This evening I went to the latest Agile London event. I’ve been to a few previous Agile London events including Thomas Cook and McKinsey Labs. Some of the Endava team liked the Agile London events so much that we arranged to sponsor tonight’s event at CodeNode.
Tonight felt like it had more people attend than any previous event – there were 120 seats and we had to bring more into the main CodeNode meeting room.
The event kicked off with Kate Wilsea from Code Club. The organisation was set up about four years ago to inspire more children to… code. Code Club now reach over 65,000 kids across 4,000 UK locations, and have now opened up to Ukraine and Brazil.
This morning I attended a TechUK seminar “Insurance and the Internet of Things”.
There were some good speakers who raised quite a few points which I hadn’t heard or thought of until today. Clearly there are some leaders in the space, who are not insurers and are gearing up for a battle for new types of insurance products.
Earlier this week I was on a panel at the ITC (Insurance Technology Congress) 2015 event. My panel was dealing specifically with Internet of Things in the insurance industry.
The event was aimed at CIOs of large, mainly commercial insurance companies. The CTO and CIOs in the room spend their time and budget keeping the lights on – i.e. keeping their systems in tip-top shape.
These CIOs and CTOs are rightly proud of their systems’ stability and availability, and until now innovation is a distant second priority. However, new technologies and technology companies are entering the market, and this conference was a joining of minds to create a plan for the future.
2014 has been another interesting year in the digital world. The end of a terrible recession has forced most companies to place digital at the heart of their strategy. #Fintech has become a recognised term for banks, insurance companies and other financial services organisations trying to update their systems to become ‘digital‘.
If you’d visited this blog over the weekend, you’d have received a WordPress error message. I only discovered it on Sunday evening when I checked the site for feedback. Google Analytics revealed the outage started from about 1am on Saturday morning.
I tried fixing the problem. I tried everything I could to fix it. One limitation I faced was that I have been brought up on Microsoft technologies (.net and SQL Server) and not php and MySQL – the technology that this blog runs on.
Frustrated, I went to sleep on Sunday night knowing the site was still unavailable.
After work on Monday I returned home and tried a few more things. I reached out to a WordPress guru I know. He offered some advice but I’d already tried everything suggested.
And then I came across one of the new types of one to one support websites where specific experts help other users.
I’ve always been interested in this area of consumer support. Graduating in Computer Science a couple(!!) of years ago earned me the natural honour of fixing anything within my extended family that had electricity flowing through it. Since my degree I’ve been asked to ‘programme’ the clocks in various cars, fix a microwave, tune in a TV and set up speakers – my university course appears to have been highly practical from an external perspective.
When family or friends call for help with real computer issues such as domain names, broken hard drive, email configuration, or Google Apps, I wonder who people call if they don’t have access to a friend or family member with a technical computer background.
So there I was on Monday evening, urgently wanting my site fixed, on Wizpert.com. I thought I’d give it a try. The sign up process was fast, and within a few seconds I was talking to a friendly chap from Romania (yes… I wondered whether there was an Endava link too, but no there wasn’t) who was one of their WordPress experts. At first we were chatting on Wizpert’s chat screen, and then I offered for him to remote on to my screen using Chrome Remote Desktop.
Naturally I was sceptical, and thought at some stage he might try to install some spyware somewhere, or change some passwords for access at a later stage. I watched carefully as he moved around my virtual server.
Just under two hours later he had fixed the issue and after thoroughly testing the solution I was a happier man.
The issue wasn’t straightforward, and required two types of solutions. We were still puzzled at the end about how the problem had started on the Saturday night at 1am – our assumption is that one of the WordPress components ‘auto-updated’ and broke the MySQL installation.
Wizpert is one of a number of new support models arising in the peer Internet age such as Amazon have with the Mayday button.
On Wizpert, payment to the expert is discretionary.
If you do decide to pay, users buy ‘coins’ using a credit card or PayPal, and then send these coins to the expert who helped. There are recommendations during the chat process “Most users who this expert helped gave x coins to thank them”.
I doubt these support models will be used for enterprise clients, but as devices and applications become more complex – and certainly more essential to our daily lives, end-user support will transform from the current model of phoning anyone you know with a Computer Science degree, to being able to ask someone sitting a few thousand miles away for some help and advice.
Many organisations are finding themselves asking “What is Digital?” It’s a difficult question which sounds easy at first. After all, isn’t everything that we do today that involves electronics, digital in some shape or form?
If an organisation has a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), why does it also need a CDO (Chief Digital Officer)? If an organisation already has an IT department, why does it need a digital one too?
This week, the website Fotopedia closed down, and this heralded a key stage in the Internet’s maturity.
We’ve seen various Google products shutdown in the past, sometimes with more publicity than they attracted while the product was ‘live’, such as Google Video and Wave. However Fotopedia signals the dangers that lurk behind relying upon consumer-focussed cloud services.