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

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.

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.

Start small but think big, when transforming

StartSmallThinkBig.jpgYesterday, I posted about how we’re half-way through the current stage of IT and mentioned how IT needs to change. Today, I saw an interesting post from McKinsey & Company that has some similar views: Reinventing IT to support digitization.

 

They have identified seven elements critical to IT performance improvement:

1)      Clear, central business leadership on digital

2)      Elite IT talent

3)      Sourcing arrangements to scale the workforce rapidly

4)      Agile development and rapid releases

5)      Rapid innovation architecture supported by stable services

6)      Scalable cloud-based infrastructure

7)      High-quality integrated data

 

I agree with all those points, although I’d have dropped off the ‘on digital’ from the first point. I think all too often we continue to unnecessarily isolate the information technology goals and efforts from the business.

 

The article went on to describe a two-speed approach to transformation. This is one area that is as much about risk control as providing new capabilities. Start small but think big – is probably the rule. We can’t change everything at once and when making this kind of change, you need to develop experience.

This was driven home to me the other day when I was talking with my son (who teaches on-line). He was looking for a way to contact his students in a flexible, yet automated fashion. I said “Oh, no problem. I’ll just write an app for your phone.” I’ve written apps for a number of different mobile platforms over the years, so I thought it would be easy. I laid out a storyboard of the various screens. I bounced requirements off him. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, to make it look professional.

 

I dug into coding the first prototype. It seemed everywhere I turned, the Android environment didn’t want to support me in my efforts. It just didn’t have the fundamentals in the OS that I needed (or maybe the way I wanted them). So, I started to break the application down into various components that I could understand, validate and execute. Eventually, I will stitch them all together into a final application, but my first goal now is to get something dumb and functional that he can play with – without all the bells and whistles that were in the early design. A page out of any Agile Development handbook.

 

The same approach is needed as an organization starts to tackle its larger business support role and reinvention of its application portfolio.

Half-way through the current wave of technology

I was preparing for HP Discover and it got me thinking about a presentation we pulled together almost 10 years ago (see illustration below - notice it didn't predict the downturn starting in 2008). The presentation did discussed the numerous technological ages in the history of corporate IT, starting with the mainframe, moving to client server, the internet and introduced the concept of a Next Big Thing wave related to computing everywhere. We are now halfway into the latest stage– and it is the second half of a stage where the real value comes to light and the wide-spread deployment takes place.

 

waves of computing.jpg

 

What’s interesting is that this is also the point where the organizations that are not dabbling in the leading edge pop their heads up, look around and wonder how they got there.

 

Everyone is realizing that IT needs to change. Many organizations have a portfolio of solutions that have built up, layer-by-layer from their previous successes, to the point where they're calcified and unable to take on much new. This is usually described as having 80% of the budget locked into keeping the lights on, rather than focused on generating new value for the organization – even though the business may have changed.

 

By now, most organizations have experimented with cloud, big data and automation. We’ve seen the value of automation on IT processes, since that is what enables the kind of productivity improvement we’re experiencing in the cloud computing space. Now it’s time to use those same pattern recognition and analytic techniques on the rest of the business. This is where the abundance of IT capabilities can shine.

 

Unfortunately, it is too easy to think about all this change being relatively new, when it has actually built up over time. We can’t take advantage of it effectively, unless we look at the possibilities in new ways. For example, shifting to view that ‘time to value’ and flexibility as the new measures of performance for IT projects, instead of non-business, commodity measures like system uptime or utilization. That change in perspective is what I'm hoping to discuss in my presentation.

HP Discover 2014 – see you there…

Channels_RGB_blue_NT.pngIf you’ll be at the June 10-12th 2014 HP Discover in Las Vegas, I hope to see you. As of right now, it looks like I am going to be talking about a number of different topics:

 

  1.        The new style of business value – pulling IT in the driver’s seat
  2.        Agile Architecture - springboard to IT value
  3.        Workplace of the future perspectives
  4.        I also heard rumors about being part of a panel to talk about business value generation.

I am sure there will be some changes to the titles or adding new topics, but last minute panic and public speaking seem to go together.

 

I’ll also spend some time in the meeting zone of the HP Discover Zone, if anyone wants to scheduled time to talk. Drop the coordinator a note, if you’d like to set up a meeting. I’ll also try to meet some of the bloggers that attend, if I can track them down - there should be a bloggers gathering space.

 

This event is a great opportunity where all the expertise will be in one place to answer just about any question that will come up. That saves times as well as provides a diverse set of perspectives enabling choice.

 

I just saw that Thomas Friedman will be speaking. Hopefully, we’ll not be dressed identically like the last time we met.

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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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