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

Scarcity, abundance and innovation


empty.pngRecently, someone pointed out a video from McKinsey that is talking about how Technological advances can not only improve resource productivity dramatically but also spark the next industrial revolution. I had to laugh a bit since this concept is something that we’ve talked about since the very first blog post (almost 10 years ago) and for our strategy work years before. The abundance of IT can drive innovation in almost any industry.


Understanding the interaction between scarcity and abundance is an important part of any enterprise strategy effort. If an innovation can’t be understood from its effects, it probably can’t be used for that particular organization. Just being new, interesting or exciting isn’t enough. Adoption can’t be assumed but needs to be built in the mind of those who should adopt (and adapt).


In some situations like the service space that has been traditionally built on access to people and process, the ability to remove people through automation can shake the foundation of how an organization approaches the market. The same could be said about the concept of middle management. Once you shift your view to the default perspective of “Prove that we need them” rather than “We’ve always done it that way”, real chance can happen.


I am on my way home from a couple of weeks on the road. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to sit back and think about some of the things that I’ve seen recently and follow my own advice.


2013 Survey of topics important to IT

results.pngRecently a survey was taken by the Society for Information Management for the IT trends for 2013.


The top 5 IT management concerns in 2013 (page 60) were:

1                     Alignment of IT and/with and/with the business

2                     Business Agility 

3                     Business Productivity 

4                     Business Cost Reduction / Controls 

5                     IT Cost Reduction / Controls


But the top 5 issues that were of concern to the person taking the survey (page 63) were:

1                     Alignment of IT and/with and/with the business

2                     Security

3                     Talent/skill shortage

4                     Business continuity / Disaster Recovery

5                     Prioritization process for IT projects


I don’t know about you but this difference of perspective between the individual thinking about the priorities of the group and their own priorities is pretty significant. It looks like the management concerns are value and cost, yet the individuals are concerned more about safety.


This is an interesting survey that with almost 500 senior IT professionals participating across a diverse cross-section of the economy.


I am surprised that IT productivity isn’t pulled out to the same extent that business productivity is for the management concerns. Since that would address some of the talent shortage, cost reduction and controls/quality concerns.

A few things happening before HP Discover

Today (right before HP Discover) the availability of the retail sleeve for the ElitePad was announced. By adding this hardware extension, a tablet that runs the full version of Windows 8 now can have additional features specifically designed for use in a retail setting, allowing them to connect to existing store systems and improve customer service.


The extensible nature of the ElitePad is an example the flexibility that needs to be designed into solutions to increase value and the business environment today and in the future. Last month the personal system group within HP announced a whole series of new machines (like the Rove).


The new HP Pro and HP Elite series desktop PCs were also announced, including space-saving commercial all-in-ones (AiOs) with rich multimedia and optional touch screens, act as the hub of enterprise productivity. You can see more about these in the press release.


This week there should be a number of interest announcements… if you're there have fun it should be a great opportunity to answer questions and learn. I couldn't make it this year.

Network Fabric for Cloud

Flexfabric.pngToday, HP Launches Industry’s Most Complete Software-defined Network Fabric for Cloud. This network fabric is built on HP FlexNetwork architecture, enabling business agility for clients by delivering two times greater scalability and 75 percent less complexity over current network fabrics while reducing network provisioning time from months to minutes.


This is possible by:

  • Improving IT productivity by unifying the virtual and physical fabric with new HP FlexFabric Virtual Switch 5900v software, which, in conjunction with the HP FlexFabric 5900 physical switch, delivers advanced networking functionalities such as policies and quality of service to a VMware environment. Integrated Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator (VEPA) technology provides clear separation between server and network administrations to deliver operational simplicity.
  • Reducing data center footprint with the HP Virtualized Services Router (VSR), which allows services to be delivered on a virtual machine (VM), eliminating unnecessary hardware, by leveraging the industry's first carrier-class software-based Network Function Virtualization (NFV).

As organizations move to software defined networks, some fundamental changes in the approach will be required and these products are a start down that path. Here is a video with a bit more high level discussion and some details:


Motion interface for PCs nears

User interface.pngRecently, it was reported that HP has agreed a deal with Leap Motion to embed the motion-control technology company's 3D gesture technology within HP PCs. This gesture enabling technology can detect the movement of 10 fingers at once, using two cameras with three infrared LEDs in the controller to track hand movements (without even touching the screen). Leap Motion is even talking about having an app store called Airspace that is set to launch in May.


User interface disruptions like this should significantly shift how applications are written and used, allowing new ways to work with all the data and computing capabilities. Making the interface simpler (dispensing with the need for specialized gloves) and more intuitive is one way to improve productivity. Although this approach may now focus on PCs, I’m sure there will be efforts in the mobile space soon as well.


I wonder if someone will hack together a 3D scanner interface too, much like folks have done with Microsoft Kinects that Microsoft is now incorporating into the product SDK.

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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.