Munich

Ok, today I am in Zurich but yesterday I was in Munich so I will report on that.
Not much to say except we had a great visit with a senior SOA architect at O2. I can say a couple of things – they are definitely interested in SOA, and one of the interesting aspects the architect mentioned is the benefit of SOA in the context of standardizing IT terminology across projects and departments.
That had not really occurred to me before but it makes perfect sense – part of the problem created by “stovepiping” often includes language or terminology. People working on different projects can easily create their own definitions of words that have multiple potential interpretations (such as “service”).
It was also an interesting coincidence that I had visited Telefonica on Tuesday in Madrid, since Telefonica recently aquired O2. In fact some of the flat panels in the reception area were showing Telefonica ads already…
This fast pace of industry consolidation is one of the major reasons why the current SOA trend is so important – the way that applications talk to each other and share data really needs to be standardized.
One thing that I talk about frequently, and this meeting was no exception, is how the trend toward SOA has the potential to change industry dynamics. Most software consumers (although not yet all I would say) understand that SOA is not a technology but an approach – a blueprint or style of design for applying technology but not a technology itself (i.e. SOA is not CORBA or Web services or WebSphereMQ or Tuxedo or anything else, although you can use any of those and more to implement one).
This means to get the benefits of SOA the consumers have to start with the design – and often with the organizational, cultural, and skill set issues – rather than with the technology. And only then approach the software manufacturers to see whether their products meet the requirements to implement the design.
Up till now the industry has been more technology driven. Software manufacturers have been promoting their new technologies to the consumers, and telling them about their benefits. It is a little like car manufacturers telling you what kind of car to drive. The SOA trend could reverse this picture, which I believe would be a good thing.
I have to add that in Munich they are very excited about the World Cup. The initial match will be held in the new Munich stadium, affectionately called “the big tire.”
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“The Big Tire” – As Seen From the Highway Toward the Airport
I am told that the important feature of the Big Tire is its ability to change colors. The white panels are made of translucent material, behind which are placed red, blue, and white neon lights. The lights can make the stadium all blue or all red (depending on which team is hosting the match I guess) or a mixture. I hear it is very impressive from the air.
But I also heard something very alarming. Apparently Anheuser–Busch was the highest bidder for the beer sponsorship rights, and this means that only Budweiser can be sold inside or directly outside the stadium during the World Cup. Say it ain’t so! Budweiser isn’t even beer! And so close to the real Budweiser, too!!

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