So, here's a paraphrasing of some of the questions they asked, and answers I gave. These questions appear generic enough to be of interest to anyone who may want to think of helping me in realising Clique Space.
I was asked to give a detailed description of the business opportunity:
People have always desired mobility and autonomy in how they conduct their lives. This relationship extends specifically to how they interact with others in work (income generating) and non-work activities. Many types of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices empower the individual to greater flexibility with these qualities by keeping communications channels open at a distance.
ICT permit real-time interaction between an arbitrary number of people to occur over an increasing number of communications channels. This will continue an exponential growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.
However, this trend is also producing an intimidating mountain of technology. For each technology that comes to market, users need to grapple with the physical question of using a new device, and they must keep abreast of which other users might have the same device, who they may be representing when they are using the device, which other users may use the device if it is shared between two or more users. All user's must keep changes to their own usage pattern and those of others in case these details change, and attempts to engage one or more users by another one or more users are later perceived by the latter as intrusion when the former are unaware of, or can subvert any changes.
Therefore, adoption of new ICT will encounter growing resistance to their uptake as the number of available technologies increases. People will avoid using ICT because any impressions of enjoyment they may receive from their use are being stymied by an unnavigable morass in the sheer number, variation of their use, and the possibilities of increased probability of privacy invasion. While middle-ware solutions might go some way in reducing the physical barriers, other aspects such as standardisation of a device engagement interface, contact list management, individualised cross-cutting activity audit logging, and individualised cross-cutting device control remain largely unaddressed.
Clique Space will help ameliorate this resistance by providing an answer to what appears to be producing the resistance. It provides a simple and flexible collaboration mechanism that can be extended to work with any device. Although powerful, Clique Space is a simple solution to a significant and growing ICT dilemma.
I was asked to discuss the solution to the above business opportunity:
A Clique Space is realised by a device, or rather a network of collaborating devices called Agent Devices. The individual user connects any other hardware, software, synchronous or asynchronous device – a Client Device – to one of these Agent Devices through an Account that represents that individual self. The activity of all these devices and the interaction with other users generate device and Clique activity on a Clique Space that can be recorded and controlled by the individual.
Multiple Clique Space networks can be federated. These federated networks provide one way for an organisation to administer activity within their own Clique Space, and to coordinate activity between their own, and neighbouring Clique Spaces. Federation establishes administrative sovereignty within an organisation's Clique Space, while permitting regulated control of information between Clique Spaces.
A public Clique Space would function as a common federation hub through which organisational entities might federate their proprietary Clique Space. Anyone who needed to get in contact with any organisation may find that organisation's Clique Space presence through the public Clique Space. Metaphorically, the public Clique Space would function as a city street or town centre where most public interaction would take place.
While I believe it is fair not to expect licensing revenue from usage of the Clique Space implementation in a proprietary Clique Space, I do think substantial revenue would be realised in the cost of federating a proprietary Clique Space to the public Clique Space. Revenue may also be realised by device vendors that wish to register Media Profiles (customisations to the Clique Space for their particular devices) or small organisations who prefer their presence only to be manifest on the public Clique Space through an Account Profile user-role hierarchy. Revenue may also be realised through the provision of a guaranteed level of authentication
User Accounts are freely available and associable on the public Clique Space; anyone can use any account they want. There are, however, many ways of ensuring the authenticity of an individual's usage; but these would depend on characteristics of the devices and other federated Clique Spaces. To reduce the burden of information, I will leave discussion of these to a future meeting.
I was asked to describe the major characteristics of my product:
Although the concept is well-defined, its implementation is still a proof-of-concept. At the time this was written, the prototype is still relatively immature.
However, I envisage that Clique Spaces:
collect the activity state of devices connected to them, associating one or more devices with the individual(s) who is/are operating the devices
use the device activity state to generate real-time models of individuals as they collaborating
provide an opportunity to control collaborations in accordance with cross-cutting, device independent criteria associated with the collaborating individuals.
define a uniform media engagement UI which would assist the uptake of new ways of communicating as they became available
can be federated according to mutual agreed organisational boundary conditions.
have the potential to provide unique ways of connecting devices, including the connection of devices that make up a Clique Space to themselves and other devices.
This list is not an exhaustive compendium of Clique Space's capabilities.
I was asked to outline my company's "go-to-market" strategy
I would expect Clique Space to initially become popular by specialised “early adoption” users. When the product is sufficiently mature, organisations might be approached to trial Clique Space to as a way to coordinate device activity within and between their organisational boundaries.
As Clique Space's versatility gains a reputation, its use would be adopted by a wider collection of individuals both inside and outside organisations, and it is hoped that business, wanting to reach these consumers, may observe a return on expenditure necessary for representing itself in the public Clique Space. This may be a long-duration objective, but one that I believe would attract large revenue.
The holder or licensee of a patent (currently a PCT which expires 15 July 2010) would also have exclusive access to the technology while the patent remained active.
So, there one has it. Indeed, I do my best, and that is all one can ask for.