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

Innovation and Technology at HP

InnovationThis week is HP's global technical conference (Tech Con -- in its 10th year). This conference brings together some of HP's top technical talent. The primary way that one gets to attend is by writing an abstract about an innovative technical issue that their team has addressed. This is a way of sharing and cross-pollinating ideas across the various parts of HP to develop that "third right answer" that no one could have developed individually.


I’ve been to Tech Con for the last 4 years and this one (more than any other) has brightened my perspective of HP’s future. There are fundamental technologies advancing down the road to production that will shake the foundations of all aspects of IT. I’ve mentioned a few of these on this blog in the past (and should shed some light on a few more over the coming months) but it is their intersection with each other and the critical mass that gets formed that will explode into a new domain of possibilities.


In addition to the effort needed to just bring these products to production, there is going to be a great deal of work required to prepare the market for these shifts. I’ve mentioned before that as we come out of the downturn organizations shouldn’t be investing in the same type of IT has they were before. Some of the shifts in the coming decade will be at least as dramatic as we’ve seen in the previous two.


I still view it as a great time to be in the information technology space, since ITs impact on business value generation should increase significantly going forward.


Cloud as a job enabler, in rural America

farm city.jpgA recent Forbes article titled: Cloud Will Generate 14 Million Jobs By 2015: That's A Good Start stated that cloud computing will add to the job market over the coming years and that most of these jobs will likely be outside IT.


John Gantz (the author of a study that was the basis for the article) stated: “A common misperception is cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a job creator — a major one. And job growth will occur across continents and throughout organizations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations.”


Having grown up on a farm near a small town in the Midwest, I have seen the decline of industry in small towns. There are large tracks of the US (and many other countries) where the population migrated due to urbanization is leaving some highly skilled, motivated workers underemployed. As businesses think about the new use and value of IT, investment in this potential workforce is definitely an option to be considered, since the cost of living in rural America is quite low compared to urban centers. As I’ve mentioned before bandwidth is distance, so we have options here that were just not practical before.

3D printing may help museums move bits not atoms

jefferson.pngThe Smithsonian is using 3D scanners and printers to create “digital surrogate” models, exhibits, and scientific replicas to make more of its objects available to the public, without placing them at risk.


Adam Metallo and Vince Rossi 3D digitization coordinators at the Smithsonian are slowly setting out to begin building a new Smithsonian digital archive. Although the models are not currently available to the public, this should lead to scores of 3D printed exhibits, as well as countless 3D models that could theoretically be used in the museums, in schools throughout the globe.


Photo by: RedEye on Demand/Smithsonian/Studio EIS




What happened to Nanotechnology?

I was in a conversation the other day with a large organization and one of the leaders said: “What happened to Nanotechnology? I don’t really hear about it anymore.” I immediately came back to a comparison to software development in the 80s. If you remember back that far, there was all this excitement about object oriented development. I remember going to a large organization in the UK right around 2000 and the CIO said “What ever happened to Object Oriented techniques? I don’t really hear about it anymore.” I went on to explain to him that we don’t talk about it anymore because “it’s just in there.”


Granted nanotechnology is not quite that ubiquitous, but it is getting closer all the time. I talked with him about some of the current work in the sensing space within HP labs that is using nanotechnology.


The area where it is becoming common is in the materials space. That was brought home to me again this morning by this Solve for X video about “low power wireless everywhere” spray on antennas. If you’ve not seen it and are into radio and related areas, it is quite interesting and appears to be generating some buzz.  



The innovation uses nano-materials as part of a commercial product. Work has been going on in this area for a while but this appears to be the first spray on antenna you can buy. I believe the ham nation podcast will be doing some experimentation with it at some point in the near future.


These nanomaterials are cropping up in products everywhere, to the point that it is no longer marketed as “nano” directly.

Predicting the Future of Technology

The New York Times has an interesting future prediction site where you can make predictions and collaboratively edit a timeline to determine where the wisdom of crowds believe they will end up.


The site tracks inventions of the past as well as projections of inventions in the future.


Take a look...

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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.
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.