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

Consumer products I am interested in this year

I mentioned a few weeks back the devices that could be on people’s wish list this year. I know it is a bit HP self-serving, but I did want to comment on two items that are new this year. One of which I now have quite a bit of experience.

 

stream 7.pngLast week, I bought myself the HP Stream 7 (available from the MS store, as well as HP direct) for < $100. Yes, it does have a full 32 bit Win 8.1 – it also says it is 64 bit compatible in my System About dialog. I was a bit concerned about the memory limitation and its ability to run full windows programs.

 

So far, I have yet to find any of the 32 bit apps that it has not easily taken on. One that is very useful is Mouse without Boarders – I have the tablet sitting to the left of my home computer and use it almost like another screen, sharing my regular mouse and keyboard with it.

 

I am not quite sure how they did it but it is very snappy and powerful (for a 1GB machine). It must be the 4 cores. Over the holidays, I am going to try and have it drive my 3D printer and maybe even take on some bigger computing tasks like LotRO. I'll put a comment in this post based on how it goes.

 

HP watch.pngThe other product from HP that really surprised me was the watch that HP engineered. Let’s face it most wearables that take up your valuable wrist real estate look (frankly) a bit odd. Although this device may be a bit thicker than I’d like, it does look like something you would choose to wear.

 

With up to 7 days of battery life and water resistance, it might even be useful – and it even tells time. I’ll have to look at this one in more detail.

 

Grading my predictions for 2014

grading predictions.pngEach year about this time I look back at the prediction post I made the previous year December (200620072008200920102011, 2012, 2013). I didn’t do predictions the first year I blogged but have managed to do one every year since.

 

Now it is time to look at 2014. I said that 2014 was going to be a year of instability. Depending on what industry sector or organization you’re in that was definitely true – but that’s the kind of easy prediction any fortune teller could make. Let’s get into the details:

 

I’ll grade myself with the following scale again this year:

A: Big changes during the year that are having wide effect.

B: Notable progress through the year and isolated areas of significant impact.

C: Progress with some impact

D: Little progress or impact – but work still taking place

F: No progress or the concept abandoned in any commercial sense.

 

Grade

Prediction

Rational

B

Shift from commodity services to a value play

This is definitely happening but slower than I thought it would.

C

Relationships shifting up the stack (from IaaS to Paas or SaaS to business services)

Although business-based outcomes are becoming common, there is still more smoke than fire here.

C

Similarly the view of BYOD will shift to more of a services perspective.

This one I also give myself mixed reviews. Although the BYOD momentum has shifted to more services, we are still not seeing real security brokerage services or other high value services in a standardized form.

A

New style of business

We have definitely seen much more discussion about the business capabilities and new needs provided by new computing capabilities. The concept of a race with the machine has definitely gained in mind share in 2014. Although the self-aware enterprise is still a long way off.

B

Wearables

I have mixed feelings on this rating. Although you can’t throw a rock and not hit someone coming to market with a new wearable device, they are not being effectively embraced in business processes and enterprise user interface design. They are also not yet forming networks of functionality.

B

Software defined anything

The open approaches of   OpenStack for Cloud OS and OpenFlow for software defined networking have definitely come into their own in 2014. There are still distractors who are fighting this rising tide but most see where this is headed and incorporating the shift into their mental model.

B

Software and analytics

2014 has definitely been the year for big data and analytics buzz words. I don’t think it has come to the point of there being widespread embracing of systems of action. Mobile is still viewed as something special and not just one of the many the interface points by most working in the ‘mobile’ space.

D

Software portfolio assessment

Of all the prediction areas, a fundamental reassessment of the software portfolio against the revised needs of the business, is an area where we’ve most missed our potential in 2014. Most organizations have not shifted to a holistic environmental perspective that will empower the organization and enable them to empower others. Organizations still need to assess what is abundant in this new world and maximize value from what will still be scarce for them and others.

A

Engaged and motivated employees will still be scarce

This is definitely true. In this age of automation, the value of good people and a predictable talent creation pipeline may actually be more important than ever. People are not fungible and as we increase our automation, that will be even more true, not less.

 

Based on these scores, my predictions for 2014 were at least not too conservative. My personal goal is to get close to a C+. If I get too high a grade, I am not trying to stretch my thinking (or yours for that matter) enough. Maybe I should strive to stretch enough to get at least one D??

 

My view is the same as when I finished up my post in 2011:

 

“Having said all that, it is a great time to be in IT. Most of our concerns are currently driven by an overabundance of capabilities that most organizations have not tapped into effectively. Those who can have the vision will be in for quite a ride this year as they look to do more with more.”

 

I should have my predictions for 2015 out later in December.

 

 

It is definitely that time of the year…

Christmas Shopping.pngI have been tempted by some amazing deals this holiday season. I’ve seen HP’s 7” android tablet for $49 and the 7 in Windows tablet for $99. There have also been 4K TVs 55” for under $500 (not sure what brand they are). That’s quite a shift in price when compared to that level of performance just last year.

 

The big shopping season now seems to be spread starting on Thanksgiving itself and rolling right on through Cyber Monday. Since that’s tomorrow and it will be interesting what that turns up.

 

 

I was talking with a class at SMU about the IoT and one of the things I asked them about were the kinds of things they expected to get this year. Wearables were at the top of the list but there are also some other home security and interaction tools that were a bit of a surprise for me. I am definitely interested in seeing what the IoT device of the year will be – officially, as well as what services those devices will require.

 

Powerful automation tool for Android

android.pngThere are a number of tools to automate mundane tasks in android like:

  • turning on WiFi when I get home
  • turning off WiFi when I am in the car
  • putting the phone in silent mode when I am in a meeting

I recently came across On{x} from Microsoft that helps you ‘automate your life’. It looks like it’s been in beta since June, but I didn’t come across it until October.

 

The tool allows you to program various actions based on triggers in JavaScript. There is also a repository for sample recipes that you can look at and extend. Just what a technologist needs on those cold winter nights.

Labels: automation| Mobile

Another example of leveraging sensing

 

cosmic ray detection.jpgA few weeks back I had a post about the underwater use of the IoT, focused on a surprising use of an existing sensor pack. In a similar vein there is a project - CRAYFIS (Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones) – that is aimed at using the cameras in smartphones and tablets to detect the lower-energy particles that are produced when cosmic rays strike the Earth’s atmosphere. It could built a very large array of high quality sensors that would be financially impossible to create any other way. The data collected may be useful to study a number of important issues, like changes in the earth’s magnetic field.

 

I always find it interesting when a sensing pack is designed for one function, but once it is in place other uses are found. As the enterprise use of IoT expands these stories will be more commonplace, as well as stories of unintended consciences.

 

Labels: IoT| Mobile| Sensing| Sensors
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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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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.