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

IoT standards war begins

tug of war.pngI seem to have done quite a number of blog posts in the last month related to the Internet of Things. I just noticed that there have been numerous announcements about standards efforts. This may have spurred me on. 

 

There are a number of them, but the three I’ve seen the most about are:

  • AllSeen Alliance that supports the open source project AllJoyn that provides “a universal software framework and core set of system services that enable interoperability among connected products and software applications across manufacturers to create dynamic proximal networks.”
  • The Open Interconnect Consortium with “the goal of defining the connectivity requirements and ensuring interoperability of the billions of devices that will make up the emerging Internet of Things. “
  • And Google (not to be left out) has defined Thread. Its goal is: “To create the very best way to connect and control products in the home. “ These devices all run over IEEE 802.15.4.

The IEEE has its own set of IoT standards efforts, but those haven’t been getting the press as the recently announced ones above.

 

It is clear that IoT needs standards, but if it is too fragmented there will be no standard at all.

 

Hopefully this will shake out soon, since standards will help make the services and the software needed that actually provide the value for the end consumer.

 

Context, automation and the future of services

looking for direction.jpgThere recently was a story about a computer program that passed the Turing Test. When you get into the details of what was actually done, I am not sure it really qualifies. The fact that people are talking about the event though is enough to show that we’re pretty far down the road toward breaking down the perceived barriers between machines and human interaction.

 

These advanced levels of interaction capability are enabled by a new wave of AI applications that can capture context at scale and in near real-time. These solutions when they move out of the labs should be able to consume massive amounts of information and generate contextual understanding at a level that even the most intuitive individual would find difficult to match.

 

You might ask what does this mean for the future of services. Or where will it be of use to my organization? It should be applicable at just about any point where a conversation occurs with customer or between:

  • employee and employee
  • organization and organization
  • government and citizen

We may be able to automate interaction that isn’t face-to-face and even then it may need to be person to person with the likelihood we can overcome the uncanny valley.

 

These new context-aware, AI enabled interactions can provide a multi-level view on engagements and ‘experience’, allowing organizations to filter through the noise and latency (for example waiting for certain skills -- Spanish language) and shift the focus to an enriching experience, relationships, and achieving goals. I can easily see a future talking with an AI agent at the drive-up window, as a low-hanging opportunity.

 

The recent book The Second Machine Age, examines how society, the economy, and business will transform as digital technologies and smarter machines increasingly take over human occupations.

 

It makes you look for direction about who will robots put out of work? This interactive graphic from Quartz takes a stab at answering that question—exploring which U.S. jobs are most likely to become automated, and how many workers could be affected.

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.

 

Challenge

Positive

Negative

Privacy/Security

A view into what is actually going on

Passive oversharing

Identity

Knowing what is what

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

Efficiency

Speed

Unemployment

Decisions

Automation takes latency out

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

Culture

Gamification

Big Brother and data bias

 

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

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.

Who will adopt the Chromebox?

chromebox.pngThere has been quite a bit of discussion lately about the post iPad technical economy. Some people are talking about the lack of innovation, new devices and more importantly new applications. That perspective may be limited to that form factor, since there are definitely some interesting things happening elsewhere.

 

I just saw this pre-announcement of the HP Chromebox and thought “that’s cool”. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but the word appears to have been out for a while.

 

This tiny device essentially provides any modern monitor or TV (or two) with access to Google Chrome apps quickly and securely. Although the price hasn’t been announced I’m assuming it will be in the near throwaway technology price.

It did make me wonder thought who is likely to adopt this device? Is it the small business, the large enterprise, the home… I can see some use for it in a wide range of situations.

 

With devices like the Raspberry Pi and other small, yet powerful devices adding capabilities at an affordable price point, I don’t think we’ve even started to see the creativity that is being brought to bear.

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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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