Displaying articles for: 02-05-2012 - 02-11-2012
Earlier this week the HP corporate blog reported on an HP Labs study to forecast the popularity of news articles on Twitter – before they’re published. It was also reported on by Mashable and some other content sites.
2012 will see CIOs defining their Unified Communications (UC) strategies for the rest of the decade, according to a recent Web Business article by Tessa Reed titled Unified communications and the year ahead. Reed quotes Wayne Speechly, communications services executive at Internet Solutions, who says “2012 will see an acceleration of VoIP uptake and that fragmented UC will start to take shape as sellable products.“
Unified Communications has been a hot topic during the last few month with everyone, including me, making predictions for UC’s future. Some of these perspective have been going off in many directions though, so I thought I’d try to help define a vision of the flow going forward:
Part of that vision is that much of the UC deployment activities will take place in the Cloud: From the same Web Business article, Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive at Tellumat Communications, notes that there will be more talk about UC in the cloud in 2012 but asks “Will companies actually make the move?” I believe they will, since the technology capabilities have advanced so far and their applicability to business are so direct. There is a degree of complexity that may not be readily apparent, so a cloud approach can help minimize cost and leverage the understanding of others. Organizations need to at least incorporate the current capabilities of UC into their maintenance and investment plans, so that even if they don’t make the move right now their systems will be ready.
Hosted Unified Communications (one way to have cloud based UC) is still in a state of flux, leaving many organizations to ask: "What is it and how does it work?" Frost and Sullivan put out a white paper on the topic of hosted Unified Communications last year. There is also a HP/Avaya presentation with some interesting facts that cover quite a bit more areas than what you might think of when you hear UC and hosted environments. For example:
- HP + Avaya are now serving 426 of Fortune 500 clients with UCC Solutions.
- Gartner believes that HP is one of the few vendors that can fulfill all Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services (COPS) opportunities independent of size.
- HP + Avaya manage 500,000 SharePoint & 500,000 Office Communications Server (OCS) seats globally.
For organizations that are thinking about the internal use of social media (SoMe) techniques and the effect of UC, you might ask questions like: “Will social media and unified communications become more integrated? Will companies be forced to adopt UC so employees can communicate/collaborate via SoMe?”
I believe the answer is yes to both these questions as well. Intersection of the personalization side of SoMe with the enterprise business context can drive a much more flexible and powerful enterprise business model. The addition of mobile apps and the consumerization of IT adds fuel to the fire under UC. Organizations that incorporate this more dynamic view of the interaction between the enterprise and the employee (and automation) will have a significant advantage.
So I have to asked "What game-changing technologies do you see as having an effect on whether or not companies define/adopt a unified communications strategy?"
There is more about how HP is helping clients implement UCC solutions from the following resources:
HP labs produced numerous outstanding achievements in the pursuit of our research agenda and delivery of innovations to HP’s business and our customers. The HP Labs 2011 Annual Research Report is an outline of our current research efforts, spotlighting some of our most exciting accomplishments – including technology commercialization, demonstrators and open innovation activities – and most importantly, introduce our team.
Last year at the WorldFuture Conference, Thomas Frey of the DaVinci Institute offered up Eight Grand Challenges for humanity. If you look at these grand challenges, you will either be frustrated by their constraints, snicker at their impossibility or start trying to work out how they could actually happen.
I didn’t think much about it when I first saw them, but there was an article in The Futurist recently that made me wonder about them again. The article talked about structuring a prize mechanism around them.
What really spurred my thinking was based on some of the posts I’d done recently about gamification and business. From that perspective, I looked at how the challenges were structured -- What was measured and why? Why were the constraints so tight? Was there a clear goal?
Then it made me think about if it is useful for businesses to define their own grand challenges to address. We live in a world of exponential change and potential, where the constraints that we have lived within may no longer exist. We need to start thinking about the opportunities differently.
The concept of having “grand challenges” may not require that they change the entire world. They just require a perspective on a different world. They may not even require they change the whole company. What are some grand challenges for IT going forward? How would you measure them? How would you award addressing them?
The greatest benefit to answering those questions would likely be that you put your vision down on paper in a way that can be quantified. We all know that IT organizations usually respond to that.
I was fortunate enough to spend a day at MIT this week in the Center for Digital Business talking with them about their research. A while back I wrote a post about the jobless recovery where I included a list to a short book from the CBD titled Race Against the Machine.
Near the end of the book the author talked about an example of how the current chess champion is not a machine or a person. Instead “the action moved to ‘freestyle’ competitions, allowing any combination of people and machines. The overall winner in a recent freestyle tournament had neither the best human players nor the most powerful computers. As Kasparov writes, it instead consisted of:
a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and 'coaching' their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants. … Weak human +machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.”
Although this was reported on a while ago, I still l believe this is an area where we’re going to see a great deal of effort in the near future. With the abundance of computing capability, and the optimization of resource usage based on their unique strength, whole new levels of productivity will be possible. It is clear that abstract pattern matching is an area where humans excel, and repeatable tasks are where automation and computing can be applied.
Organizations that recognize that and capitalize on the difference will excel.
I just saw this video of a set of robotic flying quadrotor drones flying in computer controlled formation that I found fascinating:
Maybe it was just the nearness of the Super Bowl, but I could see a whole other dimension of halftime show coming from this.
Seriously though, Roboticists at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) lab are able to get as many as 20 of their autonomous microcopters to fly in formation and perform complex maneuvers flawlessly. They also have documented a series of videos showing bots flying hoops and building a tower-like structure.
It did make me wonder about where these techniques could be applied to business and what the risks associated with their use would be.
Phil McKinney who was once the Chief Technologist of the Personal Systems Group of HP has just written a book titled: Beyond The Obvious. I have not seen a copy yet, since it has not been released until Tuesday (Feb 7). I hope to get a chnace to see it at a book launch event, since I'll be in town.
Phil has been blogging on topics related to innovation for years. The publisher Hyperion has made Chapter 1: Why Questions Matter available as a free download.
The following is an excerpt of a review recently published by Publishers Weekly.
”To help companies ignite these ideas, McKinney shares a system called the 'Killer Questions': a tool that prompts re-evaluation of old organizational beliefs that dictate how a company operates but which may no longer hold value. To do so requires negotiating the forces inside an organization that challenge innovation as well as dealing with outside curve balls.
While re-examining core beliefs is hardly new advice, McKinney's system helps distinguish valuable ideas from others with less potential as well as paying attention to delivering value to customers, the value chain, manufacturing and supply, marketing and sales, shipping and distribution, and the customer experience.
McKinney also provides an invaluable guide to extracting ideas from the book and applying them within an organization. He includes a helpful time line and six rules to keep companies on track. Offering concrete advice, McKinney gives organizations the tools they need to generate ideas and know that they're moving in the right direction."
You can look to the book’s site: www.BeyondTheObvious.com, if you’d like to know more.