RFP Analysis

We're responding to a RFP for a strategic assessment of using RFID in a library environment. This is right in our bailiwick and we're very excited by the opportunity.

I've written before about responding to a RFP, and how the time lag between preparing the RFP and releasing it can affect the actual work to be done.

Here, and possibly over the next few days, I want to write more about how we respond to a RFP, and the proposal process.

The first thing that we do, is review the RFP, and discuss it informally; we may even include one or more of our partners in the discussion, as appropriate. During this first review, we start listing questions that we might ask of the contracting officer. The result is to determine if we are interested, or not; if the customer fits into our portfolio; if we have the time and resources to do an excellent job on both the proposal and the contract; if a budget is cited, does it seem realistic; and then if we need to involve a partner firm, and if they're interested.

Now we start going into a detailed analysis of the RFP and any related specifications or background information. Borrowing from our own strategic assessments, we do a verification and validation matrix coupled with a SWOT. Each defined requirement about the Scope or Statement of Work, Consultancy background, references & experiences, proposal layout, any technical specifications and any details on the business or IT environment are summarized, and matched against our historical or potential responses to similar requirements. For each requirement, we also look at how it plays to our strengths or against our weaknesses, as well as what opportunity the requirement opens up for us and what competitive threat or inherent risk it may pose.

This helps us to firm up questions that we might ask, as well as solidify our approach in the proposal.

The next step is adjusting our templates to the required layout and starting to write. But more on that as we go along.

Better Customer Support

I've made other posts about the downward spiral in Customer Support, whether through outsourcing, downsizing or other cost cutting measures.

Here, I would like to talk about responsive Customer Support. We use ServerBeach to host our machines. They are an "unmanaged" hosting facility. That is, they take care of the network and hardware, we take care of the software, system administration and database administration tasks. Much as in any IT shop, separating data center operations from SA, DBA, Application Engineering & SME work. There is a grey area though, with the OS. We subscribe to RedHat Linux ES3 through ServerBeach. Some things they handle, some things we handle, and it often isn't clear which is which.

We recently needed another module added to the kernel. Through some miscommunication, it wasn't apparent if this module was simply an update (SB would do) or required a custom kernel build (SB would do for cash or we could do it). This wasn't an emergency nor did it bring down the server. It will allow us to add services to our planned TeleInterActive Networks service.

The back and forth trough the ticketing system got to Chris. Chris has handled our tickets in the past as well. Whenever the ticket gets to Chris, he sticks with it, and the issue gets resolved to our satisfaction.

We want to publicly thank Chris for his good work on our behalf.

On Our Way

This was our view over Crystal Springs Reservoir on our way to a meeting in San Mateo...

Fog over Crystal Springs

The Problem with 802.15 Wireless PAN

IEEE 802.15 concentrates on wireless PAN for a variety of purposes:

  • Task Group 1a - WPAN 15.1 Revisions to Bluetooth (R) v1.2 published 2002 June 14
  • Task Group 2 - WPAN interoperability so that all those devices in the 2.4GHz don't interfere with each other, i.e. coexistence of 802.15 and 802.11 [WiFi] devices
  • Task Group 3a - WPAN Alternate High Rate MAC and PHY
  • Task Group 3b - WPAN 15.3 Maintenance
  • Task Group 4a - WPAN Alternate Low Rate MAC and PHY
  • Task Group 4b - WPAN 15.4 Revisions and Enhancements
  • Task Group 5 - WPAN Mesh Networking

UWB and WiMedia fall into 802.15.3 - There is no standard approved as yet. Proponents of UWB have been claiming for years that they will kill off Bluetooth - but there are neither products nor standards on which to base products. WiMedia wants to connect your [TiVo or Windows or... remember Sun Jini?] media center computer to your TV, stereo, etc. But 802.11 a or g or upcoming n do a great job of that.

ZigBee (TM) falls under 802.15.4 and finally had its standard approved on 2004 December 14. But if you check out ZigBee.org, there are still no products. ZigBee concentrates on low-power, low-duty-cylce needs replacing feedback loops for control circuits and sensors. According to their web site, their initial markets include home control, building automation and industrial automation.

Compare these lack of products with WiFi, other 802.11 derivatives and Bluetooth where products generally are announced in advance of the standards being ratified, with compliant products being announced near simultaneously with standards announcements. Bluetooth and WiFi have their markets identified and fill consumer needs or desires. ZigBee comes closest to doing this with its focus on sensors and controls requireing only a low duty-cycle, and I'll do a further study on ZigBee soon. But without clearly defined user needs, these standards are unlikely to make much of an impact in the marketplace.

Wireless in California Parks

The TeleInterActive Lifestyle refers to the work and living habits of anyone who needs or wants to interact with information remotely. I am one of those who likes to be with nature. Sparks of my creativity seem to be kindled by the beauty of nature. I can be productive in a quiet place surrounded by nature.

One of my favorite California State Parks is Angel Island. I love to just sit on the benches there with the nice view of the SF Bay Area. I think it is refreshing and peaceful. I have always thought that it will be nice to spend a day working in Angel Island sitting on one of the picnic table areas or benches. Maybe even blog the whole day there. &#59;D

Connectivity may soon be possible. According to an article by the New York Times Wireless Deal for California Parks , “The state last week announced a deal with SBC Communications to provide wireless Internet access points in 85 state parks. Now park visitors can take laptop computers and other portable devices to connect to the Internet from areas formerly known as 'wilderness'."

Yes, I'm hopeful that wireless connectivity becomes a reality in Angel Island soon ...

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The TeleInterActive Lifestyle is about the business processes, life choices, management challenges and technical issues facing organizations and individuals as individuals and organizations adopt the Internet of Things, Mixed Reality, wireless networks of all levels, mobile devices, long-distance collaboration, social networks, digital transformation, and adjust to growing urbanization.

Sensor Analytics Ecosystems for the Internet of Things (SAEIoT) brings value from emerging technologies through data management and analytics, advances in data science, as the IoT matures through the 5Cs: Connection, Communication, Contextualization, Collaboration and Cognition. The socialization of machines will allow for Privacy, Transparency, Security and Convenience to be flexibly provided with two-way accountability to build Trust among Humans and Machines.

AsDataArchon, we have evolved our consulting data scientist work from learning how to incorporate sensor analytics into data warehouses, business intelligence and analytics to focusing on IoT data management and forming sensor analytics ecosystems.

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