Streaming, lifestreams, News Feeds, they have all felt just a little bit revolutionary.
Facebook was one of the first applications that produced such a wide variety of information, both in volume and in terms of relevancy, that their introduction of the News Feed felt like the one thing they needed to make a leap ahead of the competition. I believe the News Feed saved Facebook.
Any time enterprise software needs to deal with large amounts of display data, the typical paradigm that we turn to is the Dashboard. A set of data display and input widgets that, bundled together, can provide a view of a large amount of data.
The problem with dashboards, full of widgets and throbbing with data, are that while they may offer an up-to-the-second view of their target data set, they do not offer a sense of change. Who or what created new data? Why? Can I communicate with them?
We need to experiment with streams and how and when they should replace dashboard components. Last summer we did an experiment with a US Aerospace company and when the dust settled, we had created something that looked a lot like this. We did, however, make some mistakes. We bundled all social interactions together and displayed those in the stream, but we did not integrate information about data set activity. That would be a powerful combination.
Will LifeStreams replace the dashboard? Will Streams just be widgets? Are there current Business Intelligence tools that integrate streaming? I want to know.