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

Displaying articles for: September 2013

3D printing in space – an example of agility

space station.pngI’ve written before about the alignment of 3D printing and space exploration. I just saw the news that NASA is preparing their first 3D printer for space. This makes a great deal of sense to me since anyone who has seen Apollo 13 knows that sometimes things need to be cobbled together to meet the needs of the moment and the only things the astronauts can use are those that came with them.


There still is quite a bit of confusion about what 3D printing really can do, as you can tell if you read this post about the announcement. I doubt they will be printing anything more complicated than a framework for holding satellite hardware (as opposed to the whole satellite, the way the article states).


I view this approach as analogous to what businesses are trying to do looking to adopt a new style of IT. They are trying to be more agile in how they can address the needs of the day, without having the same level of investment as needed in the past.


Is mobile innovation over?

mobile worker.pngRecently, Wired had a post stating that mobile innovation is over.  I actually think that nothing could be farther from the truth. Though separating out mobile is likely the thought process of the last decade – not this one. We need to take a more environment experience view.


The focus needs to now be on the experience that mobile devices support. With all the capabilities around us all the time. The innovations possible to enable devices can link into those and enable us as users to capitalize to provide the ideal experience at this moment are rich with possibilities. We’re not even close to that today.


Businesses today need to move their thinking to a Bring Your Own Stuff (BYOx) view, since it could be devices, processes and other tools. But do so in an integrated (yet secure) not isolated fashion. It is just another dimension of the whole Everything As A Service (XaaS) approach.

HP and Project Runway

fashion.pngMy daughter always likes to watch Project Runway and as in the past, HP and Intel are providing much of the computing horsepower for Project Runway. There are some interesting behind the scenes shots.


This season, HP and Intel are inviting viewers to create gallery boards showcasing their personal style with inspiration from the show, for a chance to win new HP PCs, cash and prizes. Fans can share and submit their boards at, and fashion insiders from FashionIndieTRENDLAND and BRIT + Co. will serve as the contest judges.


This is an example of how a business can add consumer involvement (gamification?) and embedded marketing of products to drive a show's (or an organization's) contestants to new levels of performance.

The derived data of friendship…

social.pngI was thinking a bit about my post yesterday concerning the millennials and their use of technology. It made me recall a post from earlier in the year by Stephen Wolfram about applying data science to facebook


His post shows an analysis of who are friends with whom and looks at the data associated with friendship. An interesting analysis that demonstrates the kind of analysis possible through the use of derived data. Businesses today have many more sources of data available than they realize and we’re finding more all the time.

Tags: Analytics| Gen Y
Labels: Analytics| Gen Y

Millennial Survey Results from Telefonica

Telefónica just release their Global Millennial Survey Results. They claim to have created the largest and most comprehensive global study of adult Millennial conduced to date. The raw data is also available.


The study looks at many different aspects of millennials, their use of technology and their approach to leadership – some useful information.


Some highlights:

  • people results.pngNorth America - savvy, inter-connected and optimistic about their personal futures.
  • Latin America - nearly twice as optimistic about their future as their global peers and are confident that technology can empower and produce change.
  • Europe - highly comfortable with, and have wide access to, technology, crediting it for having been highly influential in their lives and an important field of study to ensure personal future success.
  • Asia - highly influenced by technology largely due to the high penetration of smartphones in the region, and think technology has improved communication.
  • Middle East and Africa - largely optimistic about the futures of their regions and their personal opportunities for success. 

Keeping its fans first is important to NASCAR

As we move into the fall here in Dallas, one of the events that comes to my mind is NASCAR at the Texas Motor Speedway. Recently some of us at HP had the chance to engage in a bit of Q&A with Steve Phelps, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR, to find out how the new style of IT is making a difference.


Steve oversees all NASCAR efforts in corporate marketing, brand/consumer marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), licensing, automotive group, business development, digital and social media, broadcast, entertainment, NASCAR Productions, information technology, corporate events and human resources. With over 75 million fans, that can be a big job and since NASCAR is so innovative about how they interact with this audience, the conversation is worth sharing.


Q. With the influx of Big Data throughout many industries, analysts are predicting that CMOs will become the new CIOs of the future. What role does Information Management and Analytics play in your daily activity?

A. The amount of data generated across both traditional and social media surrounding our sport is staggering. Fans connect with our sport digitally and share their experience with us more than ever before. Due to a shifting media landscape, news coverage of our sport is constant, coming from hundreds of print outlets, television broadcasts, and online publications. Candidly, before partnering with HP to develop the Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC) there was no easy way for us to make sense of all the noise. Thanks to HP’s cutting edge technology, the engagement center ingests huge amounts of data related to our sport and allows us to focus a lens on almost any topic that we want. We can now make informed decisions on just about every aspect of our business. We are just beginning to tap into its capabilities, but the value the FMEC has already provided through measurement and analytics can be felt on a daily basis.  



FMEC 2.jpg


Q. We’ve heard a lot about Big Data jamming the systems of many corporations and enterprise groups. NASCAR must have had massive data stores in place. How did process automation and HP Enterprise Services consulting view this challenge?

A. HP provided a true end-to-end solution for us. HP’s Enterprise Services team has helped us build this solution from Day One of our collaboration and has been a partner in the evolution and development of this process since launch.


In terms of hardware and software, our Fan and Media Engagement Center is HP-powered from front to back - from the back-end HP Blade servers and 3Par storage to help us store and manage all this “Big Data,” the middle software analytics layer powered by HP Autonomy, to our front-end display matrix with the latest in digital signage, it is all HP.


Q. Much of Information Management and Analytics has to do with gleaning the right information from the data to make it actionable. What were your goals when you started the project? Now that the engagement center has been implemented, how have these goals changed?

A. The idea of the Fan and Media Engagement Center came from our Chairman, Brian France. He wanted to create a resource that would benefit not only NASCAR, but the entire NASCAR industry by providing business-impacting insights tailored to specific audiences within the NASCAR ecosystem, including race teams, tracks, and partners.


In its first year of existence, the FMEC has already delivered value to each audience, yet we have only scratched the surface of the system’s capabilities. The FMEC is a “Version 1.0” platform, and we continue to learn, tweak, and refine the system. Our immediate goals have not changed, however, I envision that our goals will evolve as the system does.


Q. At HP, we talk quite a bit about information being the most valuable asset in the enterprise. How has the data you’ve been able to analyze proved beneficial to sponsors and partners? 

A. NASCAR is now able to provide insights to the many partners in our sport’s ecosystem. We can analyze fan levels of engagement around sponsor at-track activations, measure how a partner’s brand is perceived by our fan base, and learn more about what our fans like and dislike.


Additionally, we can hone in on specific topics – sentiment around broadcast partners, feedback on a sponsor contest, for example – and produce in-depth insights into fan behavior, so we can serve them the best content and provide the best experience.


Earlier this year, Chevy unveiled a new production model at a press event during the weekend of the Daytona 500. Within an hour after the event was over, our President Mike Helton was able to hand deliver a dashboard to our partner showing how fans and potential customers felt about the new car.


That kind of value can’t be measured.


Q. Have you seen an uptick in sales, or fan base growth? Are sponsors and partners more willing to make an investment when they are able to see data and know their return with more certainty? How has it enabled them to get ROI?

A. The FMEC wasn’t developed to be a direct revenue generator for NASCAR. However, I like to characterize ROI when speaking about the FMEC as a Return on Information. The FMEC is providing our entire eco-system with business impacting information. In certain circumstances, the impact can be felt in real-time, however a number of partners will use the information to help formulate the way they activate in our sport for years to come. That is truly when partners will be able to maximize on the value the FMEC provides. That said, the demand for FMEC information has been high this entire season and continues to grow. 


Q. What is one of the largest differences you’ve seen in the way your marketing organization works now that you have the Fan & Media Engagement Center?

A. One of the biggest benefits that the FMEC has provided us is the ability to market in real-time. For example at this year’s Talladega race, bad weather forced some pretty significant rain delays. Talladega is one of our largest tracks, over two miles. Rain delays can cause significant impact to fan interest, our broadcast partners, and our corporate partners.


During the rain delay, we were able to keep a real-time handle on levels of conversation about the race and delay, and take action to keep fans engaged via our social media channels, asking and answering questions, providing updates, sharing photos.


We were also able to zero in on sentiment about the track drying system, how many people were talking about it, noting how impressive it was in improving track drying time. We were able to analyze the public sentiment and provide a snapshot to track partners who are considering it for their own tracks.


This was a situation that could have been a negative - a significant weather delay - that we were able to turn into a positive by keeping fans engaged and showing the value of a new technology product to partners.


To learn more about how HP and NASCAR are working together, check out these videos:


 From one race fan to another, I hope to see you at the track soon!


SDN - the foundation for the agile enterprise

I recently facilitated a discussion between several technical leaders in HP on the topic of SDN - and you can listen to it on-line. Much of the conversation centered on the differences between the relatively inflexible view of networking that everyone has been so successful with and the more dynamic possibly with SDN.


SDN and flexibility.png


Software define networks are a relatively recent, yet foundational technology innovation, changing how organizations should think about the value possibilities of networks and even networking. The role of SDN in an agile organization does not seem to be nearly as well understood as I thought it should be.


We’re used to talking about software-defined data centers, allowing for the dynamic reconfiguration of computing elements, turning processors off or reapplying them elsewhere when they are no longer needed. The networks to date have not been up to this dynamic level but SDN can address this.


When I consider of some of the innovations possible with SDN, I think back to the 1980s when organizations were first starting to embrace object-oriented programming. The thought that data and processing could be integrated was quite radical. Yet, quite common today. Object oriented techniques are only applied to data at rest, essentially when it was sitting within a system.


With SDN there is the possibility to integrate data on the move with processing – a quite different set of possibilities exist, but only if we grasp the potential and plan around the possibilities.




HP addressing the need for constant security vigilance

security extend.pngAfter talking with a number of people recently, it became clear that HP is constantly investing in the security space, much more than I knew. These investments have been going on for a very long time.

  • 2011 – Autonomy (Compliance, Behaviour & Classification)
  • 2010 - Fortify (Application Security),
  • 2010 - ArcSight (Compliance & Risk Mgmt)
  • 2009 - TippingPoint (via 3COM) (IPS)
  • 2008 - EDS / HP consulting and managed services, Vistorm security consulting and security managed services
  • 2007 - SPI Dynamics / HP Application Security Center

There is now a highly experienced team of more than 5000 professionals with security certifications including CHECK, CLAS, CISSP, CISM, CISA, CLEF, IISP, ISO 27001 Lead auditor, PCI QSA, and others but it doesn’t stop there.


There are a constant stream of announcements from HP in the security space (including one early this month) and new ones today. The reason for this vigilance is that every 7-10 years, technology development and delivery undergo a shift that opens up new business and access models. These shifts fundamentally change the way that technology is consumed and the value that it can bring; these shifts change what is possible and create new opportunities for innovation. They also open up new opportunities for security threat concerns and all organizations are affected by security breaches.


Cyber Security moved from 12th to 3rd place in risk factors faced by businesses in Lloyd’s 2013 Risk index. The potential for financial, reputational and physical damage has elevated the issue or cyber security to board level. Today’s enterprise is struggling to find the balance between protecting itself from organized cyber criminals, maintaining legal, regulatory and compliance standards while enabling the adoption of  new IT solutions for business value generation like mobility, cloud and analytics.


Additionally, cybercriminals have created a cybercrime market place, sharing and selling information on tools, tactics and targets, to find vulnerabilities in organizations’ infrastructure, stealing critical customer data and intellectual property. Individuals and groups are starting to specialize and turn into service providers for others wanting to use their capabilities, since the size of this underground security market may actually be larger than the protection oriented security market itself.


While some threats are external and malicious, others are internal - like a disgruntled employee who might steal proprietary information. There are also unintentional mistakes, such as an employee losing an unlocked or unencrypted device or being tricked into sending non-encrypted documents and classified company information to illegitimate sources. Alarmingly, as the enterprise landscape becomes more open and the need to share information greater, we see 44% of data breaches happening at the hands of a trusted supplier. The threat environment is dynamic and complex.


Regulators respond to this complex security ecosystem by implementing numerous regulations and mandates in the hope of preventing further issues. Unfortunately, using compliance to define your security strategy sets a low bar, since the requirements are reactive in nature. Organizations are forced to address the regulations because they can’t appear to be non-compliant.


HP is focused on helping organizations address their information security, by spend less time on reactive threat management and more on disrupting the security ecosystem. To focus on understanding and protecting business’s critical information assets to better aligned to their information risk tolerance (this is definitely not a once size fits all approach). There is a shortcoming for trained security personnel and HP is trying to provide the tools and the services to address the gaps for organizations.


Some of the new services announced today include:

Derived data can be where the value is…

derived data.pngI was talking to a group of people today about analytics and big data and happen to mention derived data – one example of this is derived behavior. This concept was not something they were familiar with so I tried to explain it to them.


There is actually much more information available to work with than we think in many cases. It is not just about what organizations have traditionally thought of as ‘data’ but also available is derived data, based on who is sending what to whom and what is the relationship between the entities that are interacting. This is at the heart of the Compass demonstration HP Labs presented at Discover a few years back.


Derived data also lets us apply information from sensors to less intelligent objects that are in the same area or situation. For example, all the data in the same temperature controlled warehouse should be experience the same environment – we can derive this information based on the common context.


The concept of derived data points back to the idea that context is king and this derived data helps provide the context.

What is agility in business and IT really about??

technology and business change.jpgI was flying out to LA to talk about the future of mobility and trying to catch up on my magazines when I came across this article titled: Find Out What Agility Really Means. It starts out saying:

“Business and IT executives think about agility differently. For IT, agility is technology-focused, while non-IT leaders look for broad organization and leadership qualities that are difficult to implement.” and “Business agility is the quality that allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine.”


This separation of perspective is one thing wrong with how organizations tackle the dynamic nature of business today. IT agility has much less to do with technology than it has to do with taking latency out of an enterprise response to situations. IT should be able to provide systems of action to make this happen.


There are many ways to do this ranging from:

What is clear is that for an organization to be agile, time to action has to be an important measure.


I also found it interesting that the intersection of agility and mobile was one of the first topics I ever posted, since that is what I am about to talk about.

Dropping off my kid at college for the last time and it is time for a little troubleshooting...

firefighting.pngAbout this time of year I do a post that deals with dropping my children off at college. I think this will be the last one though since my daughter is in the last year of her master’s degree at Texas A&M. Every year there seems to be a new technical problem that I end up diagnosing remotely.


This year she has an office (since she’s a grad assistant) so I set her up with a 2nd monitor. It was working fine when I left. She calls me about a day later telling me that everything is turned on but the PC doesn’t see the monitor. It was time to talk with her about troubleshooting (I have been doing quite a number of posts on problem response lately).


I told her about the first law of trouble shooting -- Jerry Pournelle called it: Pournelle’s law of troubleshooting – “First check the cables”. It turned out that in her efforts to get everything just the way she wanted it, the DVI cable pulled out. She plugged it in and everything started working.


If I were to have a 2nd law, it would probably be: “It’s probably the people.” Either miscommunications or misunderstanding… There is also a chance you have one of those people in your area who likes to mess with you. I had a “friend” once who added half a comment into some Pascal code while I was on a two week vacation. I came back and swearing it was working when I left.


As I was preparing for this post I came across this article that is focused on techniques to prevent an IT troubleshooting activity from getting too bad.

Labels: troubleshooting

Enterprise architecture now more than ever…

Reach.pngI saw this post by Tim DeGennaro about Enterprise Architecture in 2014 it made me think about a discussion I had with a large analyst firms Enterprise Architecture specialist. I mentioned to him that HP’s EAs are not focused on “selling” HP products. They are not part of central organization but instead tied directly to client organizations. Naturally, they have some interest in the product’s being used appropriately, but their main interest is in generating value for the company, within their business, meeting their goals.


During our discussion, we kept going back to this topic over and over. It was clear there was a contextual mismatch, since my view is that that there is no way an EA can push product off the back of the wagon and fulfill their role as a trusted advisor. His view was that HP is a product company and therefore the EA must sell product – even though I don’t think he agreed that perspective was best. It was just an assumption he made.


The EA needs to be focused on the long term value generation – and the analyst just couldn’t understand that this was our approach. HP Enterprise Services wants to have long-term strategic relationships with organizations (most of the EAs are in HP ES). We view that Enterprise Architecture is at the center of these relationships, whether it is based on infrastructure, applications maintenance and development or business process outsourcing, to truly generate strategic value an enterprise architecture is needed. Often HP personnel perform this function, sometimes the customer’s team carry the load - in any case, we see Enterprise Architecture as foundational to what we do.


Transformation journey.png

We look at enterprise transformation as a journey, starting with assessing the current state of IT and its alignment to and support for the business, along a path to a defined “new state”. A state based on the business goals of the organization, not on some product list.


One of the important functions of Enterprise Architecture is to communicate the destination as well as the steps and the governance needed along the way. This allows for fact-based expectations, discussions and actions -- reducing confusion and rework. Organizational change management and communication skills are crucial to make this happen.


Since the EA deliverables need to be business driven – enterprise architect should strive to always tie back initiatives to business direction and metrics. Sometimes we all can lose sight of why we are here and this traceability helps keep everyone grounded in the needs of the business.


Once I was working at a large food manufacturing organization interacting directly with their Chief Technology office. We’d get into deep, esoteric discussions and I’d ask the question “How does this make more cheese?” to focus us back on the business goals.


Even though it may seem simple, the connections between the enterprise architecture and business goals allow EA’s try and maintain a practical approach. The architectural work products and the architects themselves need to be used effectively to deliver solutions and not be ivory tower shelf ware.

Tools to facilitate Application Portfolio Management and Modernization

apps modernization.pngRecently TechTarget published their definition of Applications Modernization


“Application modernization is the refactoring, re-purposing or consolidation of legacy software programming to align it more closely with current business needs.”


This to me seemed to be a relatively reactive perspective to modernization. Once the alignment between effort expended and value generated is completed on a business’s application portfolio, the analysis needs to be maintained. Part of modernization needs to include the effort for the on-going governance and assessment of the environment.


There are a number of tools on the market to facilitate this. The one we use within HP ES is:

HP Application Portfolio Management


There is a short video made last year that provide a high level view of both the product and the service: 

My new Revolve

REVOLVE.jpgI just saw a slideshow about the EliteBook Revolve 810 G1 from HP? Since I just got one myself, I thought I’d do a post as well.


I’ve had a Windows Tablet since the first prototypes were produced by Acer for Microsoft (back in 2001 if I remember right). I am used to having the flexibility of a tablet – especially when you’re flying and the person in front of you decides to lean back all the way. When that happens I have to choose between typing with my keyboard under my chin or stopping work – but not with the tablet. I just rotate the screen around and keep working.

One thing I notice about this machine is how fast it boots up, it really makes my old machine feel like a dinosaur. It is also much lighter but also much denser than my old machine. I love the lighted keyboard. I am sure that will come in handy on those late night flights.


I was already running Windows 8 on my old machine so I was already used to the OS.


So far it’s been everything I’d hoped it would be. I'll know a great deal more after a trip I have coming up.

Tags: mobile
Labels: Mobile
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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.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.