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

2015 – a year of service innovation

crystalball.gifI believe that 2015 will be reflected on as a year of real service innovation. All those technological trends of the past decade are going to come to roost in the services of organizations in every industry. Establishments that view services as someone else’s problem will be left in the dust by those that realize the technologies of IoT, automation and analytics are causing change into the expectations of business value by the services that surround them. New services will spring into existence enabled by the flexibility of solutions like 3D printing, SDN, OpenStack and software defined anything (SDx). This post will try to justify that prediction, in a number of ways.

 

The US (NSF, White House) and EU governments recognize that there is a transformation taking place with services and are looking to see how governments can invest in service innovation. They know that the models and techniques used previously are not up to the task and are looking to shift those efforts to take advantage of the abundance of information technology capabilities that now exist and improve the understanding and capability in the services space.

 

The wearable devices we’ve seen to date have remained relatively stand-alone, providing a bit of interaction and information. As the services that consume that information advance, we’ll see a 3rd generation of wearable devices that interact with their environment, to provide a more proactive set of capabilities. This will be part of a shift in the Internet of Things that will stand up from its current crawling position to (at least) toddle along moving close to an Internet of Everything (and Anything), focusing on an enabled environment.

This will shift business resources away from process workers to a more automated environment consuming more and a different kind of analytics, moving to a human-augmented automation approach in many areas (rather than the other way around). Those interested should invest in the book, The Second Machine Age. These approaches will provide greater insight and transparency to customer actions as well as intent, enabling businesses to proactively provide services.

 

For the consumer the move to services that enable a digital life will continue and accelerate. Using the techniques described above, continuous monitoring and assistance will become a possibility. There will be concerns expressed about this monitoring moving from optional to required, in order to receive certain kinds of services. Similarly, the concerns about autonomous cars will shift from an ‘are they safe’ footing to ‘should they be compulsory’ discussion. Although we’ll not see mandatory automation/tracking… in 2015, the discussion and concerns will move from pockets of zealots into the mainstream, impacting everything from healthcare services to insurance…

 

No discussion of the future is complete without some mention of security and privacy. As enterprises move workloads to the cloud, enterprise-level security needs to follow. Most organizations do not have their processes at this level of maturity so security and privacy will bloom into an even larger service industry, since help will be needed. Although cloud computing helps address the issues of limited energy and resources, security and privacy protection services will become a critical concern in the forefront of business in 2015. The same will be true at the micro level as embedded devices leak more behavior information into the environment and the need for their protection becomes clearer.

 

The services for manufacturing and product production will undergo a shift in 2015 as well. Mass production will still be king, but personalized manufacturing will shake up planning in the global economy. According to Gartner, sales of 3D printers will double each year between 2015 and 2018, and exceed sales of more than 2 million. This will trickle down into transportation, logistics and industries other than manufacturing. We’ll see the products become platforms for further customization. Much like you’ve been able to have Coke or M&Ms personalized for a while now, it will be possible for a greater percentage of products (both physical and services). With the additional of sensors, greater connectivity and computing, these personalized platforms will further expand the momentum for intelligent services. These custom platforms will allow greater consumer engagement, with the producer as well as with the other consumers of the product.

 

In the predictive and analytic space the solutions will shift to enable greater flexibility in engineering the attention of service desk personnel as well as the people who call in. Next generation BPO/call centers will rely on greater levels of automation and less on low cost workers. That shift will not take place in 2015, but the products targeted at this shift will become more prevalent this year. These capabilities will move into other business processes as well, enabling them (HR, Finance…) to become systems of action for the enterprise, shifting to address business goals while at the same time providing greater insight and transparency about shifts in usage and consumption.  

 

The final area I wanted to mention was that the interfaces into these services will change too. We will see a reemergence of augmented reality. Virtual reality research received a great deal of attention in the 1980s, but didn't take off due to the expensive hardware, poor sensing, and display capabilities. All of these limits have now been largely addressed and the ubiquitous mobile device (we all carry) makes it a natural for our always on world. Juniper Research states that annual revenues from mobile augmented reality (AR) services and applications will reach $1.2 billion by 2015, moving beyond the demonstration devices by Google and others onto the edge of mainstream.

 

One aspect of this services shift that needs to be considered is the difference between the desired objectives and the unintended consequences that result. This will be a rapidly changing space, so an iterative approach that starts small and works up will be required. Joining organizations like ISSIP and moinitoring the success (and failures) of others will also be a good investment in 2015.

An IoT example everyone can understand and many of us have already encountered

Sometime this holiday season I am going to be at some function where I’ll be asked about a real IoT application. I usually like to have an example that a layperson can relate to and ideally experienced -- more than the smart thermostat or metering that we’ve been talking about for over a decade.

 

This short video about Kroger does a good job (about 36 seconds in) of explaining an innovation that many have already experienced and not really known it was happening. They’ve had QueVision® implemented at my neighborhood Krogers for a while. It really does cut down queue length for the consumer.

 

 

We know IoT is having impact – when it doesn’t draw our attention. It is also a good example of using automation in a subtle way to improve the experience of everyone involved in a process.

It is not a panacea though, these efforts may point out issues in other processes. You can’t make just one part of a business super-efficient without having impact elsewhere. There is a lesson there as well.

 

Diversity of perspective is needed for IoT efforts

 

crayon.pngLately I’ve been coming across more articles like this one that states: 12 Hurdles Hampering the Internet of Things. It is definitely the case that there are positives and negatives for every new technology. In a previous post: Preventing the IoT from being the Oort cloud of the enterprise, I provided a few of some of these challenges.

 

I realized that there was not much about maximizing the positive benefits and minimizing the negatives. Diversity of perspective plays an important role – after all if we’re all thinking about the problem in the same way, only one of us is really needed. To tackle this problems you need individuals who look at both the business implications and the technology.

 

Like a successful market system, the innovation process has two dynamics: supply and demand. Supply is the reserve of ideas. It’s generated when leadership creates an environment that encourages those in the enterprise ecosystem to bring new ideas forward, to question the status quo. It comes from employees who live and work in that setting.

 

Demand is the organizational expectation of improvement. It’s the process of setting objectives and ensuring that everyone is clear on how they will be measured. It’s about establishing expectations to ‘do even more with more’ using the abundance of capabilities available.

 

For the Internet of Things you need different views on security, those who want to make the most out of the data for good and those who can see the implications of its improper use.

 

I was talking with some folks the other day about completing a Proof of Concept and mentioned to them that a PoC should be designed around answering questions. Sometimes the answers are yes and other times no. They shouldn’t view it as a failure if they don’t get the answer they wanted. The fact that they know something now rather than basing their perspective on supposition means the PoC was a success (even that knowledge can be fleeting though because there is so much change in capability today). Strive for better questions and let the answers fall where they may. Finding the lines is more important than coloring within them.

 

 

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.

Innovation survey

innovative evolution.pngI recently saw a post about an innovation survey that is looking at the range of issues and organizational characteristics for those adopting innovative techniques. HP has partnered with Alsbridge the short innovation survey (5 minutes). For those who complete the survey, they should receive a paper describing the results and the associated analysis.

 

There are many definitions and perspectives on evolution, ranging from incremental to revolutionary, so understanding everyone’s perspective every once in a while can be helpful.

Tags: Innovation
Labels: Innovation
Search
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
Follow Us
Featured
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.
Labels
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.