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

Displaying articles for: April 2010

HP buying Palm – will it help us do amazing?

cell.pngSince the inception of this blog back in 2005, we've been talking about the importance of edge computing devices and the movement of more of the business interaction out to the edge. Yesterday's announcement of HP's purchase of Palm shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise - although I was not involved in the purchase in any way. Palm has a range of patents that span the mobile hardware & software space that should strengthen HP.

 

The movement to a "mobile first" approach from a value generation perspective and everything as a service will be bolstered as well. The mobile device is the computer we always have with us; the possibilities to incorporate its capability are only just being tapped. It can help an enterprise know quite a bit about the context of the individual who is carrying it that can be used to reduce latency and minimize interruptions.

 

Organizations have been talking about developing products and services that would allow people to work from anywhere, anytime, anyway they wanted. The only problem is most aren't practicing what they preach. HP definitely seems to have internalized this philosophy (at least compared with when I was part of EDS). The advancement of mobile really does change the way people work and allow them to streamline (and some would say integrate) their business/work life.

 

We'll see how the various service offerings in the mobile space can take advantage of the purchase as well:

 

 

 

Smart clothes with integrated sensors

As we move into an age where we move from viewing computers as things to computers in things, one of the logical places will be in our clothes. In this article a number of examples of ten articles of smart clothing are described. Some of them are networked while others have standalone functionality.



  1. Motion Detecting Pants

  2. Proximity Sensing Shirt

  3. Heart Sensing Bra

  4. Smart Running Shoes

  5. Networked Jacket

  6. Neuro Headset

  7. Thought Helmet

  8. iPod Watch.

  9. Biosensor Underwear

  10. Nanofibers


The underlying technologies that allow these products to function have many more uses as well.

Mining data streams to predict the future

HP released a whitepaper recently on Predicting the Future With Social Media. In this case looking at the relationship between twitter chatter and the popularity of movies. It made me thing about the use of these kinds of analytic techniques for Good and for Evil.


The best example I could think of for a good usage was the Comcast cares activity -- mining through the Twitter and other feeds, looking for people having trouble with Comcast and then proactively helping them out. Essentially short cutting the old problem that when you have a good experience you'll tell 4 people but if you have a bad experience telling 10.


An example of using social media analytics for a bad purpose is PleaseRobMe.com. This site is an effort to educate people on how the information placed in social media sites is public and can be used for nefarious purposes.


There are many ways to understand Buzz. With the advent of relatively infinite storage and computational capability, the techniques above are the tip of the iceberg for increasing visibility of what is going on around us. These same kinds of techniques can be applied to a variety of unstructured data (dark data) that is streaming around organizations today.

What can an ash cloud teach us about cloud computing?

146i05A033D9C3579326Early this week, I saw a note from Christian Verstraete (CTO for HP's Manufacturing and Distributions Industries Worldwide) where he mentioned cloud and the impact of the ash cloud on travel last week:

 

"Last week, there was only one discussion in EMEA, it was all about volcanoes and ashes. And I can tell you, it became quite heated at multiple moments. This really got me thinking about elasticity. You know, in the cloud space we often speak about elasticity, about the possibility to ramp up capacity quickly. Well, when I ended up spending hours on the phone waiting for the travel desk to address my issue, I can tell you, I would have appreciated some extra elasticity. Indeed, with cloud we now provide elasticity from an IT infrastructure perspective, but elasticity is not part of the design of any other system in the enterprise. Travel operators do not suddenly appear out of the blue to take the extra phone calls that are being made. So, my question is really, aren't we overdoing it on the elasticity front. Indeed, what are the business problems that can be addressed by just throwing some extra IT capacity at them? Well, I came up with a couple, film rendering in the media business, reservoir simulation in Oil & Gas, finite element calculation in discrete manufacturing, genome sequencing in pharmaceuticals. Actually, most of those have been addressed for a while with high performance computing. Now, there are a couple others, like increasing the web site experience even with large amounts of users. But most of our processes require the interaction of IT with other systems (human or machines) which are not infinitely scalable, and for which extra capacity cannot be turned on quickly. So, yes, elasticity is a feature of cloud, it has its space in the portfolio of cloud features, but it is not the panacea that will resolve all problems. In the current hype that is somehow sometimes overlooked."

 

His entry made me reflect back on a cloud myth post I made a while back.

 

Many IT organizations view of cloud is from a very limited infrastructure only perspective. That's good, but as Christian points out there are many more levels of flexibility required to actual delivery business value within the business in a flexible fashion. We can't lose sight of why we need the flexibility in our systems and processes and what make cause us to invoke a rapid response. It is the business that needs the flexibility at the end of the day, the systems are just there to support it.

Ding, dong the disk is dead!

Yes, it's finally happened.  Another stalwart friend from my youth, the 3.5" floppy disk, is dead! Sony has announced that they will stop domestic sale of them, in Japan, in March 2011 - they stopped overseas sales of floppy discs in March 2010, apart from India and some other regions.


This is key because it was Sony that pioneered the 3.5" floppy disk in 1981 and it went on to overtake and replace the 5.25" disk format that had been the previous leading storage format. However, even in November 1994, PC World was posing the question "Is the floppy disk dead?"  at the time when demand for the floppy disk was still growing.   The exponentially increasing demands for larger storage volumes and the emergence of new storage mediums like Zip Drives, CD, DVDs, Blu-Ray, removable hard drives and USB memory stick meant that the pre-eminence of the floppy disk was clearly over.  


Apple, predicting a future where people would use CDs and the internet to transfer files, was the first computer maker to take the plunge and eliminate the floppy disk drive with the release of the iMac in 1998. In 2003, Dell  stopped offering the floppy disk drive as standard equipment on its Dimension desktops; although it remained as an optional extra for a number of years.  But like the Dodo, the telegram, the vinyl record and the telex, the floppy has been out evolved. With the exception of the Dodo, all these technologies have been killed by alternatives that delivered greater volumes in shorter times at a lower unit cost...

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Architecture and the next information revolution

Last week I facilitated a discussion by Allen Brown of The Open Group. Before the meeting, we were able to discuss some of the implications of IT on the future of business as well as the role of architecture. One of the areas we discussed was the work of Peter Drucker: The Next Information Revolution.


Allen read and agreed with many of the blog posts on this site concerning the next wave of computing and how it is not really a hardware or even software revolution in the traditional sense, but one focused on the flow of information and visibility within the business, generating insight in new ways. He expressed his concern about the kinds of architecture work and resources that will be required to define, design and create these new systems and business models to maximize the value creation for the business.


Enterprise Architecture is an area of architecture where Allen stated that there are four things necessary to perform at the highest level of enterprise architecture:

 


  1. High standards of expertise

  2. Recognized best practices

  3. Skills and experience certification

  4. A forum for practitioners to share their knowledge and come together

 

To prepare for this shift, it is an area we've worked on for a number of years within HP. I believe we have more of the highest level, ITAC certified architects of any organization on the planet.

 

We also have one of the largest counts of TOGAF certified architects.

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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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