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

The multi-dimensional value of IoT

dimensions.pngThe value and inevitable nature of the Internet of Things can be hard to quantify.

 

It has value in the vertical dimension based on what it can do for a particular industry. For example being able to understand the materials on hand, the machine capability and performance and the product location all can fit together to provide much greater insight. This is one of the reasons the manufacturing industry was an early adopter of IoT techniques.

 

From a breadth perspective, we’re seeing more devices with connectivity as well as more wearables and other ways to communicate. I can easily see a day where my oven reminds me of a meals status much more effectively than the kitchen timer. Or even the act of entering the garage can get dinner started because that’s what would be next on my agenda. Essentially it leads to a much broader range of devices working in collaboration to meet my needs.

 

In a depth sense, various devices that are doing their own thing, for their own reasons can provide a much greater contextual depth of understanding that any single view could provide. This is where the contextual understanding that is derived from multiple pieces of information comes into play.

 

I am sure there are more dimensions beyond these three… What are they for you?

 

IT as outsiders, a luxury no one can afford

 

alone.pngRecently, Terry Bennett (someone from the Dallas area I’ve known for quite a while) wrote a post about Overcoming Your IT Department’s Outsider Reputation. I have finally gotten around to giving it a quick response. In his post he says:

“At a time when all companies need everyone on one team pulling together, IT professionals are often seen by others as ... well ... different.”

 

This seems like a luxury no one can afford. He mentions a number of approaches to shift IT personnel behavior:

  • Change the IT mindset
  • Align goals
  • Show your appreciation
  • Participate in company activities

It really gets down to being aware and involved in the business and its culture and not to look at your role (in IT) as part of a different industry.

 

I sometimes ask people: “If you win and the company doesn’t, did you actually win?”

 

As services becomes an ever increasing part of the economy and the revenue stream for companies, it needs to be sure not to fall into the same trap. This is also a concept those in the outsourcing space need to embrace with the customers – to the extent possible.

 

The search for ubiquitous power and IoT

plugging in economy.pngI was pulling together a presentation for a bunch of technologists on the Internet of Things (IoT) that I am giving later today. There have been numerous discussions about the possibilities of ubiquitous computing, but one of the prerequisites is ubiquitous power – we’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.

 

One of the side effects of Moore’s law is that threshold voltages for transistor switching keeps going down. That means that the power requirements for devices go down as well. This week there were a couple of interesting examples of more flexible energy access in the press:

As we find more uses for computing, there will be just as an ambitious effort for finding ubiquitous energy sources. Advances like this may enable organizations to address their business from more diverse locations going forward.

Coffee talk at Discover on trends…

One of the activities I am going to try to pull together at HP Discover is a coffee talk with the various bloggers that will be there, talking about the trends taking place and trying to discuss the implications on business and services in general (the discussion is 1PM on Wednesday somewhere in the social media lounge, if I remember right). The following picture is what I plan to use to kick off the discussion.

 

trends.jpg

 

Change is becoming continuous in most organizations and being able to interact with others to determine possible routes and effects is increasing in importance. Diverse perspectives can be a key to quickly solving problems.

 

Looking at the trends from a variety of perspectives as well as a variety of industries should provide a level of diversity. I am excited to hear others views, and hope I don’t just end up having to talk the whole time – but I can do that if I have to.

 

Maybe we should have a live twitter chat at the same time so that others can participate in their own way.

Start small but think big, when transforming

StartSmallThinkBig.jpgYesterday, I posted about how we’re half-way through the current stage of IT and mentioned how IT needs to change. Today, I saw an interesting post from McKinsey & Company that has some similar views: Reinventing IT to support digitization.

 

They have identified seven elements critical to IT performance improvement:

1)      Clear, central business leadership on digital

2)      Elite IT talent

3)      Sourcing arrangements to scale the workforce rapidly

4)      Agile development and rapid releases

5)      Rapid innovation architecture supported by stable services

6)      Scalable cloud-based infrastructure

7)      High-quality integrated data

 

I agree with all those points, although I’d have dropped off the ‘on digital’ from the first point. I think all too often we continue to unnecessarily isolate the information technology goals and efforts from the business.

 

The article went on to describe a two-speed approach to transformation. This is one area that is as much about risk control as providing new capabilities. Start small but think big – is probably the rule. We can’t change everything at once and when making this kind of change, you need to develop experience.

This was driven home to me the other day when I was talking with my son (who teaches on-line). He was looking for a way to contact his students in a flexible, yet automated fashion. I said “Oh, no problem. I’ll just write an app for your phone.” I’ve written apps for a number of different mobile platforms over the years, so I thought it would be easy. I laid out a storyboard of the various screens. I bounced requirements off him. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, to make it look professional.

 

I dug into coding the first prototype. It seemed everywhere I turned, the Android environment didn’t want to support me in my efforts. It just didn’t have the fundamentals in the OS that I needed (or maybe the way I wanted them). So, I started to break the application down into various components that I could understand, validate and execute. Eventually, I will stitch them all together into a final application, but my first goal now is to get something dumb and functional that he can play with – without all the bells and whistles that were in the early design. A page out of any Agile Development handbook.

 

The same approach is needed as an organization starts to tackle its larger business support role and reinvention of its application portfolio.

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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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