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Business

It's all in the pitch

Sometimes the quick marketing of new technologies can mask the real issues.
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Written by Brian Haverty, Contributor on


commentary Sometimes the quick marketing of new technologies can mask the real issues.
More and more I seem to be reminded of that Steve Martin gag, where he professed to have the secret to being a millionaire, and never paying taxes. -Yes", he tells us, -you can have one million dollars, and never pay taxes!" Then he reveals the first step: -Very simple ââ,¬" first, get a million dollars . . ."

So many of the IT -solutions" offered up to us these days are about as much help. Of course, when you're trying to grab someone's attention, you can't get too technical in the marketing game, but still some pitches are not much more than: first, get a million dollars.

Last month, we were talking about storage, and one of the big pitches here is for the very laudable-sounding information lifecycle management (ILM).

First, categorise your information according to importance. Good Luck with that one.

There's no doubt that with the incredible amount of information we're all forced to manage, that we have to come up with ways of handling data of differing importance in different ways. Keep it on high-speed disk devices if it's needed right away, on lower-cost mass storage devices if it's less critical, or on tape if the data just needs to be archived for record-keeping purposes.

That all sounds straightforward enough, but the step of determining which of your masses of data goes where is the kicker. First, categorise your information according to importance. Good luck with that one.

Perhaps part of each item of stored information should include a tag that shows how often that item is accessed ââ,¬" something like that field in my iTunes software that tells me how often a song has been played (now that column is beginning to make sense!). And how easy will it be to alter those criteria you come up with for information when values change in the future?

If you need help in determining what information is ready for the archival stage, you might want to have a look at this month's cover story on the various hardware options available.

And what about information gathering? It seems that everywhere you look these days people are talking about RFID (radio frequency identification) projects. Thankfully, we seem to be getting beyond the hysteria phase regarding this technology (though I have a feeling that even this brief mention will get a few of the foil hat crowd writing in to say how RFID is spelling the end of the world for personal privacy).

This month I will be participating in the RFID World event to be held at Sydney's Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 16th to 18th. The event will cover everything from understanding the real value of RFID to evaluating prospects for RFID projects in Asia-Pacific. I noticed that Gillette Australia's RFID project manager will be presenting, hopefully he won't be forced to yet again defend that company's supply chain RFID efforts and how they got mixed up with another in-store application that occurred in the UK.

All this is not to say that RFID is a totally innocuous technology, but the issues that should be foremost in developers' minds are how that identification data is handled and for what purpose it is collected. They're the kind of concerns that crop up with any new technology, and that is where the focus should be.

What are your thoughts on RFID? Is it a technology that you can see your organisation benefiting from? Or is it one that is not yet ready for prime time?

Brian Haverty is Editorial Director of ZDNet Australia. Send your comments to edit@zdnet.com.au.

This article was first published in Technology & Business magazine.
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