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

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).

‘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.

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.

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

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.

 

trends.jpg

 

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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