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

Displaying articles for: June 2014

‘The machine’ video

A few weeks back (during HP Discover) I did a small post about ‘the machine’. I just came across the YouTube video that shows a bit more background as well:


The spot definitely came from marketing, but is still thought provoking. Not so much from a technical perspective, but from a “What can I do when this comes out?” point of view.


The video briefly mentions distributed micro-cell towers to improve communications. What if each of those is really a node on a distributed mesh network? Would that allow you to think about data, processing and even location in ways that enable new value generation?


The same possibilities are true for other distributed objects that can benefit from each other’s experience - IoT participants like: planes, oil rigs, shipping containers.

Preventing the IoT from being the Oort cloud of the enterprise

riding comet.pngLast month, IEEE Spectrum had an article on how Most Technologists Upbeat About Future Internet of Things and I am optimistic as well --do you really think being down about it will prevent it from happening? I mentioned that ubiquitous power is a prerequisite for the IoT to really take off, at least for some applications.


On the same day I gave an IoT intro presentation I was in an exchange with CIOs about rogue clouds, in the process I made a joke pointing out that rogue clouds are the Oort cloud of IT - an area we don’t pay any attention to until something is about to impact our business.


There are a number of challenges for technologist to overcome. For every positive aspect, there is a negative trap to fall into and be prevented or at least understood.






A view into what is actually going on

Passive oversharing


Knowing what is what

Device ‘identity’ mistaken for true identity- people become a network address





Automation takes latency out

Loss of freedom and understanding, if automation becomes just another legacy system



Big Brother and data bias


What are some of the other issues that have both positive and negative dimensions??

The search for ubiquitous power and IoT

plugging in economy.pngI was pulling together a presentation for a bunch of technologists on the Internet of Things (IoT) that I am giving later today. There have been numerous discussions about the possibilities of ubiquitous computing, but one of the prerequisites is ubiquitous power – we’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.


One of the side effects of Moore’s law is that threshold voltages for transistor switching keeps going down. That means that the power requirements for devices go down as well. This week there were a couple of interesting examples of more flexible energy access in the press:

As we find more uses for computing, there will be just as an ambitious effort for finding ubiquitous energy sources. Advances like this may enable organizations to address their business from more diverse locations going forward.

Questions about SDN and its effect on business

networking.jpgSDN is one of those technologies that appears to be poorly understood even by those who promote its value. The discussion mainly focuses on its ability to:

  • deliver new services faster through automation
  • lower operating expenses

Although valid, these are very IT centric and miss some of the foundational business value questions like:

  • What are the possibilities if I designed the network differently? 
  • What if I threw out the design assumptions and principles that I use today and really look at what my organization needs?  Notice I didn’t say what my network needs
  • Why not start with the premise that the network can do a few functions: connect, disconnect and transport to enable my business needs?
  • What could SDN mean for my applications or the devices those applications run on??

SDN is a starting point for new value generation.  It looks to enable a better way, but only if we ask the right questions. The answers may have a wider effect on the organization than we planned on.

Disrupting the innovator’s dilemma

innovation.jpgIf you haven’t seen it, Jill Lepore, the Chair of Harvard’s History and Literature Program wrote an article that was published in The New Yorker. She disrupted just about everything her fellow Harvard colleague, Clayton Christensen wrote about disruptive innovation. I’ve referenced Christensen’s work many times on this blog before.


There is also an article in titled: To Disrupt or not to Disrupt: Is that Really the Question? that digs into the viewing innovation as well. As well as Clayton’s response in BusinessWeek.


If you are interested in innovation and disruption this alternative read is likely worth the effort, just for its diversity of perspective.

Tags: Innovation
Labels: Innovation

Can the law keep up with technology advances?

digital law.pngWay back in 2005, I wrote a blog post: Law and the Next Big Thing, where I asked the question: “Will Stare Decisis survive the next big thing?” Since the article I linked to in that post is now gone, it made me wonder about articles on the subject today.


Now almost 10 years later, there was a post by the World Future Society that is asking similar questions: What Does Moore’s Law Mean For the Rest of Society? The article looks at a number of areas like patents, and policing as well as robotic vehicles. He also looks at technologies effect on jobs and job creation where the author states:

“The new technologies that once created new industries and new jobs are now only creating new productivity without the jobs. Computers, robots, artificial general intelligence, and other technological advances have changed the economic game. From a business point of view, improved productivity is good; but from the point of view of public officials desperate to create jobs for their constituents, not so much. This may be the biggest disruption we face.”


I don’t take quite that negative a view, but as we can see from the recent employment numbers, we need to look for new services in order to have new employment.

Does personal accountability need to shift in business?

security.pngAs business and IT continues to merge, we need to increase the vigilance and expectations of everyone. A recent article titled: Treat IT architecture as a weapon talks about how the US military should start to treat the network and IT resources in general as weapons systems. The same can be said on the commercial side of business.


As we move to a world with high-powered analytics, and deep, data-based understanding enabled by the IoT, the models, architectures and assets need to be viewed as the serious differentiator for the business they actually are. When the network is breached, a root cause analysis needs to be performed and individuals held accountable. The responses of “I didn’t know…” or “I am not in IT…” need to be a thing of the past.


In our personal lives, we know we have responsibilities for our data usage and access. We need at least that same level of accountability in our work lives as well. We all need to be vigilant and help each other understand the implications of our actions. Security awareness needs to permeate the work environment – it is not just someone else’s concern.

Day 2 at Discover

There was a great deal of discussion in the keynote yesterday about ‘the machine’. It is likely being covered by the press quite a bit today, at least trying to understand what it might mean.


Thomas Friedman facilitated a discussion among the CEOs of HP, Intel and Microsoft, that is also being covered widely and worth the read. I've been trying to tweet my way through the keynotes @cebess.


I tried to do my small part, being interviewed by Goran Strangmark about my perspectives on the new style of IT that is now up on You Tube:


As well as facilitating a session with a number of bloggers about business & technical trends and new value possibilities at the intersection. Things are winding down today, but I still have a session with Sanjay Lobo on Agile Architecture and how it may contribute to hitting business objectives

What about 'the machine'?

0610_hp_05_630.jpgI came across this Businessweek article: HP May Have Invented a New Kind of Computer – the Machine. This is all too early to be covered by an event like HP Discover, but still very thought provoking. In fact, I was a bit surprised by the level of detail covered in the article.


I mentioned last week that we are entering the second half of the current phase of IT technology – the steep part of the S curve, where the real changes take place. An interesting thing to look out for at this stage are the signposts along the journey that will be pointing to the next phase. I wonder if this work by HP labs will be one of those markers -- or will it just be an enabler to generate maximum value within the current phase.


Well, I pulled off two presentations yesterday at HP Discover. If the two I am doing today are half as effective as the ones yesterday, I’ll be happy.

A trip down memory lane and then into the future…

I just read this post about Wolfenstein: Then and Now in the Next Bench blog and the changes that have taken place across that PC game’s history. At the end of the post it asks where we’ll be in another 22 years from a game perspective.


Along a similar line, HP turned 75 this year and it made me wonder about what the world will be like when HP turns 100.


Tags: future| Trends| Vision
Labels: Future| Trends| Vision

Other views about starting small but thinking big

Last week, I did a post titled: Start Small but think big, when transforming. Fairly quickly I got a note from Erik van Busschbach from HP SW that said he’d made some similar statements related to cloud adoption. In fact he even had a video about his perspective. 


 Think big, start small.jpg


Next week at HP Discover, I hope to track Erik down (who is the Chief Technologist, World Wide Strategy & Solutions for HP Software) and talk about the nuances of our perspectives. He also wrote a post on an HP SW blog about: Why the IT Value Chain is your blueprint for strategically regaining control of IT that also contains the start small but think big concept.


Even if we’re coming at the problem from different perspectives, the fact that much of what we’re talking about ends up at the same result is reaffirming. 

Coffee talk at Discover on trends…

One of the activities I am going to try to pull together at HP Discover is a coffee talk with the various bloggers that will be there, talking about the trends taking place and trying to discuss the implications on business and services in general (the discussion is 1PM on Wednesday somewhere in the social media lounge, if I remember right). The following picture is what I plan to use to kick off the discussion.




Change is becoming continuous in most organizations and being able to interact with others to determine possible routes and effects is increasing in importance. Diverse perspectives can be a key to quickly solving problems.


Looking at the trends from a variety of perspectives as well as a variety of industries should provide a level of diversity. I am excited to hear others views, and hope I don’t just end up having to talk the whole time – but I can do that if I have to.


Maybe we should have a live twitter chat at the same time so that others can participate in their own way.

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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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