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

Displaying articles for: December 2013

Getting away from it all…

email.GIFI was on a cruise over the holidays…

 

One interesting thing about being on a cruise is that it is one of the places left in the world that you can really be cut off from the internet and be forced to live in the moment.  Cruise lines do offer on-line internet and cell phone capability, but I didn’t want to figure out the convoluted pricing restrictions. I limited my access to when we were coming in and out of port via the normal cell service.

 

My son was probably the most anxious member of our party to access his cell, but he is in his mid-20s, so his needs were less work related. Fortunately, the cruise took place during a time when most people were off from work so there was a relatively small backlog to clean up when we came back. So for technologists, this seemed to be a great time to take a cruise.

 

It was interesting to see how often I’d pick up the phone and look for new emails – even though I knew there wouldn’t be any. I guess that is a sign of email addiction.

DARPA robotics challenge this week...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials will take place Dec. 20 and 21 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL.

 

I’ll be traveling in FL that day but unfortunately not there. Spectators can watch as the robots test their capabilities to provide assistance in future natural and man-made disasters.

 

There are a number of videos on You Tube and this one is an overview of the event, from one robot teams perspective:

 

Once I get home, I hope to be able to dig into the results.

2014 – a year of instability

crystalball.gif2014 will be a year of Instability for most organizations. For the optimists, it will be a year that many of the technologies that entered the business environment, shift to delivering significantly new levels of value. For the pessimist, it will be another year of unwanted change.

 

One of the changes organizations will embrace is the shift from a focus on service delivery (including cloud) as a commodity to a value play. This will move Service Level Agreement metrics from measuring commodity performance (like uptime) to more business-focused and quality measures.

 

Many of the service players will begin to offer solutions higher up the value stack and directly address business processes. SaaS vendors moving to BPO for example, causing them to take on whole new areas of responsibility.

 

The same kinds of shifts will happen within IT support organizations. Workplace services that are currently focused on supporting BYOD will need to embrace Bring Your Own Service – a more environmental view of what is needed to address the business needs of the day. The security and service broker functions will become even more critical for support organizations since much of the work will be provided by others.

 

In 2013, HP talked a lot about the new style of IT. In 2014, a new style of business that is more social, mobile, flexible, data driven, secure and automated will generate greater value levels and allow those who embrace the change to excel. For example, social will be a lever for greater engagement for employees and customers. Mobile will build upon that engagement capability and add in the element of speed, shifting the time to action for organizations. Analytics will move out of the glass house and take advantage of mobile to provide the visibility and efficiency needed and where possible automation will offload well understood tasks and assist in simplifying and eliminating distractions. The race with the machine will be the race to watch in 2014 -- this will be a year of widespread transformation. Defining criteria to evaluate an innovation and its implication will help organizations minimize instability.

 

In 2012 a wide variety of ubiquitous and wearable computing hit the ground (even more in 2013) but in 2014 these will hit the road and be incorporated into more business and personal processes. They will shift from being isolated devices to becoming linked networks of functionality. As the costs and power requirements go down, they will be embedded in more products (and produce, limiting spoilage -- as an example) optimizing results. This will also enable a more software-defined everything view of computers in products. The instabilities this shift implies will be readily apparent in 2014.

 

Another shift will be to a software defined anything approach. The concepts of OpenStack for Cloud OS and OpenFlow for software defined networking will start to permeate higher into the value stack with a more open ‘smarts’ approach to pattern recognition and process optimization during 2014. This more open approach will allow for standardization yet customization enabling new level of business flexibility and applicability. The personalization and custom development for 3D printing... will continue to move into the mainstream.

 

Software in 2014 will incorporate more flexible information sources and analytics, enabling greater levels of automation and systems of action. For the end user we’ll likely see a great deal of interface work and changes as HTML5 integrates more capabilities for voice, video… and organizations begin to capitalize upon these capabilities across devices. A wider variety of spatial (gesture), touch, voice and even mind control interfaces will be incorporated into enterprise software, moving out of the consumer space. Organizations will learn from how the consumer space adopts the functionality of the Xbox One into their interactions. We will move beyond a ‘mobile first’ view for development to mobile is 'the interface' and desktop is a special case – fortunately with HTML5 that should not be that big of an issue.

 

The software portfolio that has been built through the success of all the previous projects will need to be re-assessed in 2014 against these services and the revised needs of the business. Mobile interfaces will allow the enterprise to take advantage of the computer everyone has with them. This environmental perspective will enable the employees to become more engaged with the processes, customers and other employees, empowering them and enabling them to empower others.

 

Organizations will need to assess what is abundant in this world of 2014 and what will still be scarce for them. Those that recognize this distinction will have a significant advantage in planning and removing instability. Everyone can probably recognize that security, privacy and time (attention) will be scarce, but what else can be optimize and used differently to provide advantage.

 

Engaged and motivated employees will still be scarce. I think businesses will need to do more in-house orientation and development enabling a more predictable talent creation pipeline. Although a variety of education techniques can be applied to make this happen, the passive approach that came about during the .com era will no longer be accepted by the businesses or its employees and the new skills and change management required to shift the business will be recognized and addressed in 2014.

 

Organizations that can quickly adjust to the volatility around them will remain stable and in control. Most of the instability can be predicted, although there are some situations that will always surprise us. Being flexible and aware can make those situations turn into an opportunity.

You can still get at HP Discover even now that it is over

HP Discover Europe 2013 is over but many of the materials are still out there, and can be viewed on-demand -- like the general sessions, Innovation Theater, Track keynote sessions and exclusive digital-only sessions and interviews. You can also download event collateral and extras via the HP Discover web site. Additionally there is a 360 video tour of the Discover Zone (see the 7 Highlights from the HPDiscover Zone). Finally there is an HP Discover YouTube Channel where you can see many of the interviews… that took place – a few examples are:

  

Best practices for developing a BYOD strategy for your company

The trend of knowledge workers bringing their own consumer devices into the enterprise is unstoppable. IT managers can choose to ignore, prohibit, or guide the adoption. Hear about best practices collected from our own experiences managing more than 50K employee devices on our network as part of our guided bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach.

 

 

Intel: The future of business devices will change the way you work

Looking at how time is spent and where value will come from in the future enabled by new technologies (something people who read this blog may be intrested in):

HP’s transformation experience workshop

planning.pngIn 2013, HP described its vision of a new style of IT. In 2014, a new style of business that is more social, mobile, flexible, data driven, secure and automated will generate greater value levels and allow those who embrace the change to excel.

 

Every organization has layer-upon-layer of software that has gathered into a software portfolio built on the success of previous projects. Going forward this portfolio will need to be reassessed against the shifting needs of the business and evaluated for the technical debt.

 

Some of the traditional models of delivering IT need will no longer meet the needs. HP has put together a transformation experience workshop that may help:

 

 

By clarifying 5 questions:

  1. What is your current state?

  2. What will your journey to the future you desire look like?

  3. What will the future application portfolio consist of?

  4. What can be achieved for the business?

  5. What does the roadmap or high level approach look like?

The goal is to get these questions answers (at least at a high level) in one day! That is because it is not a “death by PowerPoint” approach, but one where direct interaction on these questions results in answers. The primary focus is to document the desired business outcomes and how they will be measured.

HP ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops

moonshot.jpgOne thing I am always looking for from a conference like HP Discover are products that might be underappreciated at first glance. The ConvergedSystem 100 may be one.

 

A while back HP came out with Moonshot. This massive application of computing capability was significantly cooler and more efficient than other options in the marketplace. It had one big issue, commercial software vendors didn’t have a licensing model that aligned with the number of cores this box could bring to bear on a problem. So for most organizations, the choices were to either write the software yourself, or use open source.

 

Now there is a solution that takes advantage of the cartridge approach used in Moonshot to tackle a problem that many organization have. The need for a low cost, no compromise PC experience. This solution (with the m700 cartridge) provides up to 6x faster graphics frames per second than similar solutions, up to 90% faster deployment (e.g., up and running in about 2 hours with Citrix XenDesktop and no SAN or virtualization layer to complicate things). It also has 44% better total cost of ownership, while consuming 63% less power.

 

You combine that with the HP t410 All-in-One, power over Ethernet thin-client solution and there are some real power savings and flexibility possibilities. 

Earth Insights - Big Data in the Wild

Earth Insights.jpgToday at HP Discover, HP announced an innovative collaboration with Conservation International (CI) — a leading non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting nature for people — to dramatically improve the accuracy and speed of analysis of data collection in environmental science. 

 

The initiative, called HP Earth Insights, delivers near-real time analytics yielding new information that indicates a decline in a significant percentage of species monitored. The project serves as an early warning system for conservation efforts, enabling proactive responses to environmental threats. 

 

HP Earth Insights applies HP’s big data technology to the ecological research being conducted by Conservation International and its partners across 16 tropical forests around the world, as part of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network Tropical forests, which are home to approximately 30 million species—half of all the plants and animals on earth—and generate 40 percent of the earth’s oxygen.

 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, tropical forests are vanishing at a rate of about 18,000 square miles (4.6 million hectares) per year. Data and analysis from HP Earth Insights will be shared with protected area managers to develop policies regarding hunting and other causes of species loss in these ecosystems.

 

For this project, HP is providing a customized solution that harnesses the power of its big data offerings to address the challenges faced by CI scientists:

  • The HP Vertica Analytics Platform—a next-generation software tool, designed to manage and analyze massive and fast-growing volumes of data with amazing speed and unprecedented accuracy, will be used to address the needs of CI scientists to collect, store and assess a variety of data.
  • The Wildlife Picture Index (WPI) Analytics System—a dashboard and analytics tool built by HP Enterprise Services—allows for the visualization of user-friendly, data-driven insights to be accessed anytime, anywhere, in near real-time.

 

Currently, HP Earth Insights manages 3 terabytes of critical biodiversity information, including more than 1.4 million photos and more than 3 million climate measurements that continues to grow every day. The project analyzes the ever-increasing inputs related to species, vegetation, precipitation, temperature, carbon stocks, humidity and more, gathered from over 1000 camera traps and many climate sensors in 16 countries to deliver findings about the environment that previously were unknown.

 

By delivering analytics nine times faster than previously available and generating useable trend information on species and the impacts of climate, people and land use, HP Earth Insights is helping to protect these important resources.

 

This new solution also serves to demonstrate HP’s end-to-end capabilities in action, from HP ElitePads that meet the mobility requirements of the scientists to capture data in the tropical forests, to HP ProLiant servers powering back-end data systems, to building out the existing cloud component to meet the project’s growing data needs.

 

This real life example shows how big data techniques can take on big problems and provide new value and greater understanding, far beyond the office.

Grading my predictions for 2013

grading predictions.pngAt the end of every year that I’ve been making annual predictions, I grade my predications made in the previous December

(200620072008200920102011, 2012). It's time to look at 2013. 2013 has been the start of a turnaround for HP. We’re not out of it all yet, but we’re definitely making progress. In a way, the same thing could be said about the economy and the industry as a whole.

 

I said that 2013 would be a year of expectation -- changing the very foundation of how IT is judged. HP’s efforts around the new style of IT attests to that and many of the trends I talked about in 2012 (and earlier) began to generate business value.

 

I’ll grade myself with the following scale again this year:

A: Big changes during the year that are having wide effect.

B: Notable progress through the year and isolated areas of significant impact.

C: Progress with some impact

D: Little progress or impact – but work still taking place

F: No progress or the concept abandoned in any commercial sense.

 

Grade

Prediction

Rational

A

Organizations will have a higher expectations of security based on what everyone has experienced and learned. The battle over Internet censorship and control will reach new heights in 2013.

Thanks to the Snowden issue, this one definitely came out big, although in a way none of us may have expected.

C

Software defined networks will make communications as virtualized and flexible as the computing infrastructure. This versatility will become an expectation.

I facilitated a discussion on SDN back in September and throughout our talk it was clear that progress has been made, but we’re still only scratching the surface.

A

IT organizations will expand their definition of “customer” and their analytics to include suppliers, partners, consumers and anything/one that can make a difference

Although Big Data was not new in 2013, it definitely started to penetrate even the most slow to adopt organization’s thinking. There is definitely progress being made, although I still wonder about the bias issue.

B

We can expect to see bigger data and even bigger storage, with copious amounts of information coming from more sensors in more places. Organizations will no longer be satisfied with using only 3-5% of the data available. Beyond there being more data, the information collected will be of a wider variety (including video, sound…) so transforming the information from one format to another and back will be increasingly important.

This is a case of definite progress being made but I am not sure organizations are yet using double digit percentages of the information available to them.

B

The whole concept of ‘In Memory’ computing will be up for a shift in expectations for where and how it is used.

SAP Hana (probably the most notable of the large commercial applications in this space) is now being looked at seriously for a wide range of database applications. It is not too widespread but HP and SAP are definitely making inroads.

D

Widespread acceptance of new and improved NFC capabilities for payment and identity. The Internet of Things (IoT) will become just the Internet. Individuals will be able to add IoT capabilities independent of the original manufacturer, if desired. Although enterprises may still be crawling their way to the IoT, consumers will embrace IoT in 2013.

Although the Internet of Things is real, it has not made the progress I expected it to make in 2013. The consumer space has not really moved all that much more quickly than the Enterprise space. Sure there are devices and applications, but are they really having the impact they should.

D

The availability of different disruptive display technologies in 2013 to shift our thinking about where and when a display is needed (or even possible).

Although there are some new interface approaches and techniques, displays have not really shifted significantly in 2013.

D

One of the other core shifts in expectation will be around simplicity and the use of automation to focus attention and automate more business processes. The concept of human augmentation of automation will be significantly less foreign at the end of 2013 than it is today.

This is another case where there has been some progress, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped. Human augmented automation is about as foreign to strategic planning now as it was in 2012.

C

Enterprises will begin to address the issue that most of the apps in production can’t really unleash the power of the cloud. 2013 should see new tools and techniques to address this potential.

Application portfolio management is definitely part of a move to greater value in IT, but I’d say the adoption is only slightly more than 2012.

C

IT will begin to see ways to virtualize the mobile experience in new, secure and innovative ways.

Once again there has been progress, but it has primarily been incremental in nature. No radically new devices or approaches have come on the scene, although HP has services that understand virtualization in the mobile space, they are just not yet in demand.

B

The skills within the organization will be a constraint on value generation. Gamification, as an example, is a skill that will be recognized and move hand-in-hand with strategic change.

I do believe that gamification and its understanding by organizations shifted significantly in 2013, but that might just be because I kept talking with people about it.

C

Using the contextual information available from big data and the need for attention engineering, individuals and corporations will have greater expectation on how information is delivered to them.

Although to most businesses the expectations on information delivery is changing, I don’t think it has made significant change from the approach used in 2012.

B

There will also be a shift in how products are personalized as 3D printing moves out of limited use and becomes significantly more mainstream with some parts of the world having 3D printing capabilities as a local service. 

2013 was a good year for 3D printing. Most people have heard about it, even if they have not held something that has been through a 3D printing process. Commercial entities have begun to embrace the possibilities.

D

Implementation of IPV6 is going to be a focus in 2013.

Now there are those who are pushing back and saying they may never need to go to IPV6, the workaround are good enough.

D

Realization that automation is the new off-shore, specifically in development

I don’t believe this moved much in 2013. Very few organizations use significant automation techniques in the development space.

 

Based on these scores, my predictions for 2013 were not too conservative. My personal goal is to get close to a C+. If I get too high a grade, I am not trying to stretch my thinking (or yours for that matter) enough.

 

My view is the same as when I finished up my post in 2011:

 

“Having said all that, it is a great time to be in IT. Most of our concerns are currently driven by an overabundance of capabilities that most organizations have not tapped into effectively. Those who can have the vision will be in for quite a ride this year as they look to do more with more.”

 

I should have my predictions for 2014 out by the middle of December.

It is much more than just a new style of IT

I was down in Brazil this week and spent a few hours talking with a large number of architects from within HP Enterprise Services. One of the items we discussed is HP’s focus on the shift to a new style of IT that is underway.

 

There is actually more than just a shift in IT underway. It is a new style of business that requires more and a different IT support – essentially doing more with more.

 
 new style.jpg

 

As more data is available from more sources and there are more ways to analyze and calculate while delivering the result to individuals on the move – generating value. It is really about a new style of business that generates a positive feedback loop with the new style of IT, demanding more and more. A business approach that is more flexible, data driven and responsive. That is one reason I believe the concepts of systems of action are critical and a different perspective that needs to be embraced.

 

This will require organizations to assess the capabilities of their existing application portfolio and make some tough decisions. Sometimes what you stop doing is as important as what you start.

 

At the end of the day, it is the business shift that really matters. This week HP is hosting its HP Discover in Barcelona and this view of business and technology growth and inter-dependence will likely permeate HP’s news this week.

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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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