Tag Archives: Big Data

How IT reinvents technologies

6926335577_8f56e19c8e1

Continuing my theme about naming conventions in the IT world, I think our industry is better at branding and marketing than branding and marketing professionals!

I mentioned that I took part on a Big Data/ BI (Business Intelligence) workshop recently. My first job after university – in 1994 (no gasps at the back please – I know I don’t look old enough) was as a developer providing an EIS (Enterprise Information System) for NHS clients.

We took large amount of data from Patient Administration Systems (PAS – again, no sniggering at the back if you work for Endava please (private joke)) and provided graphical dashboards which often exposed ‘intelligence’ in the data which would have taken much longer to process in standard databases. And the data was too large to import into Excel.

There are many off the shelf products, many of which are open source, which makes implementations far quicker to implement today than fifteen years ago.

Another great piece of re-branding is thin-clients. In the late 1990s, moving to a thin-client model (i.e. most of the processing was done by a server) was fashionable. We then moved back to thick-clients – where the processing is mainly done by the desktop. Then the Internet age was born, and we never heard about thin or thick clients, because they were rebranded as ‘browser-based’ and apps. Exactly the same model, just rebranded.

Infrastructure has gone through some great rebranding. The term ‘hosting’ was left untouched for 10 years, before virtualisation – which wasn’t really a new concept. Citrix have been doing it for ages in the desktop industry. But suddenly every CIO felt compelled to virtualise virtually everything (pun intended).

And then… “Cloud”. I remember speaking to clients early on about Amazon Web Services, and within three years every hosting company rebranded their virtual environments as Cloud. Nothing more than rebranding. My personal website is stored “in the Cloud”. When I first took out the contract it was a Shared server, then a virtual server… now a Cloud server. It’s just the IP address has never changed!

My final example of brilliant branding is Enterprise social media. Lotus were doing Enterprise Collaboration in the 1990s – boasting shared documents with workflow and permissions.

 

I’m looking forward to future rebranding – green screens becoming “eco-screens”, dot matrix printers becoming “banner printers”, email becoming “enterprise messaging”, word processors becoming “information asset collation”… the list goes on.

Photo from Blake Paterson on Flickr

Rebranding Business Intelligence

I’ve spent the last couple of days at work in some Big Data and BI (Business Intelligence) workshops. One of my colleagues from Romania came over to run the workshops and we went through some case studies including technologies, architecture and internal organisation. Big Data/ BI is a natural progression from Digital Media and other parts of the Endava organisation, and I’m pleased to be a part of the proposition.

In my mind, the phrase ‘Business Intelligence’ conjures up a similar reaction to ‘Creative’. I have always disliked the term Creative for a given department or function, because any part of an organisation can be classed as ‘Creative’.

Just because someone deals with user interfaces or Photoshop on a daily basis, doesn’t make them more creative than the sales team next door who are coming up with new customer propositions. Or the guy working on the factory floor who realises that it’s more efficient to build a widget using a new method, could save an organisation more cash than the ‘Creative’ guy can generate upstairs.

Business Intelligence is similar… many organisations already have tools which provide some ‘business intelligence’. BI is such a poor name for a toolset, and one of the reasons I think we’re seeing so many vendors jump on the bandwagon recently, is because BI can mean virtually anything that exposes some data about an organisation.

If Microsoft had only produced their spreadsheet application in 2013, it would probably be called Business Intelligence Centre rather than Excel, although at least it will have been designed by their User Experience team.

2013 Digital Media predictions

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, I made some predictions about Digital Media in the following year, and in late December of each year I reviewed and scored them (here’s the results from 20102011 and 2012 Digital Media predictions).

Last year some work colleagues accused me of playing the predictions safe. Interestingly one of the predictions was about the share price of Akamai, yet they didn’t invest in the company despite my prediction about the price increasing…

So here are my 2013 Digital Media predictions:

1. Many, many new devices will be launched

We’re so used to hearing about Apple launching new devices that it’s easy to forget there are other vendors out there. In late 2013 we’ll see the new Xbox and Playstation arrive, and I expect they will be amazing. Remember how revolutionary the Wii controllers were? And then Kinect moved the game (no pun intended) on to show controller-less games. I expect the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony will improve upon Kinect – fasters response times and more playability.

I’ve been promoting 3D printers since 2010 http://blog.bradbox.com/the-real-3d and predicting that every year will be the year it becomes mainstream. In 2013 I really really really expect people will be buying them! You’ll be printing disposable cutlery, kids toys and anything else you can think of – all at home. Sites such as shapeways http://www.shapeways.com/ are already appearing with designs to download and print.

2. Yahoo! Makes! A! Comeback!|

Competition is always healthy, and the dominance of Facebook has been unhealthy in the last couple of years. The top photo sharing library, Instagram, was acquired up by Facebook and its charm of degrading photo quality all but disappeared in six months.

Step forward Marissa Mayer of Google fame (…how the world had underestimated how good a job she made of Google Maps until Apple tried it!). Yahoo!’s share price has increased 30% from $15 when she joined to almost $20. She’s spotted the power of Flickr (which I have always preferred for my personal photos and as a creative commons library for this blog).

I reckon Yahoo!’s share price will be at least $30 by the end of 2013 and we’ll see some quality innovation appearing from the company.

3. Microsoft to return

Messenging tools – Yammer, Skype, MSN Messenger, Lync. Office 2013. Windows 8. Surface. The new Xbox. Bing. Exchange 2013. Sharepoint 2013. Office 365. Skydrive. Azure. We think Facebook is ubiquitous, but it doesn’t come close to Microsoft. There is no other technology company that we use so many of its products across our personal and professional lives.

Anecdotally I’ve spoken to many people who have moved to iMacs in the last 12 months and are either disenchanted (“It still slows down over time like a PC”) or use Microsoft Windows on their iMac anyway!

2013 will be an amazing year for Microsoft in terms of value and brand positioning.

4. Indoor GPS

Shopping malls seem to be growing. We’re so used to using our smartphones as GPS devices in the outdoors, that it seems obvious to start using them for indoor navigation too.

Macy’s have used indoor GPS (http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/macys-indoor-gps/) as part of their app. Expect to see shopping malls and retailers add similar functionality to their apps. It will also be interesting to see if Google/ Bing/ Apple will add indoor navigation to their map products.

5. Learning to switch off

Have you been to a campsite recently? They’re packed. Mud has become fun again, not considered a biohazard any longer. Escaping technological comforts has never been better.

One of the most welcome releases of the iOS 6 in 2012 was ‘Do Not Disturb’. We want to gain control back from mobile and electronic interruptions. When I write documents and presentations, I now switch Outlook off. Interruptions are annoying and lower our productivity. My laptop has alerts popping up from Outlook, Gmail, Tweetdeck, Skype and Dropbox.

Expect to see more ‘Quiet modes’. Windows 8 has brought back full screen experiences rather than multiple windows – we’ll get a lot more work done this way.

6. Context sensitive

Google results have felt relevant to us because if I type in a search term, it will present me with relevant information. If I type in ‘Indian’ it lists local Indian restaurants, followed by Indian motorcycles (because Google knows I’m interested in bikes).

In 2013 we’ll be using websites that will take a number of factors into account – from the weather, to profiles of ‘similar’ customers, our previous interactions, social media feeds, whether we’re on a mobile or desktop and so on. I don’t think wider society is ready for noticeable personalisation, which I feel is a shame, so we’ll see much more subtle changes to user interfaces and results in the next 12 months.

7. The end of the QR code

QR codes annoy me – how can an illegible symbol be better than a human readable web address? The answer is that QR codes were supposed to be a trackable or more complicated link that we lazy humans wouldn’t use if we can read it.

QR codes should have been the first step to one click impulse purchasing, so that a consumer could select a specific product at the bus stop, and pay within seconds. Instead, marketing companies have dumbed them down to illegible web site addresses.

At the end of 2013 I’ll report on the last time I saw a QR code – it will have been several months.

8. Healthcare apps

My GP surgery started a website booking system (that’s completely unusable – I tried registering twice). In 2013 we’ll start using Facetime and other apps to communicate with healthcare professionals and companies.

Healthcare companies will start using social media to help us improve our lifestyle in innovative ways.

9. Drones buzzing in the sky

Robocop had it all wrong with ED209 (http://www.omnicorp.com/). Why would you have a security robot in the future when you can have a flying drone. You can already buy drones with cameras that provide real time video streaming.

In the future, if you’re at home and hear a noise downstairs in the middle of the night, you won’t go downstairs trembling, you’ll send a small drone downstairs to have a look around.

Back to 2013 though, we’ll start seeing security companies using drones to patrol the outside of buildings. There are some interesting social questions that will be raised though – do you own the airspace in your home? If you send a drone to the next door neighbour’s garden, who do you complain to? Can you shoot it down? Will we start having surface to air missile units on our roofs? Is it really science fiction?