Displaying articles for: 04-08-2012 - 04-14-2012
Anyone who has worked with robotics has probably read about the uncanny valley – the point where the robotic interface is so close to human (but not close enough) that it gets creepy.
I was talking with someone the other day about computer automation and automated workflow. We were discussing the integration of human and automated response as a way to automate business processes. One of the items we discussed was: Could there be a similar phenomenon to the uncanny valley for computer intelligence? Could the response be so close to life-like that it is rejected by the common user? You could think of this as one last hurtle before passing the Turing test.
I’ve seen situations where an automated response was so obtuse that it made me question all the other responses I’ve seen from a system before. Of course, we’ve probably seen this phenomenon for people too.
I believe we settled on the view that there probably wouldn’t be this enough of an emotional attachment to generate revulsion, to the level physical objects can generate – but it is something to keep in mind.
‘During the CIO Practicum program at the University of Kentucky and the IT Value Studio series at Florida State College at Jacksonville, researchers asked attendees to come up with a name for the era we're about to enter. The general consensus was "the era of disruption."’
The article goes on to discuss the shifting role of the “C level” of the organization, with new names and new roles being defined. There is a great deal of change in both the roles and the expectations. Clearly, these are interesting times.
The distinction for the employees between work and play are blurring. Employees expect the same kind of enriched user interface in their work lives as they have in their home lives. They demand an environment where they can use rich media and collaborative techniques as part of their business interaction. This mandate for change has been initiated as much by the board room as the back room and has culminated in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement within many organizations.
Unfortunately, much of the focus of this movement has been on the devices themselves instead of the business and personal drivers. BYOD is not really about the devices, but about the secure access to information from enterprises and other providers in a simple to use and flexible fashion.
If you have any experience with technology devices, you will recognize that there are thousands of options available on the market today, with the average American operating 6.6 mobile devices by the end of 2011. The life span of these devices is measured in months, so any approach that depends on a limited selection of product versions from even a single vendor will not stand the test of time.
While the number of smartphones and tablets has exploded over the past few years, there are other devices that users will expect to use to access corporate applications, some of which we can’t even imagine today. Consider the number of “consumer devices” such as 200 Million game controllers and 40 Million e-Readers which have the ability to connect to the internet. Additionally, there are the televisions, blue-ray players, and other consumer devices that are propagating throughout homes. What role they may play? Should the CIO decide that for the employee base?
Information Technology is only at the start of this journey, since the device count is likely to explode to 30 billion, 50 billion devices worldwide by 2020. Applications for these environments will all need testing and life cycle management. So strategic planning will be required both at the enterprise and the application levels.
This kind of explosion in capability is exactly why HP has been focused on converged cloud. There are a range of functionality required some best addressed by private, some public cloud capabilities. There is also a need to test and spin up environments using a variety of operating systems and underlying software -- like we’ve never seen before. Enabling organizations to address these needs in a repeatable, highly productive fashion is an area HP is putting its innovation shoulder behind. One-size-fits-all does not match an enterprise’s needs. HP's effort is on services that enable choice, confidence and consistency -- that is what will be required to address the flexible needs of the business and all these devices.
Every 7-10 years, technology development and delivery undergoes a fundamental shift that opens up new business models and value generation opportunities. These shifts fundamentally change the way that technology is consumed and the value that it can bring. These shifts change what is possible and break down the barriers to innovation. Today, mobility, consumerization and cloud computing are signposts that mark the shift that is underway.
So what is the implication for IT?
- Opportunities - but at the same time, risk
- Agility - but at the same time, a need for control
- Flexibility – but also the possibility of lock-in
The HP cloud offerings announced today are a start down the road to changing the way, infrastructure is built, applications are developed, services are defined and information is delivered. I will not cover the details in this post (you can see the press release for the official view), but focus instead on some of the underlying philosophy.
Early adopters of cloud services have found these techniques can provide both an improved “time-to-value” as well as cost flexibility. Today, many mainstream organizations see cloud services as a key delivery model that can increase their ability to address organizational objectives in a demanding and unpredictable world -- a world where a major constraint is the number of seconds in a day. A world where cloud enabled practices can be a cornerstone of their ability to gain access to the right IT services, from the right places, at the right time, at the right cost; and create the means to speed innovation, enhance agility and improve financial management.
HP believes organizations will need to implement a hybrid delivery strategy that will leverage cloud services as part of their IT delivery and consumption strategy. To make this happen, HP’s focus is on enabling choice, not making choices for organizations. Hopefully everyone recognizes that if you have a well understood set of computational requirements that are stable and consistent, it is better to own these capabilities – in those cases, “the cloud” will not be cheaper similar to the reason why it can be cheaper to own a home rather than rent one. So our view is that new more flexible solutions will be combined with traditional means to build and consume IT services. HP is also trying to continue to support a market where there are leaders and laggards in the adoption of cloud, so one size cannot fit all organizations.
In order to deliver on the promise of the cloud and hybrid delivery, where everything has to be sourced and assembled at will -- information in all forms must be harnessed and exploited from inside and outside the enterprise in a secure fashion. This is an area where HP is performing research and development, since there are still many unknowns about the best way to address this need. This flexibility demand creates an environment where the IT mix can rapidly shift as organizational requirements change. Naturally, this will require changes to how software is architected and written. Application development and operational infrastructure must be visible, accessible and manageable in a consistent manner. Standardization must be in place to allow portability of services across deployment models and reduce lock-in.
HP’s approach to address this area is called the Converged Cloud - providing the unconstrained access to IT resources that organizations require, fulfilling their objectives. HP Converged Cloud provides access to “Infrastructure Anywhere,” “Applications Anywhere,” and “Information Anywhere.” Today’s announcements are just the start of a whole series of offerings and services we’ll be hearing more about over the coming weeks.
HP will deliver the HP Converged Cloud experience across four key customer scenarios. The typical journeys that customers tackle to fully embracing the cloud:
- Making it safe for corporate developers to unleash innovation for mobility and consumerization while leveraging public cloud infrastructure safely and securely throughout the service lifecycle
- Cloud-enabling existing data centers beyond virtualization to include automation and full hybrid delivery
- Cloud Services provisioning from infrastructure, application, network, information, and SaaS-centricity standpoints.
- Sourcing new virtual services from outside the enterprise that deliver the information in the context of your enterprise, and then consumption of that information directly by the user, application or business process.
HP’s Converged Cloud will be underpinned by a single architecture built on proven, industry-leading Converged Infrastructure (Servers, Storage, Networking) and new Converged Management and Security software (Automation, Management, Security); and combined with enterprise-class, hardened open source technology (OpenStack) to deliver an enterprise-class IT service delivery capability which delivers the flexibility and choice the industry demands.
If you are on twitter you might try to watch the tag #convcloud on Thursday starting at about 1PM EDT. There is a twitter chat scheduled. I know if I have 2¢ to add, I’ll chime in.
This month’s IEEE Spectrum had an interesting feature about the use of MEMS switches instead of transistors for low power computing.
“It turns out that the best way to design a digital relay circuit block is to take a page from the first half of the 20th century, when large discrete relays were still used to build computers. Instead of grouping the nanorelays into discrete simple gates, as you would do with transistors, the best approach is to arrange many of them in series and in parallel to make as few gates as possible. If all the devices can be arranged into one single gate, all the nanorelays can be switched simultaneously, and the time required to perform any function is reduced to a single mechanical delay.”
They are not nearly as fast, but they consume significantly less power, one of the constraints that prevents putting computing and sensing into many situations. It will be interesting to see where this leads.