April 22, 2005
 



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Posted: 01.10.05
Rethinking the Envelope
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For all the enterprise-focused products on the market, professionals are increasingly finding work-specific uses for their personal, consumer-oriented products. Perhaps this is the natural result of living in a tech-savvy culture; where a decade ago it was common for a person with a computer at work not to own one at home, today a personís home computer often outshines their office machine. Perhaps the more comfortable we become with technology in our personal lives, the more likely we are to see mainstream consumer products overlap into the workplace.  

By Michelle Maisto




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<p align="left">It seems, to a degree, that manufacturers also have this in mind. If once it was respectably high-tech to run a PowerPoint presentation off a laptop, today it's second choice to running one off a smartphone. In the Dec. 2004 issue of <em>Mobile Enterprise </em>, Teresa von Fuchs wrote that this is the preferred method of Cindy Patterson, Verizon Wireless' VP of enterprise data sales. “She sometimes carries a Compaq 7000 series LCD projector,” writes von Fuchs, “but ideally she runs presentations from her handhelds and smartphones. Her arsenal is always rotating.”
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<p align="left"> Think a smartphone doesn't necessarily qualify as a consumer device? Then how about the Apple iPod? With iPod Photo, users can plug into a projector or TV and run PowerPoint or Keynote, not to mention store a nearly unlimited number of contacts and calendar information (and you know it's already in your pocket anyway—now there's really no need for an additional device).</p>
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<p align="left">With other products, the lines are more blurred. Is it intended for the enterprise or the consumer market? <em>M.E. </em> columnist Tim Bajarin writes in this month's issue that he brought Apple's iSight with him on a recent business trip to Tokyo so he could video conference with his office in California—but realized it was equally, if not more, indispensable for checking in with his family (and particularly his new granddaughter).
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On the other end of the spectrum are the mobile users innovating uses for familiar products that likely even the manufacturer hadn't considered.<br>
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Currently, radiologists around the world are also using iPods—not just for music and PowerPoints but to share and store medical images. Osman Ratib, M.D., Ph.D. and professor and vice-chairman of radiologic services at UCLA, and Antoine Rosset, M.D., a radiologist in Geneva , Switzerland , recently developed OsiriX, a Mac-based freeware for displaying and manipulating complex medical images. The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reported:<br>
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“Radiologists deal with a very large amount of medical imaging data,” Dr. Ratib explains. “I never have enough space on my disk, no matter how big my disk is—I always need more space. One day I realized, I have an iPod that has 40 gigabytes of storage on it. It's twice as big as my disk on my laptop and I'm using only 10 percent of it for my music. So, why don't I use it as a hard disk for storing medical images?”</p>
<p> OsiriX behaves much like iTunes in that it detects the images and automatically lists them as available data. Doctors can copy them to other Macs or share them directly on their iPods. Additionally, OsiriX supports iChat; doctors are modifying Webcams to show the desktop instead of the user, so colleagues around the world can share and discuss images in real-time.<br>
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“We're not trying to reinvent something that's completely different,” RSNA quotes Dr. Ratib as saying. “We're trying to adapt to the very rapidly changing environment, and provide ourselves with tools that industry would take years to give us.”<br>

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In Woodstock , N.Y. , a musician transformed another undeniably consumer-focused product. Consider all the video clips and digital photos of negotiable quality filling memory cards of smartphones the world over. They were fun to take at the time, but what to do with them now? Fredo Viola turned 94 15-second video jpegs into a three minute and forty-two second music video for his composition, <strong>&quot;</strong><a href="http://www.fredoviola.com/the_sad_song.html"><strong>The Sad Song</strong></a>.&quot;</p>
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<p>“I had always wanted to use digital camera jpeg footage,” says Viola. “First of all, the ‘low-end' distortions, such as slow color balancing and iris changing during filming always struck me as kind of interesting. … I write music with a lot of multilayered vocals and wanted to visually represent that. It struck me that a panning shot traps spatial information in time. If I were to offset copies of the footage in space, and simultaneously offset their timing, I could create a kind of wide-angle shot. I tried it out on some footage and was really impressed with the results.”<br>
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Viola created the jpegs with a Nikon CoolPix camera and reconstructed them with AfterEffects; quite an encouraging example for all those camera-phone jpegs without a cause. Maybe the next development in this blurring of the line is a consumer using an enterprise/consumer product to create a professional product—for the manufacturer. How about a commercial for the Nokia 6620 composed entirely of video jpegs taken by the phone (and arranged by Viola)?<br>
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Turn off that PowerPoint and get Nokia on the line.

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