This eWEEK - 7

Will businesses heed the siren song of relatively cheap, widely accessible online applications?

I recently read a New Yorker article about Gordon Bell, an industry stalwart now at Microsoft who has amassed one of the largest personal electronic archives in the world, including scanned e-mails, photographs, recordings, phone calls, IM exchanges, health and other records, various collections, and so on. One could, in theory, reconstruct any day in the life of Bell.

I was reminded of that story when I read Senior Writer Renee Boucher Fergusons Road Map articles this week on new efforts to harness RFID to gather and store information about manufactured items as they move along the supply chain. Just as Bells archive could be used to determine where he was on the evening of June 18, 2007, RFID technology could be used to determine, for example, where in the supply chain a particular problem had occurred.

This makes sense, but, as Renee explains, the challenges are mammoth and myriad, with concerns ranging from privacy to security to bandwidth to storage.

Working to overcome some of these challenges are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and SAP, working together to determine whether proposed network architectures will be able to support RFIDs use in the collaborative fashion the supply chain calls for.

Renee has done a terrific job of putting complex technology and topics into perspective in the package that begins on Page 25. eWeek Labs Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant adds some much-needed perspective to the topic of online applications. Googles online office productivity applications are indeed alluring—it seems theres not a day here at eWeek that we dont find some reason to create a new Google spreadsheet or calendar to share information among our far-flung reporters and editors.

Now that Google has come out with Google Apps Premier, and with the release of Ciscos Web_Office service, will businesses heed the siren song of relatively cheap, widely accessible online applications? Starting on Page 39, Cameron explains the benefits and drawbacks of depending on online software.

And, speaking of Google, check out for more on Google apps, as well as some compelling coverage about the companys privacy practices. Has the bloom gone off the Google rose?