, I still continue to buy CDs, when I found cheap ones (in fact I buy them if the price is lower than buying online).
When I buy a cd, the first thing I do is to put it in the PC to extract the mucic in mp3 format to have it available on all my devices.
Today , the situation is quite nice :
– all my music is on 1 PCs in a nice library, well organized.
– from this PC I can update all my mp3 devices
– I keep the CD, but seldom access them (only to play them on my old CD machine).
Finally, I started to used the new online music systems : deezer, and now spotify.
I really love spotifiy. Now I use it to listen music at home.
I like to be able to find a lot of different music, and to have it available for free, immediately, even if it s only streaming.
So, what is next ?
For me, system like spotify is perfect, but I need few enhancements to only use it :
- to be able to “download” the music I like on some mp3 devices to be able to listen to them not connected to the internet.
- to have a better management of my library (not just simple playlist).
- to imporve the social part of it : having my friend using it and sharing new songs / artists we discover
To be followed….