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

Video Game History Museum coming soon

video game.pngPeople sometimes overlook the role of the video game in shifting the understanding and expectations of our culture and industry. Many technologies like 3D, augmented reality, surround sound… were first experienced in an arcade somewhere in our youth. The first hands on experience with a computer individuals interfaced with on a daily basis was a gaming console at home.


Opening someday soon near me will be the nation’s first museum dedicated to video games. The Videogame History Museum includes a wide range of game types and games. I look forward to its opening.

Helping others and helping ourselves

Every semester I try and help out by participating in some way at a Business of IT course taught at the University of North Texas. Last night, I was an active audience member as groups of students presented their final presentation. This usually means we ask them relevant questions about their papers as they are presented to see if we can get them off-track or at least out of their depth. The philosophy is that it is better to falter in this in a relatively safe environment, rather than have their first real exposure to a truly animated customer be in their first job presentation.


The presentations last night were based on some current and relevant topics:

1)      How to become and remain a great CIO

2)      Managing Bring Your Own Device

3)      IT Security: What Boards and CEOs need to know and do

4)      Effective Communication of IT to the Business in ‘Business Terms’

5)      From the Enterprise Today to the “Information Age Enterprise”


All the students presented information based on the coursework covered during the year (e.g., COBIT, Zachman) in the context of their subject of interest. Other review team members were a CIO, a SCRUM certified project manager and a recent graduate of the course (at least relative to when I was an undergraduate), so it was varied enough to pursue them through any rat hole that may open up.


I try to participate in these opportunities, because they give me a chance to look at problems from a different perspective. It is relatively easy to see the students fall into certain traps. It is a bit harder to see how I’ve fallen (or continue to fall) into similar ones. Supporting others and performing self-examination can be quite cathartic.


The areas that I were a bit suprised were no covered were Cloud Computing and Big Data. Maybe they were banned as being too much of a buzzword.

Labels: Context| security| Youth

Youth and the next wave of IT

youth.pngYesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with 16 students in technology related Master’s or PhD programs at the University of North Texas. We discussed their current research activities and their passions for applying technology to business. This was a motivating experience for me, since they talked about a wide variety of approaches, most of which I efforts taking place within HP.


It was clear that the flexibility driver in business that is shifting IT (currently manifesting itself as the force behind cloud computing) was well understood and assumed as part of their work by them. When these students hit the current work environment at many companies, they are going to bring in some very useful ideas as well as chaff at some of the unnecessary restraints that many businesses work within. IT leaders should try to capture some of those thoughts before they are paved over by the day-to-day operational demands.


Most of the students I talked with had very strong technical skills, but still had a way to go to understand how those skills can be applied to generate business value. That’s OK though since they have a whole lifetime of opportunity ahead of them to develop that expertise. Developing a peer group and a mentor relationship when they hit the workforce should help them land in their new environment softly though.


Everyone should spend a bit of time talking with a variety of individuals still in college if they want to understand the workforce needs and capabilities of the future.

Born to code…

scratch.jpgTechnology review asks the question How Young is Too Young to Learn to Code?In the article they talk about a report by Heather Chaplin from KQED about new software that will be aimed squarely at children who have barely learned their colors, much less how to read.


Talk about Digital Natives…


Anyone who has an iPhone and a two year old will probably tell you that touch interfaces are allowing children to spend more time with computers than ever. Although too much screen time in a day has been linked to psychological problems.


The redesigned programming environment is called Scratch, Jr. You can access the development environment and run programs from the web. It is a re-designed version of Scratch, which has been used to teach programming principles to elementary school-age children, that has been simplified. When I looked at the commands it reminded me of a graphical version of a simplified Logo.


I’ve seen some business process modeling tools that could use some of the techniques from this environment

Age vs. Experience

security lawn.pngI was catching up on my reading and came across a Baseline slide show that claimed Younger Workers Pose a Big Security Risk.


It reminded me a bit of some old curmudgeon shaking their fists and shouting “You kids get off of my lawn”. All the issues they mentioned like:

  • Rules are for other people
  • Their open books, since they don’t mind sharing personal information over the web

and 8 others are either applicable to all employees or all young people (through the ages) -- granted security issues abound. They have as much to do with inexperience as anything else. Even long term employees who are first going into social computing (as an example) make mistakes.


There is some good information here, but classifying the risk as “young workers” seems a bit short sighted. As our technology implementations shift we need to ensure that all the workers understand the implications of social computing, mobile devices, big data and other advances.  Enabling all employees to make the best decisions is an important part of governance.

Labels: Mobile| security| Youth
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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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