The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Displaying articles for: November 2013

Thanksgiving ‘13

unlimited data.pngIt’s good every once in a while to think about being thankful for what we have and the possibilities of what we can do. In the United States, that is the foundation for our Thanksgiving holiday.

 

There is a technological feast before us that can make a significant difference in the enterprise over the next couple of years. Just take a few moments to savor the possibilities…

 

For those in the technology space (who like to learn new things) we can be thankful for the abundance of possibilities opening up, to apply technology in new and different ways for business. Those interested in security have a great deal of opportunity to be grateful for as well.

 

For dessert in December, I’ll be posting my trends and predictions for 2014.

 

 

Next generation manufacturing

animated_cloud_factory_22924.gifIndustry 4.0 is a project of the German government to promote the automation of traditional industries such as manufacturing. The goal is to implement intelligent factories (Smart Factory) that are adaptable, efficient and deliver a high quality product. They are also integrated up and down the supply chain. The approach is based on cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things.

 

I saw a blog post from earlier in the year titled: The Future of Manufacturing: Industry 4.0, that seemed to be a good example of a large scale approach to the issues of automation, an industry and the government issues associated with it. Many are concerned that when automation takes place that the only jobs left for the masses will involve fast-food. The other point of view is the advent of mass custom manufacturing.

 

The United States, an initiative known as the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition that is also working on the future of manufacturing.

Stanene – a new material for high performance computing?

graphene.jpgLike many, I am taking most of this week off as vacation. But I did come across one surprising article that I had to comment on. I’ve mentioned before the future and impact of graphene. Now, the two-dimensional trend is taking a look at Tin (Stanene).

 

This material could “increase the speed and lower the power needs of future generations of computer chips, if our prediction is confirmed by experiments that are underway in several laboratories around the world,” said team leader Shoucheng Zhang, a physics professor at Stanford and the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES), a joint institute with SLAC.

 

What is interesting is the possibility of 100% electrical efficiency at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius.

 

Starting to feel like I am reading about Flatland.

Common skills in IT and getting your point across

direction.jpgThere are many changes taking place in technology some of them are foundational and make us rethink our efforts from scratch, some are more incremental and be changes to capabilities we have only recently been using – like cloud.

 

A variety of skills are needed to address this degree of change, but some seem to be universal:

  • 3rd party management is now core to the IT organization,
  • The effective definition of Proof of Concepts (PoC) is also an expectation.
  • Communications

There are changes in so many areas in IT, that the ability to fire many bullets rather than a single cannonball at the problem is critical. Understanding the impact on your business rather than business in general is important.

 

Equally important is the ability to explain to others the importance of a particular technology or effort.

 

Last night I went to the University of North Texas to help review a number of student’s senior projects. They had to present what was essentially the culmination of their efforts that semester. Here are a couple of feedback items that were common to all the presentations:

1)      They all used too many slides – don’t be a slave to PowerPoint

2)      Make sure you state your conclusion or what you’d like the audience to take out of the material up front and then justify that perspective and state it again at the end. There were a couple of presentations that even after they were complete I had to ask – so what?

3)      Know your audience – some questions can be differed some cannot. Tailor the presentation to the audience’s needs, not the presenter’s. If you fail to communicate – everyone loses.

 

It is of no value to have the greatest ideas in the world and not get the buy-in of those you’ll need to make it happen.

 

I do wonder when/how we can apply some of the abundance of technology around us to addressing some of these common needs.

Start thinking about HTTP 2.0 early

http.pngOne of the changes on the horizon that I’ve not paid too much attention to but will impact the services space is: HTTP 2.0. Most organizations today are using HTTP 1.1 and since that dates back to 1999, it is getting rather long in the tooth.

 

Some of the areas trying to be addressed in this update are performance and security.  There are efforts underway today (like SPDY) to improve the existing HTTP, and these are only recently being supported by some of the mainstream browsers. The foundation they defined is being used though to move forward.

 

If the standards effort progresses as defined, HTTP 2.0 will be faster, safer, and be more efficient than HTTP 1.1. Most of these changes will actually take place behind the scenes, so for the user they will upgrade their browser and have HTTP 2.0 capabilities and have to wait for the servers to provide the improved functionality.

For companies though capabilities like server push, enabling HTTP servers to send multiple responses (in parallel) for a single client request -- significant improvements are possible.

 

 

“An average page requires dozens of additional assets, such as JavaScript, CSS, and images, and references to all of these assets are embedded in the very HTML that the server is producing!”

 

So for HTTP interfaces, instead of waiting for the client to discover references to needed resources, the server could sent all of them immediately as soon as you know they’ll be needed. Server push can eliminate entire roundtrips of unnecessary network latency. With user interface responsiveness being an important satisfaction criteria for users this could be a differentiator for a service, especially if it is turned to the network bandwidth available.

 

For businesses, there is a bit of work to do, since porting environments between HTTP servers requires a great deal of testing, even if you have not yet architected a solution to newer functionality. Microsoft and others have put out new server software so organizations can get their feet wet now, while the standards are still solidifying.

Even more on technical leadership

leadership.pngLast month I wrote a brief post titled Revisiting technical leadership. I actually got quite a bit of interaction around it so it made me think that people want more of this kind of material.

 

Here is a presentation titled The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader that may be of interest. Twenty one is a bit far past anyone’s hrair limit, but is still useful. Technical leaders can have broad influence far beyond just what they do, since they are an example for others.

Labels: Context| Leadership
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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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