Research Questions

Where we brainstorm the broad collection of items to consider...

PROCESS: Please enter your responses to the research question by adding to the list below, most easily done by moving yor cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. You may list as many items as you wish (and we hope you will!), but please list each item separately -- that is, if you say wish to list widget1, process2, and idea3 as important, please list each item as a separate bullet point, as we will be rank ordering these later.

Please indicate your work by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is update like - alan alan Jun 25, 2009

Research Question One

What would you list among the established technologies that growth-focused small to medium businesses should all be using broadly today to support or enhance business practices in marketing, collaboration, customer service, and productivity?

NOTE: Because this question is about "established" technologies, answers should be easy to support with actual examples and pointers to demonstration projects.

  • Cloud Computing. Aspects of computing that used to be considered expensive, like disk storage and computing cycles, are now becoming cheap and ubiquitous. Cloud computing refers to processing and storage that occurs in a shared and networked computing environment, such as Amazon EC2 and S3 or a campus data center. Specialized applications like Flickr live entirely in the cloud; there is no single computer, or even specific group of computers, that can be pointed to as housing Flickr, Google, or YouTube. Three types of services are associated with the cloud: cloud-based applications; the infrastructure on which to build such applications (; and sheer computing resources, like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud ( or the GoGrid ( [...from the 2009 Horizon Report Short List] - Larry Larry Jul 1, 2009 Established Cloud based tools such as Google Docs ( and Zoho ( are good examples of how this type of computing is taking off.- KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 Good article by Cisco techologist about how the iphone is a good metaphor of how cloud computing is maturing ( - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 eyeOS ( is an open source Operating System, where everything (desktop and applications) can be used from everywhere through a web browser. ThinkFree ( is a Microsoft Office compatible application suite usable online and offline through PC and other Internet connected devices. - Iolanda Iolanda Jul 12, 2009 Cloud computing is the direction that most are headed, yet there seems to be lots of ideas on what it really is; the following provides some interesting perspective as well as a list of the Top 10 companies to watch( CarolS CarolS Jul 12, 2009 Amazon Web Services has an education program, including free accounts for students - - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Collaborative Environments. Online collaborative environments range from shared document editors like Google Docs (, to openly editable websites like wikis, to social networking sites that include profiles and communication tools to add a sense of connectedness and community along with tools for shared work. In the physical world, university and corporate campuses alike are adding carefully designed spaces intended to promote collaboration by providing comfortable, group-friendly areas equipped with the creature comforts and basic necessities of working in today’s world: clustered seating, coffee, electricity, and wireless Internet connectivity. [...from the 2009 Horizon Report Short List]- Larry Larry Jul 1, 2009 Archivd is an online collaboration tool that offers unique vizualization tools and automation features. ( KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 HyLighter ( offers functionalities for collaborative document review along with other for discussion and sharing about the review process. Versionate ( provides shared spaces where directly creating and editing content, storing and managing documents and files that can be browsed like on the personal desktop. SocialGo ( and Ning ( are web based technology platforms with diverse features that allow easy creation of social networked communities (multiple design applications, customization, privacy settings, etc.)- Iolanda Iolanda Jul 12, 2009 Project management, collaboration - Base Camp from 37 signals and Adobe's with Buzz Word and PDFs online in beta- laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009laurie burruss
  • Converging Imaging Technology Still cameras now can shoot good (and in some cases excellent) HD video. Examples include the recent Canon and Nikon SLRs as well as point and shoots from Canon (PowerShot and Elph), Nikon (Coolpix), Sony (Cybershot), Casio (Exilim), Panasonic (Lumix) and Olympus. The point and shoot still cameras are commonplace now with great resolution and quality and can be used by students to capture video much like the pocket video cameras (Flip, Vado, Zi6) do. The gold standard is the upcoming RED Epic Scarlet camera system due out later this summer or early fall. ( While a device like this is not commonplace, its less expensive relatives are mainstream. Such devices give users more creative power within one device, saving time and money. Many are sugesting the video, editing, and publishing capabilitis of the iPhone 3Gs will eclipse the markey share that Flip has carved out. - alan alan Jul 1, 2009 YouTube sees 400% mobile uploads increase since video capable iPhone 3GS launch - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Mobiles / Mobile Apps. New interfaces, the ability to connect to wifi and GPS in addition to a variety of cellular networks, and the availability of third-party applications have created an almost entirely new device with nearly infinite possibilities for education, networking, and personal productivity. The implications for commerce are dramatic: the potential for sales, customer service solutions, mobile gaming and simulation, and tools for learning of all kinds is there, awaiting development. [...from the 2009 Horizon Report Short List]- Larry Larry Jul 1, 2009 TechCrunch reports a potential growth area in medicine- the first being soundAMP, an iPhone app that acts like a hearing aid - alan alan Jul 7, 2009 Also, iPhone apps that put business services, such as the ability to accept credit cards, in your pocket - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 Innerfence is developing such a credit card app for the iPhone. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 Several of these already available - go to iTunes and enter "accept credit card" - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Professional Networking Spaces Many educators have a digital footprint in social networking sites such a Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and others. Whilst following people on Facebook, and then Twitter and then Delicious is possible, it would make sense for this information to be 'piped' into the one place. So these applications are like yahoo pipes but actually connects people with like colleagues and allows you to follow conversations, recommendations, and opinions across their digital footprint. Ultimately this will become the default e-portfolio for those people who are building their reputation through profiling within networks.....not unlike Linked-in for educators. This is sometimes discussed in the scope of "Personal Learning Environments" Also, new affinity and interesting matching services like and - alan alan Jul 1, 2009 Also, as social networks profliferate and become standard tools, ways to better organize multiple services at once eases the flood waters of data. FriendFeed is a good example of this. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 BuddyPress is a social networking tool from Wordpress for groups and/or networks - laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009laurie burruss
  • Small Communication Tools Microblogging tools (Twitter, Facebook) are being put to all sorts of creative uses. Since they can be accessed through the web, through SMS, or with special apps for the iPhone and Android phones, they are available all the time. The recent explosion in Twitter and Facebook apps are tools for better management of these social networking sites. These include TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop, Tweetie for Desktop and iPhone,Twitterific for iphone and desktop, EventBox, Nambu and Twittelator for the iPhone. Check out the Digital Divas project which uses colloborative communication tools to inspire girls to engage with IT and consider careers in this industry. The potential for outreach using these tools is huge. - ninmah ninmah Jul 1, 2009 I added the URL for the Digital Divas project. I think this is it. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Virtual Worlds and 3D Multimodal environments Significant investment continues in these kinds of environments for learning focused institutions. They currently afford multi-player role play, open-ended exploration and immersion, real and simulated business and corporate models, simulations and game-based environments that can contribute to real training and education in 3D spaces. As these are further developed and mashed up with other social and collaborative technologies, geo-spatial databases and mapping services, mobile technologies and others, their potential to enhance teaching, learning, research and creative expression and blend virtual and real spaces and experiences will only increase.- Larry Larry Jul 1, 2009 This is not a recent article, but the ideas or worth noting about virtual world interoperability and its impact on business, entertainment, etc. From Cnet news : - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Dynamic Web Publishing Platforms The field previously known as web design, requiring knowledge and hand or software coding of CSS, HTML etc, is being eclipsed by database template driven systems (e.g. WordPress, Google Sites, Sqaurespace so that small businesses and organizations can create professional, dynammic sites without as much technical knowledge as before. See also People Powered Magazines or "printcasting" - alan alan Jul 1, 2009
  • Social or Community Tagging Applying keywords to media, like videos, images, blog posts, etc. Tools like Flickr, Delicious, and YouTube are good tagging places, and tags make it easy to customize RSS feeds for information that updates itself. When customers do this for you, it's even more powerful. - ninmah ninmah Jul 1, 2009 Connotea ( is a free online reference management tool for researchers, clinicians and scientists. It represents a new concept of systems like, that follows from doing more in-depth analysis of what is really interesting to be bookmarked from each web page, extracting the key parts of the content instead of focusing on the URL.- Iolanda Iolanda Jul 12, 2009
  • Layered Information The ability of a number of users to construct layers of different types of data; for instance, layering images, video clips, text, and links onto a map. This can be quite simple, like dragging Flickr photos onto a map to annotate a place, or it can be more involved, as a Google Earth tour that includes pop-ups with multimedia information related to specific "stops" or places (see - ninmah ninmah Jul 1, 2009
  • Social Cobrowsing Using the social/collaborative tools of the web to do activities together online that were previously solitary; add elements of chat, annotation as layers of content. Examples include diigo for web bookmarking, BookGlutton for reading and marking up books together online, SeeToo for watching videos together, Centrl for viewing maps together - alan alan Jul 3, 2009
  • Video Editing and storytelling Might not be as sexy and new as some of the other entries here, but video is still under-utilized and very powerful as a communication and training medium for advertising and internal and external learning - lynda lynda Jul 7, 2009lynda. I completely agree! And with new handhelds like the Flip Mino HD and distribution tools like YouTube and iTunes U, video is easier than ever - Larry Larry Jul 7, 2009 Look ahead, iPhone 3GS is described everywhere as the "Flip Killer" for quality and YouTube publishing though Lynda's original description here is focused on the craft; c.f. Storytelling for Business and Dana Atchley's early work for Coke as well as Fast Company "Whats Your Story" - alan alan Jul 7, 2009 Vuvox, Voice thread, Veeple - laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009laurie burruss
  • Subscription models for monetizing products and services We are seeing a change from one time purchases to ongoing subscription models, especially the free lite (but still very useful) version with a step-up to a monthly or annual cost service for professional or commercial use. It helps people figure out how to use the service for free, then encourages entrepreneurial activity. Google Apps, Vimeo, flickr, for example.- CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 Witness the hubub over Chris Anderson's new book "Free" GigaOm published a recent story about this, "Maybe 'Paid" is the Future of Online Business" which discusses Chris Anderson's book and social networking sites - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 Don't forget - laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009laurie burruss
  • Marketing through managed outreach (e.g. iContact) - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 I would include the book Groundswell as a good reference for this topic. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Engaging the customer base through facilitating social networking. For example, Blue States Digital managed the Obama campaign. - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 Again, I would also include the book Groundswell as a nice summary of this engagement of the customer base - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Facilitating virtual work teams Using tools such as Basecamp to help people work together to reach a goal; seamless desktop and application sharing (e.g. Citrix); and desktop phone and/or video conferencing (e.g. Adobe Connect, Skype) - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 New web-based project management software Projecturf - alan alan Jul 10, 2009 The suite of Zoho tools offer good collaboration options for workers too. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Short-form, web-based video for training, product and service display. For example, 3 min or less videos (YouTube, Vimeo) to explain, describe or showcase products and services. - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 7, 2009 See also Wonder How and HowCast -- while not video format, the design of Instructables are compelling - alan alan Jul 8, 2009
  • Serious Games. More and more people in the job pool were raised playing video games, and are used to learning in that modality. This has been particularly recognized in the military and the health-care fields, both of which have used game developers to produce games that teach their respective subjects through traditional gameplay. A great deal more information can be found at - NoahD NoahD Jul 7, 2009
  • The gathering and use of customer metrics. Many small businesses don’t have a good measure of who their customers are. This is a crucial step in being able to effectively use social networking tools as well as plan and execute 21st century marketing campaigns.- rherrera rherrera Jul 8, 2009 Google Analytics - everyone is using this - laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009laurie burruss
  • Online backup. Very few organizations take backing up their files seriously, or if they do they only back up to external hard drive and leave that hard drive in the same room as the rest of their equipment. Online services like give a simple and fairly cheap way to way to collocate your backups.- jeffmonday jeffmonday Jul 9, 2009 I would lump online backup with Cloud Computing services? - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 A great alternative is online/offline storage like offered by - if the data is constantly mirrored in multiple locations, backup is obsolete. - amichaelberman amichaelberman
  • "Getting Things Done system for personal productivity. Most entrepreneur (small to medium size business owners) do everything from setting the mission and vision of the business to taking out the trash. Automating actionable todo's is incredibly easy with the help of iPhone and Omni Group's, Omni Focus jeffmonday jeffmonday Jul 9, 2009 See also Nozbe - - for another online GTD tool that has an iPhone counterpart. - ninmah ninmah Jul 9, 2009 A more traditional to-do list approach offered by which also has iPhone app - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Online business service support. One of our vendors uses FreshBooks to track time and invoice customers - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 9, 2009 FreshBooks is awesome - also see for bookkeeping and for scanning/organizing receipts - and all three communicate via API's. - amichaelberman amichaelberman
  • Personalized, data-base driven marketing. The power to create specific, marketing materials designed for sub-groups of customers. Tools like FileMaker Pro to create batches of highly-personalized materials. - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 9, 2009 Related to FileMaker Pro is the smaller sibling Bento which provides easy to use database functionality without having to deal with learning a complicated database, yet it can be incorporated into larger databases such as FileMaker Pro. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Twitter. Just in the last few months, Twitter has transformed from a celebrity-watch tool into a standard business practice. HR departments at big companies, such as AMD, are using Twitter as a recruiting tool. It makes sense as a real-time, up to the minute information source. People who are seeking jobs want to follow the thinking of the people who are making the hiring decisions. Plus, through the connections, you start to see who you know in common and you are that much closer to getting the job. Twitter is the real-time processing concept tossed around as part of Web 3.0, whatever that might mean. As one developer explained to me, he uses LinkedIn for professional contacts, Facebook to keep up with his friends, and Twitter to follow industry news. With Twitter, you can be inside the heads of the people who matter to you. - CynthiaScott CynthiaScott Jul 9, 2009 FYI we typically do not list a specific technology such as Twitter but the class of technologies it reopresentes such as "microbloggin" or "status messaging" - alan alan Jul 10, 2009 Like Twitter, there are also business centric Twitter-like services such as Yammer which are starting to become established ( KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 is another service which is similar to Twitter but is Open Source ( - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 This bullet, the Twitter bullet above and Small Communication tools further above can all be potentially lumped together.- KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Ubiquitous Capture technologies. Most mobile devices have ways to capture content. Audio to dos and memos, cloud note apps like Evernote ( and built in cameras on most phones these days allow people to capture visual ideas for inspiration effortlessly no matter where they are. A LifeHacker article by Kevin Purdy touches on this. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 I mentioned above - you can also photograph a receipt with your phone and email it to add it to your expense repository. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • CMS based web publishing for enterprise level sites. Businesses and Entertainment companies may implement content management systems as the back ends for their websites. Systems like Drupal and Joomla are point the way to this. Both are fairly mature CMS systems that are scalable, open source and have active developer communities. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 I would question whether Drupal and especially Joomla really scale well to the "enterprise" unless the enterprise is moderate-sized. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Seamless File Sharing. This really should probably go under the Cloud computing section, but things like and Dropbox are offering free and paid accounts that allow for seamless sharing of files between the desktop and the cloud. Google Docs sort of fits into this as does Apple's beta iWork service. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009 I think cloud computing is a platform and something like file sharing is an application - I would note applications separate from the platform while noting that cloud computing enables new classes of applications. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Viral Marketing and/or SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIMIZATION Burger King case study - laurieb laurieb Jul 12, 2009 GroundSwell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies (book). While this is not a technology or specific tool, it is a good book reference that specifically discusses how social technologies are impacting the business world. Its an interesting read and worth knowing about if you deal with business and want to integrate some of these technologies. - KeeneH KeeneH Jul 11, 2009
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk gives small and medium businesses access to a large flexible workforce for simple tasks, on demand. - amichaelberman amichaelberman Jul 13, 2009
  • Connotea ( is a free online reference management for researchers, clinicians and scientists. It represents a new concept of systems like, that follows from doing more in-depth analysis of what is really interesting to be bookmarked from each web page, extracting the key parts of the content instead of focusing on the URL.

This wiki page has been edited 65 times. The last modification was made by - ninmah ninmah on Sep 25, 2009 2:41 pm