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

As-A-Service in 2015

BYOS 2.pngAs I was thinking about the changes that will be taking place in 2015 when as-a-services shifts from a buzzword to a core element of nearly every business. I reflected back on Horses for Sources and The Ten Tenets Driving the As-a-Service Economy post they put out last month.


One of the biggest changes I see that organizations are going to internalize in 2015 is that As-a-Service is not really technology driven, it is technology enabled. The business needs drive this going forward, not technology since we’re all expecting greater flexibility, transparency and improvements in time-to-action. Technology is a side-effect of meeting that demand and generating value.


Of course the employees of the company are going to do thier share to drive things forward as well.

Macro and micro opportunities – it is more than just perspective

magnify.pngLately I’ve been in a few conversations that focused on Smart Cities. I view this as a specialization of a set of problems that deal with systems of system -- a macro view of an opportunity set. I was in a discussion today with some folks talking about IoT but they had a very micro view of the opportunities and value possibilities. It seemed to be a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. They were almost totally focused on looking at the data in and the management of the devices.


With the shift in computing capabilities taking place and the new approaches to highly parallel and distributed computing the approach to programming will need to shift away from the more common approaches to environments that specialize in highly distributed data and processing techniques to generate value.


The macro issues of data blending and derivation to identify patterns and behaviors will shift our definition of value and even what’s possible. This is going to enable new levels of automation and that means new skills for those involved. It is all part of a fundamental shift in computing over the coming years, so it is not so much about ‘smart cities’ as it is about a shift from ‘things’ to a focus on the actions enabled and the value generation possibilities within and around an ecosystem.


There was a twitter chat that I was able to sit in on for a few minutes today and they were talking about the ‘digital’ potential and direction for 2015. To me, the separation implied by the word ‘digital’ was jarring.


We need to focus on the potential at the micro and the macro level and the holistic view of what it is going to take culturally, behaviorally and technically. It is an ‘and’ not an ‘or’ world and not everyone or every enterprise or city will progress at the same rate – and that’s OK and hopefully we can understand why.


HP announces a blending of the physical and the virtual


sprout.pngHopefully, anyone who is interested in 3D printing saw the two announcements by HP yesterday. They focused on having a Blended Reality that will change how we interact with technology and the world around us.


The first announcement should clear up the long rumored entry by HP into 3D printing. This multi-jet fusion approach of ‘page-wide’ printing is significantly faster than traditional 3D extrusion based printing. It is also much more finely grained and accurate. I handled some of these prototype parts a while back and I found it very exciting, when compared to any of the 3D printing efforts I’ve done myself. The potential ability to manipulate color, finish and flexibility within the same part was something I found unique. HP has a very strong materials science foundation ever since HPs commercial definition of ink jet printing in the early 80s and this approach really takes advantage of that experience.


The other shoe that dropped was Sprout. This link has numerous movies about how others have used this technology in their work. I’ve seen somewhat similar techniques applied in research projects for a number of years now, but not a commercial solution that you can ‘just buy’ that integrates touch, 2 and 3D scanning and multiple displays in such a seamless and functional way. Although I have talked with people about this effort about a year ago, it is great to see it become a reality – and I’m anxious to get my hands into its platform. There are some interesting perspectives that if you do work that involves your hands it may be the computer for you and the view that it is a solution looking for a problem – I can see easily see its use.


One of the things I find most exciting about these products that they enable a different kind of creative environment that functions as a springboard for greater creativity. These sort of environmental enabling view will be an ever increasing part of new business value generation in the future.


Digital Business, recycling buzzwords

digitization.jpgI don’t know about you but the recent flourish of discussion related to Digital Business makes me feel like I am back in the ‘90s. McKinsey is tracking What’s trending in #digital. Saugatuck is posting on digital business and the key challenges.


It really makes me wish for a new set of verbiage… maybe cognitive computing can get us beyond just 1’s and 0’s, since the world is really analog.

Where did the IoT come from?

I was talking with some folks about the Internet of Things the other day and they showed me some analysis that made it look like it was relatively recent.


where did the IoT come from.jpg


My view is that its foundations go back a long way. I worked on (SCADA) Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems back in the 80s, which were gathering data off the factory floor, analyzing it and performing predictive analytics, even way back then.

In the 70s, passive RFID came into being and one of the first places it was used was tracking cows for the department of agriculture to ensure they were given the right dosage of medicine and hormones – since cows could talk for themselves.


In the late 70s and early 80s barcodes become widely used to identify objects, allowing greater tracking of manufacturing lines as well as consumers in stores.


In the 90s, higher speed and greater range allowed for toll tags to be placed on cars, allowing for greater ease of identification but still very little use of sensors to collect additional information.


At the turn of the century, the military and Walmart required the use of RFID to track products and that caused significant increase in their adoption. About the same time, low powered sensing capabilities were developed since RFID only provided identification and the scanner provided location, people began to look at other information that could be collected like temperature, humidity as well as ways to gather information remotely like smart metering in the utilities space (although even that started much earlier).


Most technology adoption follows an S curve for investment and value generation. We’re just now entering the steep part of the S curve where the real business models and excitement is generated. It is not really all that new it is just that the capabilities have caught up with demand and that is making us think about everything differently (and proactively).

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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.