What better event to show a new mashup than Web 2.0 Summit? Except that parties involved aren't just-born-yesterday startups like you might expect at a show where five minutes ago seems like five hours ago.
Cisco Systems used IBM's Mashup Center to build a mashup that lets users convert feeds from a physical video surveillance camera into an app that security personnel can manipulate by clicking a mouse.
The IBM-Cisco mashup, which took eight hours to build, also enables users to execute instant messaging chats via IBM Lotus Sametime so that security workers can communicate in real time. In short, Cisco exposed an API to its devices, IBM created a widget representation of it and put it into Mashup Center.
The idea, which IBM and Cisco landed on a month ago, is to take something from the physical realm, digitize it and render it more actionable in a business context via a mashup, a composite app made up of other apps. IBM happens to have a boatload on such technologies and is widely considered a mindshare leader in the space.
Mindshare, not market share, because the enterprise market for mashups has yet to take off. To wit, there are no current plans to productize the mashup. One wonders whether there is even a call for such technologies in the surveillance industry. What would 007 say?
That didn't stop IBM Fellow Rod Smith, also a vice president of emerging technologies, and Guido Jouret, CTO of emerging markets for Cisco, demonstrated the mashup here today. Jouret noted:
"What's unusual about what we showcased is that you think about Web 2.0 and a lot of people are saying 'I can take my RSS feed and splice it into something else. It's possible to widgetize, or represent in a very graphical way, things that people don't ordinarily think of as being Web 2.0, and the most remote example we could come up with is a video surveillance camera, but you could take that logic and apply it to a digital sign, to any kind of physical object that's capable of receiving or sending rich media."
Jouret said there are a lot of productivity apps where rich media can be used, but one of the barriers is that it's hard to program and integrate these devices together.
If you represent something as a widget, non-programmers can splice it, integrate it and connect. Physical security is a good space to target because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, he said.
That's where IBM's Mashup Center came in. The tool lets non-technical users remix text, audio and video content from Web sites, feeds, spreadsheets, databases and apps to forge new apps.