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

Context recognition as a service

gossip.pngI was in a discussion the other day as part of the ISSIP Service Futures meeting where we were discussing context-based computing and its impact on services. One of the concepts that fell out of that discussion was the need for ‘context flow’. This might be a new type (or at least a new use) of middleware to share a common understanding of the context of the user or the application portfolio.


Why should all the applications have their own context recognition capabilities? Couldn’t they rely on a common engine for at least a basic understanding of what is going on?? Answering questions like:

  • Where is the user? And why?
  • Is this a busy day?
  • Are they traveling?

Applications could subscribe to this contextual advisor function and change their behavior – treating the user in custom ways to fit the situation they are currently in. I can see all kinds of gamification and augmented reality implications.


There could be a standard range of contextual states that the entire environment could take advantage of. Maybe this already exists, but I’ve not seen it.

Focusing on the real technology problems

technologyProblem.pngIt is interesting to me that people will often attribute ongoing issues to new technologies. In Lori MacVittie’s  blog post: Never attribute to technology that which is explained by the failure of people, she talks about the issue of improperly designed load balancing and how some people will view this as a cloud computing issue. Clearly it is not and it has been around since the first parallel processing efforts took place.


There are numerous examples of this misattribution today in technology, whether it is:



Technology adoption and vendor management are core skills that teams should have already that will be increasing in importance. With every new technology there are new problems as well as solutions, but it is surprising how many of the problems existed before - we just may need to relearn the solutions.

Application transformation allowing you do to more with more

Today, HP is announcing new applications transformation capabilities to help organizations do more with more -- more mobile devices, more platforms in a wider variety of locations.


Everyone is familiar with how traditional IT applications consume the majority of the budget keeping the existing organization working. These systems of record build up over time and need to be examined periodically for the value they provide. Over the next couple of days, I am going to put out some posts about the changing expectations of applications and the transformations that can take place in business and the new levels of business value that can be generated.


To help with this I’ve included some videos from Geoffrey Moore so here is the first one that introduces the concepts of systems of record and systems of engagement:


Geoffrey Moore video 1.png 

Yes, organizations need to do more with more and if it is well planned it can even cost less too.

Unified communications enabling new ways to work together

working together.GIFOne area I’ve started to have much more interest in lately is the underlying shifts to Information Technology within organizations based on the deployment of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC).UCC is a topic that has been talked about for almost a decade, but because of the downturn in the economy few organizations have actually taken advantage of the breadth of capabilities available.


UCC is likely to have quite an impact in the year ahead for a greater percentage of businesses. It is not about a single product or a single initiative, but more about a different way to interact between the business, its employees and even suppliers and customers. It is more than just deploying VoIP but instead looking at the breadth and capabilities of the devices and interfaces available to pull the organization together to address business needs in a more timely fashion. In the near future, you’ll see much greater use of the computing capabilities available to mine these various interactions (both text based as well as speech and video) and through the use of various context recognition techniques tagged so that it can be more effectively accessed. The security implications of the retention and tagging of this kind of material needs to be better understood within most organizations.


The use of more standardized UCC techniques will increase where the local needs can be met with a veneer of customization and integration, addressing the conflict between standardization and customization. Naturally the whole drive to BYOD will impact deployments and force even more flexibility into organizations IT planning.


There will be some big industry shifts in 2012, so IT organizations will need to keep tabs on what is going on and remain light on their feet, making adjustments along the way. Organizations who do not understand the fundamental nature of the shifts will likely end up with lower satisfaction of both their clients and their employees.


Where I’ll probably be focusing more attention on in the short term though is the benefits and methods for increased adoption.

Envisioning the needs of the future enterprise (part 1)

predictive.pngLast week, I was part of a panel discussing innovation and technical adoption with a number of CEOs in the Dallas Texas area. During the discussion we talked about the opportunities that exist around us and the new type of business models that will be driving organizations forward.


I was asked what kind of research is needed to for organizations today to match the new service opportunities of tomorrow, After the meeting  some other folks in the HP Services and Solutions lab went through a few iterations to come up with a short paragraph that captures the essence of our thinking:


“Staying aligned with rapidly evolving business needs will require future enterprises to be agile and dynamic. The ability to identify and link related data, establish the right information flow, connect people and information, and provide insights on information is crucial in enabling decision making from an ever increasing stream of information. Research is needed to reduce the time to action for the enterprise, and streamline the organizational changes necessary to proactively react to the competitive landscape of the firm. In the enterprise of the future, not only employees but also customers influence success, it is important to establish the relationships and foster the collaborative culture among employees, customers, suppliers and the enterprise, and engage this ecosystem in generating value. Enabling this vision will require automated capture of digital information, technologies for connecting people-to-people and people-to-information, platforms for data analysis, response automation, context recognition, dynamic configuration capabilities, innovative collaborative technologies and knowledge enabled decision-making. As business becomes more digital (and social), these advances will be the foundation and measure for the value of IT in the enterprise.”


Tomorrow I’ll have another post about the vision implied by this research.  

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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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