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

Personal agents and services – we need to expect more

gossip.pngOne area I find exciting is the collaboration between humans and automation that is going to have a significant impact on the future of services. An area that is needed to support this collaboration is Personal agents and there has been substantial interest lately.

 

Bill Gates says he is working on a Personal Agent and you may have seen (included in Windows 10 beta) Cortana -- you know who Cortana is if you play Halo. This is pretty exciting, but I am sure there are some people who remember Clippy and wonder if this will just be a reincarnation. I don’t think so!

 

We have so much more context recognition capability now than we had back then (as well as the computing power to go with it). With all the data around us, there is a need to use agents to help us focus our attention on those areas that need our creativity.

 

I can’t wait to see where the industry takes this, since moving from a generic approach like Cortana to a business specific approach is inevitable. The reassessment and reinvestment in agents is definitely one of the technologies that will shift services in 2015 and later. Industry and even company specific agents will definitely fall out of this work, so we might as well plan to experiment and understand where it will do the most good.

HP Mechanisms and Design Lab

human centered automation.jpgI just saw this post from the HP labs Mechanisms and Design Lab and wanted to give it a bit more exposure. They are doing some interesting work on enhancing interactions through intelligent and elegant design. Human Centered automation that enables greater insight and action.

 

They are also looking at one of my favorite areas: developing new economic models for services in the enterprise.

Tags: HP Labs| services
Labels: HP labs| services

Are cloud failures different and more common?

Cloud failure.pngWith every technology there is a lifecycle and it cloud computing must be coming off the top of the top of the hype cycle with the number of stories similar to: The worst cloud outages of 2014.

 

And follow on stories like: Cloud failures will happen. Are you ready? It is prudent for articles to make statements like:

“Even if you only use the most reputable cloud services and products, things are bound to go awry from time to time so it’s crucial to be prepared for failures.”

 

And the ever popular: Why some cloud projects fail? Granted there are some staggering failure rates for cloud projects, but there are significant failure rates for all technology related projects.

 

Many of these patterns of failure are not unique to cloud. It usually gets down to a few issues core to every IT project:

  1. Know the business expectations/requirements and how to measure them.
  2. Have clear executive support
  3. Start small and make adjustments based on facts – iterate. If you don’t get what you expect make changes.
  4. Keep the big picture in mind (in many dimensions). After all, you’re trying to address the needs of the enterprise and not usually just a silo, at the end of the day.

Moving to cloud implies moving from operational thinking to a services mindset. Too many companies still bother about the underlying technology, forgetting to realize they now buy and integrate a service.

Bringing service innovation/customization home…

TV.pngI mentioned at the end of last year that I thought 2015 was going to be the year of service innovation. One thing that brought that home (literally) to me was when I got a new TV for Christmas. It had a development environment and store where I could create my own apps that run in the TV and interact with the user.

 

I didn’t get a chance to play with it much, once I figured out how to create apps, but it did make me wonder about the potential for services that were never possible before. The age of passive TV viewing of just what is sent to us seems to be drawing to a close.

Why is the IoT viewed with such potential and confusion?

Internet of things.pngThere is a fundamental shift underway from dumb devices where organizations guess about how their being used, when and by whom. Now a physical product (from almost any industry) has the potential to be a first-class participant in its own value chain. It can talk back to its creators in engineering and manufacturing as well as those who service it, cutting downtime and improving its use. It has the potential to talk with (where everyone seems to be focused) those that actually use it, making their life better and more productive. There is also the potential to collaborate with sales and marketing to share what users are thinking based on where, when and how it’s used. Devices/products are becoming members of an environmental view of the context that surrounds them. Although it involves information technology, it is about a shift in business value.

 

This challenges the foundations of many of our existing products and services. Devices can have an active role in CRM and marketing. We can shift the analytics view from the past to the future. We can use the information to gamify processes and shift behaviors. As this understanding increases, what is measured and the decisions made will shift.

 

As I mentioned last month, the impact on our definition of services will shift as we understand and embrace the potential. This change will shift much of what exists (people, products and services) in our environment/industry.

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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.