Project Cauã: Vertical Markets: Help needed

Jon

Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

May 01, 2010 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

 

A couple of months ago I mentioned Project Cauã in my column in LinuxProMagazine. Without repeating the whole article here, Project Cauã's goals are to create large numbers of private sector, entrepreneurial jobs as the owner and administrator of thin client/server systems and to make computing easier for end users of all types. Project Cauã would do this by having a trained, licensed, and bonded person taking care of the end-user systems as their business.

 

In a large company systems administrators take care of the systems, integrate new software, do backups, take care of viruses and SPAM. Many times in small businesses and in homes these tasks are either not done at all, or done by someone who has a minimal amount of training, often as a small part of their normal job.

 

The Project Cauã entrepreneurial systems administrator (that we abbreviate as SA/E) would own their own business supplying the needed hardware, software and services to these small businesses and homes, and we think that the SA/E would be able to make a very good living doing what they enjoy the most, working with Free Software. For those of you who missed the article you can find all the relevant information at the project site.

 

Project Cauã has to define some “vertical markets”. A “horizontal market”, satisfied by “horizontal software” is a market where every user uses a particular type of software such as an operating system, or networking code. A “vertical market” is where people use particular sets of software to do specialized tasks. Typical vertical markets are:

  • retail stores

     

  • health and medical

     

  • education

     

  • hospitality (hotel and restaurant)

     

Some “vertical markets” go across a wider expanse than others, such as:

  • Point of Sale (POS)

     

  • Small and Medium Business (SMB)

     

Some of the vertical markets that Project Cauã has been considering are:

 

Home Automation

 

Imagine that your desktop computer system is also your television, Internet radio, phone, calendar, alarm clock, security system, heating and lighting control as well as your regular connection to the Internet. Some of you already have implemented this on a limited basis. Others have not due to the difficulty in integrating the software, purchasing and installing the hardware and updating the system.

 

Imagine that this type of functionality could be offered to your mother and father and friends because someone else would integrate the software, install the hardware, and that the whole solution was affordable. Or maybe that “someone else” would be you, but you could actually earn a good living at it.

 

Hospitality

 

Some of you have gone to a nice hotel where the rooms have an LCD TV, radio, phone, and perhaps a game console. You can watch TV or order food over the Internet in the room. Now imagine that all of those devices could be one device, and you could do everything from your thin-client controlled TV.

 

Small hotels and guest-houses would like to offer the same services, but they typically can not afford it.

 

Likewise large restaurants offer hand-held POS systems to take orders which save the wait-staff time and energy in transmitting the orders to the kitchen, as well as finding out when the orders are ready to be picked up. They also reduce training time for new wait-staff by presenting the menus and the specials on the screen of the hand-held POS terminal. Small restaurants would like to be able to have these and other IT capabilities, but they are typically too expensive.

 

So a second “vertical market” for Project Cauã is “Hospitality”.

 

Point Of Sale (POS)

 

Since the hospitality market needs POS terminals, the POS vertical marketplace is a necessary one to address. There are several FOSS POS applications out there, and these systems could be integrated into an ERP system and presented to the customer, with the SA/E making sure the system stays updated and reliable for the customers.

 

Small and Medium Business (SMB)

 

In some large office buildings are many businesses made up of one to ten people. These businesses use computers, and some may even have the systems set up as servers, but they typically do not have a trained systems administrator taking care of them. Project Cauã could help these companies by supplying the base software for their businesses, as well as some ERP software, VoIP software and other “horizontal” software, and their SA/E could also help them find FOSS programmers who could integrate or create the specialized software that these companies need to function.

 

Where we need your help

 

These are four vertical markets for Project Cauã, but there are probably a lot more. We would like the FOSS community's help in identifying other vertical markets that would benefit from the services of a SA/E to help make the system easier for the end user customer.

 

Please feel free to make your ideas as comments stated here, but please make sure your vertical market is well described and add some justification as to why your Vertical market is a good one.

 

Then we will roll up all the suggestions and do market survey as to which is the best verticals to start with.

 

Carpe Diem!

 

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