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

Cameras, mobile and payments – change is coming

mobile thinking.pngLast week I was in a discussion with a number of folks from various industries where we got into a discussion about mobility. They were talking about meeting the needs of their various constituents, and my response was “in a few years mobile computing will likely just be called computing”. We shouldn’t think mobile is not all that special anymore.

 

I recently saw a slideshow about Meeting the Mobility Demands of Millennial Workers that reinforced that perspective – although the slideshow’s survey also viewed that a camera is an essential user Interface tool. I found all that focus on using cameras surprising. I can see the appeal since data entry has never been all that exciting for me. It did made me wonder if the millennial’s needs are all that different than the rest of the workforce.

 

Another item mentioned was the use of mobile payment/identity systems. This has been discussed for a long time, and I mentioned that NFC was the next frontier for mobile back in 2011. Hopefully now that even Apple is now on board, and we have chip and pin hardware in stores on the near horizon, it will become commonplace. Maybe someday we’ll not say mobile payment either, just payment.

 

In any event, the younger generation are going to be driving innovation and will eventually inherit control. They will have an even newer generation that will be nipping at their heels.

Hype fatigue

Recently there has been quite a bit of press about over-hyped technologies. Gartner came out with a list of their top 10 back in August. They also included a discussion of frameworks for these technologies:

  • IoT and operational technologies
  • Mobile Infrastructure
  • Enterprise Mobility Management
  • Analytics
  • Big Data
  • Social
  • Cloud

I actually think a few of those overlap but it’s their article. I was also surprised that security didn’t make the list but maybe they view that security needs to permeate the whole environment. Dr. Dobbs also came out with their own post of Overhyped things. Not a new topic, since I did a post on over-hype back in 2007.

 

Now that we’re into the last quarter of the year, we’re going to start seeing more game-changing technology trend articles. Even the IEEE has their own Top Tech Trends for 2014 article.

 

One thing that concerns me is that so many of these trends are just reworked analysis of those same article from the past. Are there no new trends? Or are we just tired of change and it is easier to just repackage stuff. I’ll have to give this some thought before I do my annual trends to look out for in December for 2015 post.

 

I also wonder if we shouldn’t look at the entire life cycle, not just the hype cycle -- even though there never seems to be extinction in this business.

 

entire lifecycle.png

What is automation?

IT automation.pngLately I’ve been talking with teams about ‘automation’. I am beginning to think that automation activities are a lot like innovation for two reasons:

  1. The definition is very dependent on the role of the individual
  2. It can be identified by: I’ll know it when I see it

My definition is:

Anytime a computer/system can do something where a person adds little to no value

 

It’s not just robotics or cognitive computing, it can be as simple as automatically updating information between systems (e.g., master data management) -- so people don’t need to swivel between systems to perform updates.

 

IT related automation can range across a variety of areas:

  • Plan
  • Define
  • Build
  • Run

The role of people and their expertise is critical and one of the things we need to determine is where their attention would be better served and how automation can enable us to maximize the value from it. Each of these areas has a range of tools that are related to incremental or disruptive improvement.

 

The computational capabilities are there to facilitate significantly greater automation, we just need to understand our options. Strategically the options and impact are going to be immense. Cloud computing is essentially enabled by the automation of infrastructure deployment and management. We now need to take it deeper into the Application Portfolio and the business processes themselves.

 

Another look at the potential of memristors…

memristor.jpgThis week, I was listening to the Security Now podcast, and Steve Gibson (@sggrc - the host) went off on a discussion on the potential of memristor or RRam technology (episode 466 – search for memristor in the notes).

 

HP’s current focus on taking advantage of this potential is something I blogged about in ‘The machine’ video.

 

It was interesting to hear his perspective about the capabilities (this post is a few years old but gets the point across from my perspective).

The need for automated environmental validation in IT

action 002.jpgI was recently reading the post When disaster strikes: How IT process automation helps you recover fast and it got me thinking about the need for automated environmental validation. Recovering fast may not be good enough if the recovery destination environment has changed.

 

In the software space, you can use jUnit or nUnit to codify the limits of the code and make sure it works, and breaks as defined. It can be a very useful component of a test first unit testing approach.

 

I was wondering if infrastructure automation efforts should include a similar capability that we can automatically test an environment to ensure its characteristics are up-to-snuff, before and after we make a change. These tests could either be run periodically, or as part of a promotion to production process.

 

Automating this validation would remove the human element from this tedious step. It seems like this would be a useful and possibly necessary step for cloud deployments, since those environments are dynamic and beyond the scope (and understanding) of the person who wrote the original programs. Maybe this is commonly done, but I've not talked to many who attack this issue 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.
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