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Nach der Cloud: Was kommt jetzt?

Transkript meiner Keynote zum Post-Cloudalen Zeitalter. Slides hier zum Download.

Haben Sie sich schon immer mal gefragt, wo die Cloud begraben liegt? Bittesehr! Hier ist sie 😉

Cloud-Grave

This is where the Cloud is burried!

Ich habe mich ja schon in einigen Publikationen mit der Sinnlosigkeit auseinandergesetzt, Cloud Computing zu diskutieren – nicht, weil die Cloud tatsächlich tot wäre (einen Talk damals im Jahr 2014 damit zu beginnen, war schon etwas – nunja – “frech”), sondern weil sie so allgegenwärtig ist, wie das Internet ansich – darüber diskutieren wir ja auch nicht mehr. Aber sehen wir uns die Geschichte einmal etwas genauer an:

Cloud Timeline 2016

Wussten Sie, dass Cloud Computing eigentlich auf das Jahr 1999 zurück geht? Damals wurde Salesforce gegründet – und hat mit Guerilla-Marketing die traditionelle CRM Szene ordentlich aufgemischt; der Erfolg gibt ihnen, denke ich, heute recht. In den Jahren danach wurde es dann doch erstmal etwas ruhiger – eine Zeit lang; doch ab etwa 2006 schossen Cloud Anbieter aus dem Nichts mit damals wohl noch ungeahnter Geschwindigkeit in die Höhe.

Heute diskutieren wir nicht mehr, ob es die Cloud gibt, sondern wie wir sie in unsere IT Strategie bestmöglich integrieren, welche Services wir sinnvoll nutzen können oder wie wir multiple Services und unser on-premise Rechenzentrum miteinander verbinden und effizient managen (RightScale hat da übrigens einen sehr vielversprechenden Ansatz mit deren Cloud Management Plattform). Und während man früher Logo-Landkarten für COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) herzeigen konnte, zeigt man sie jetzt – wie hier – für z.B. SaaS.

Cloud-SaaS-Logos

SaaS Logos

Ich möchte noch einmal einen Schritt zurück gehen – auf die sattsam bekannte NIST Special Publication 800-145 – die Definition von Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing: 5 essential characteristics

Cloud Computing: 5 essential characteristics

Dort lauten – wie im Bild oben dargelegt – die 5 essentiellen Charakteristiken einer Cloud:

  • On-demand self-service: Ich bekomme also etwas genau dann, wenn ich es brauche, und dann sofort
  • Broad network access: Ich erreiche den Service mittels eines hoch-performanten Netzwerkes – wir sprechen hier von der Provider-Anbindung, nicht notwendigerweise von meinem Mobil-Telefon in den Bergen
  • Resource pooling: Die Ressourcen der Cloud sind derart gemanaged, dass ein effizientes Miteinander mehrerer Konsumenten der Cloud möglich ist, und jeder immer das bekommt, was er gerade benötigt
  • Rapid elasticity: Dadurch sind Services so effizient skalierbar, dass sie sich elastisch an den Bedarf anpassen
  • Measured: Jeder Konsum eines Services wird exakt gemessen und der Konsum nachvollziehbar dem Nutzer berichtet

Sollten Sie in Ihrem Rechenzentrum – in Ihrer IT – ein Service haben, das die Geschäftsprozesse Ihres Unternehmens nach diesen Gesichtspunkten abbildet, dann haben Sie de facto eine Cloud. Überlegen Sie an dieser Stelle kurz: Haben Sie eine Cloud? Haben Sie ein Cloud Service? Mehrere? Woher? Selbst gebaut? Integriert? … ?

Wir brauchen über die Existenz von Cloud Computing in allen unseren Geschäftsanwendung nicht mehr sprechen (Sie würden sich übrigens wundern, welche Firmen in Österreich beispielsweise vom eigenen Exchange-Server bereits auf Office365 gewechselt sind …)

Reden wir also darüber, was nun auf uns zukommt!

Und da haben Analysten schon vor Jahren – etwa 2013 beginnend – Modelle vorgestellt, die die Cloud in einen größeren Gesamtzusammenhang setzen. Bei IDC hieß das Konzept “The Third Platform” – bei Gartner hieß es “The Nexus of Forces”.

The 3rd Platform (Source: IDC)

The 3rd Platform (Source: IDC)

Es gibt bestimmt noch andere. Eines ist allen diesen Konzepten gemeinsam: Sie postulieren die nächste Evolution in der IT und erklären diese durch das Zusammenwirken von 4 Kräften:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Mobility
  • Social Business / Social Media
  • und BigData/Analytics

Während das alles durchaus korrekt sein mag, glaube ich doch, dass diese Konzepte allesamt einen originären Fehler haben: Cloud Computing ist nicht Teil des Ganzen sondern die inherente Basis des gesamten Modells:

Cloud Computing as a basis to the 3rd Platform

Cloud Computing as a basis to the 3rd Platform

Lassen Sie mich an Hand der anderen drei Paradigmen ausführen, warum das so ist.

1: Social Transformation

Social Transformation - from Profiles to Data Feeds

Social Transformation – from Profiles to Data Feeds

Das Bild oben zeigt wie Facebook 2005 und 2011 ausgesehen hat und wie es heute aussieht. Sie sehen, dass der Fokus am Beginn auf dem Benutzer und dessen Profil, dessen Eigenschaften, dessen Vorlieben lag. Mark Zuckerberg wollte ursprünglich einfach die ganze Welt miteinander verbinden. Dass sich so eine bahnbrechende Idee – wenn sie funktioniert – natürlich perfekt durch Werbung auf der betreffenden Plattform finanzieren lässt, liegt auf der Hand (2011 schon deutlich sichtbar). Heute können Sie viel mehr mit dem sozialen Netzwerk und Ihren eigenen Informationen tun: Sie können sie zu zielgerichteter Information für andere Systeme oder Gruppen von Menschen nutzbar machen: Wenn 1000 Menschen an einer sonst flüssig befahrbaren Verkehrsader jammern, dass sie im Stau stehen, wird das wohl stimmen, und es lässt sich unter Umständen aus den “Social Feeds” der Autofahrer ableiten, was auf der betreffenden Strecke gerade schief läuft.

Und wo ist hier die Cloud? Unter der Plattform “Facebook” selbst, die in einem streng nach Cloud-Elastizitäts-Merkmalen aufgebauten Rechenzentrum läuft, sowie in angeschlossenen Data Lakes, die in der Lage sind, nicht nur derartige Informationen in großem Maß aufzunehmen, sondern eben auch in entsprechend kurzer Zeit auszuwerten.

Womit wir beim Thema …

2: Data Transformation

angelangt wären. Dazu – wie schon bereits in meinem mittlerweile doch schon ein paar Monate alten Whitepaper “The Next Big Thing” ausgeführt – die meiner Meinung nach bislang beste Definition von BigData:

“BigData summarizes the legal, social, technology, application and business dimension of the fact that through applications being consumed … a vast amount of information is generated and needs to be managed and efficiently used”

Ich habe zur Vereinfachung des Prinzips und seiner Auswirkungen versucht, auf einen Blick darzustellen, wie zukünftig mit Daten umzugehen ist:

BigData Transformation - from ETL to ELT

BigData Transformation – from ETL to ELT

Machen Sie sich keine Gedanken mehr am Beginn, was Sie am Ende mit den Daten anfangen wollen; sehen Sie, dass Sie der Daten habhaft werden, die sie für Ihr Geschäft benötigen könnten. In welcher Form (in welchem “Format”) auch immer. Eine Transformation zum Zwecke intelligenter Verknüpfung und Auswertung kann später folgen. Wir haben das früher so nicht gemacht, weil wir garnicht die Rechenleistungen bereit stellen hätten können, die nötig sind, um verschieden vorliegende Daten in Echtzeit zu konsolidieren und zu aggregieren. Und selbst ohne diese Fähigkeit waren unsere DWH-Systeme mitunter unwartbare Moloche, oder?

Die Cloud als Basis einer modernen BigData Architektur erlaubt die Elastizität und ad-hoc Rechenleistung, wenn sie zu Analyse-Zwecken benötigt wird.

Übrigens: Das bedeutet keineswegs, dass Sie sich gar keine Gedanken machen sollen, was Sie mit den mühevoll gesammelten Daten anfangen können – ich glaube sogar, dass diese Überlegung essentiell ist, um BigData strategisch effizient zu nutzen; ich glaube nur, dass diese Überlegung nicht mehr am Anfang stehen muss. Und dass dem so ist, ermöglicht uns Cloud Computing.

3: Mobile Transformation

Das ist einfach. Dazu reichen die folgenden beiden Bilder:

Old Mobile Phone

A very old mobile phone – some years maybe …

 

Mobile Payment - Mobile Banking

Mobile Payment – Mobile Banking

Zuerst ein Handy, das manche vielleicht noch kennen (es ist, sagen wir, etwa 10 Jahre alt, vielleicht ein bisschen mehr) – dann ein “etwas” Neueres mit implantierter Bankomatkarte (geht in Österreich seit Anfang Juni). Wo da die Cloud ist? Unter dem AppStore für die benötigten Mobile Apps, unter den Backend-Systemen für die Verknüpfung von Services, unter den Services selbst, die in Container-Technologie elastisch auf Benutzeranforderungen reagieren, …

Sie sehen also, Cloud Computing ist nicht eine “Force” in einem “Nexus”, sondern die Basis-Technologie schlechthin, die ein Zusammenwirken der anderen 3 Kräfte im 3rd-Platform-Modell überhaupt erst möglich macht.

Und was durch dieses Zusammenwirken erst möglich wird, lässt sich immer noch am Besten durch den Begriff

“Digital Business”

beschreiben. Ich möchte mich hier gar nicht mehr lang mit Begrifflichkeiten aufhalten (im oben erwähnten White Paper gibt es dazu bereits einiges nachzulesen, und über die Zeit haben sich – wie immer bei solch hochveränderlichen, innovativen Themen – Myriaden von “gscheiten” Menschen damit aufgehalten, was wie genannt werden darf oder muss (erinnern Sie sich nur an die viel-zitierte Behauptung, Industrie 4.0 dürfe nur in der deutschen Sprache verwendet werden, weil es eine Digitalisierungs-Initiative Deutschlands wäre).

Entscheidend ist nicht die Begrifflichkeit sondern das, worum es eigentlich geht: Eine Verbindung von Menschen, Systemen und Endgeräten (Dingen, Devices, Gadgets, …). Sich vor Augen zu führen, welche Möglichkeiten diese Verbindung, wenn intelligent umgesetzt, für uns bringt, bringt Digitalisierung überhaupt erst in Bewegung. In unsern Köpfen, unseren Innovationen – letztlich in unseren Unternehmen und im täglichen Leben.

Im Whitepaper “The Next Big Thing” erzähle ich am Ende ein paar kleine Geschichten; Szenarien, die illustrieren, was durch Digitale Transformation denkbar wird. Mittlerweile sind wir viel weiter als in diesen Geschichten. Teilweise sind die skizzierten Szenarien Realität, teilweise sind ganz neue Szenarien entstanden.

Connected Cars – Ist das heute Realität?

BMW-connected

BMW (2014) with connected-car information panel

Vielleicht noch nicht überall. Aber das hier gezeigte Bild entstammt einem Artikel aus 2014. Heute haben alle modernen Fahrzeuge eine In-Vehicle-Plattform, die es ermöglicht, von außen Informationen in das Fahrzeug einzuspielen. An der Nutzbarmachung dieser Möglichkeit für den modernen Verkehr wird gerade gearbeitet.

Oder SmartCity?

Sanatander ist eine von vielen Städten rund um den Erdball, in dem Digitalisierung und die Digitale Transformation Realität geworden sind. Während jedoch beispielsweise in Amsterdam auf der “Beacon Mile” gerade mal ein paar Information an vorbei”gehende” Smartphones verteilt werden können, hat Santander sein gesamtes City Management – von öffentlichem Verkehr, über Taxi, Luftqualität, Beleuchtung, Müllabfuhr, … und vieles mehr auf Digitalisierungs-Paradigmen im oben erwähnten Sinne (Mensch – System – Device) umgestellt. Hier ein Film, der die disruptive Veränderung dieser Initiative für Santander näher erklärt:

Und im Hintergrund arbeitet eine Infrastructure Cloud, die die Integration all dieser Prozesse ermöglicht.

Übrigens: 2 Beispiele aus Wien:

  1. Die SmartCity Strategie der Stadt Wien verfolgt genau die selben Ziele wie Santander
  2. Und in Wien Neubau arbeitet ein Unternehmen gemeinsam mit der Stadt an einer in Kürze produktiv gehenden Multi-Mobilitäts-App, die es ermöglicht, aus mehreren Verkehrsangeboten das für die jeweilige Route beste zu wählen. Können Sie heute bereits als Labor-App nutzen. Laden Sie sich’s einfach vom AppStore runter; sie heißt “WienMobil LAB”.

 

Und wo ist die Cloud jetzt?

Broadband Affordability 2014

Cost of Broadband Subscription as a Percentage of Average Yearly Income, 2014

Allgemein werden für all diese Digitalen Transformationen 4 Treiber genannt:

  • Breit verfügbare Internet-Verbindung (siehe Bild, oben)
  • Hohe Akzeptanz des Mobil-Telefons, eigentlich des Smartphones
  • Niedrige Kosten von Sensoren
  • Und in großem Maß verfügbare Rechenleistung

Da letzteres (nämlich: Rechenleistung) selbstredend in einem Cloud-Modell bereit gestellt wird, beantwortet sich die Frage nach der Allgegenwärtigkeit von Cloud Computing eigentlich von selbst, oder?

Security & Privacy

Security - Privacy - Control - Multi Tenancy

Security – Privacy – Control – Multi Tenancy

Abschließend noch zwei Wort an alle, die die Digitale Transformation als (persönliche oder unternehmerische) Gefahr empfinden: “Vergessen Sie’s!”

Warum?

Nun – lassen Sie mich das mit einer kleinen Geschichte aus den Anfangszeiten von Cloud Computing in Mitteleuropa beantworten: Im Jahr 2009 war ich zu einer Konferenz als Speaker eingeladen, in welcher Microsoft und Siemens die Potentiale von Cloud Computing gemeinsam zum Thema gemacht und diskutiert haben; damals hat ein sonst großartiger Kollege von Microsoft Multi-Mandanten-Fähigkeit leichtfertiger Weise mit Datensicherheit und Verschlüsselung verwechselt. Ohne den Irrtum auszubügeln, schlitterte sein Talk in eine Diskussion um die Unmöglichkeit, Cloud im Industrie-Bereich anzuwenden, weil es doch unmöglich sei, die eigene Unternehmens-IP vor der Konkurrenz zu schützen. Diese Art der Diskussion blieb uns über Jahre auf einschlägigen Events erhalten. Hat sie die Cloud aufhalten können? Nein.

Wenn Sie möchten, diskutieren wir gerne in weiterer Folge die Elemente

  • Sicherheit
  • Privatsphäre
  • Daten-Kontrolle
  • und Multi-Mandanten-Fähigkeit

Doch tun wir es bitte auf inkludierender Basis. Schließen wir neue Chancen, neue Dienstleistungen, Alltagserleichterungen nicht aus, weil wir Angst vor einer Verletzung obiger Werte haben, sondern schließen wir diese oben genannten Überlegungen mit ein in die Möglichkeiten, die sich uns auftun – und tun wir das auf Basis der Forderung nach größerer Transparenz!

Wenn ich weiß, was von wem wofür mit meinen Daten gemacht wird, dann werde ich sie gerne – kontrolliert – bereit stellen; weil ich nämlich dadurch einen Vorteil erfahre – in meinen eigenen Prozessen, in meinem eigenen beruflichen und privaten Alltag!

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Vicious Circle into the Past

We are on the edge of an – as businessinsider.com recently called it – exploding era: The IoT Era. An interesting info graphic tells us stunning figures of a bright future (at least when it comes to investment and sales; see the full picture further below or in the article).

The info graphic in fact stresses the usual numbers (billions of devices, $ trillion of ROI) and draws the following simple explanation of the ecosystem:

IoT and BigData Analysis (info graphic clip)

A simple explanation of IoT and BigData Analysis

Devices are receiving requests to send data, in return they do send data and data gets analyzed. Period.

Of course, this falls short of any system integration or business strategy aspect of the IoT evolution. But there’s more of a problem with this (and other similar) views onto IoT. In order to understand that, let us have a bullet point look at the mentioned domains and their relation with IoT (second part of the graph; I am intentionally omitting all numbers):

  • Manufactoring: smart sensors use increases
  • Transportation: connected cars on advance
  • Defense: more drones used
  • Agriculture: more soil sensors for measurements
  • Infrastructure, City: spending on IoT systems increases
  • Retail: more beacons used
  • Logistics: tracking chips usage increases
  • Banking: more teller-assist ATMs
  • Mining: IoT systems increase on extraction sites
  • Insurance (the worst assessment): IoT system will disrupt insurances (surprise me!)
  • Home: more homes will be connected to the internet
  • Food Services: majority of IoT systems will be digital signs
  • Utilities: more smart meter installations
  • Hospitality: room control, connected TVs, beacons
  • Healthcare: this paragraph even contents itself with saying what devices can do (collect data, automate processes, be hacked ?)
  • Smart Buildings: IoT devices will affect how buildings are run (no! really?)

All of these assessments fall short of any qualification of either which data is being produced, collected and processed and for which purpose.

And then – at the very beginning – the info graphic lists 4 barriers to IoT market adoption:

  • Security concerns
  • Privacy concerns
  • Implementation problems
  • Technological fragmentation

BusinessInsider, with this you have become part of the problem (as so many others already have): Just like in the old days of cloud commencement, the most discussed topics are security and privacy – because it is easy to grasp, yet difficult to explain, what the real threat would possibly be.

Let us do ourselves a favour and stop stressing the mere fact that devices will provide data for processing and analysis (as well as more sophisticated integration into backend ERP, by the way). That is a no-brainer.

Let us start talking about “which”, “what for” and “how to show”! Thereby security and privacy will become and advantage for IoT and the digital transformation. Transparency remains the only way of dealing with that challenge, because – just as with cloud – those concerns will ultimately not hinder adoption anyway!

 

The IoT Era will explode (BusinessInsider Info Graphic)

The IoT Era will explode (BusinessInsider Info Graphic)

{feature image from www.thedigitallife.com}

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Automation and Orchestration – a Conclusion

This post is part of the "Automation-Orchestration" architecture series. Posts of this series together comprise a whitepaper on Automation and Orchestration for Innovative IT-aaS Architectures.

 

Automation and Orchestration are core capabilities in any IT landscape.

Traditionally, there’d be classical on-premise IT, comprised of multiple enterprise applications, (partly) based on old-style architecture patterns like file exchange, asynchronous time-boxed export/import scenarios and historic file formats.

At the same time, the era of the Cloud hype has come to an end in a way that Cloud is ubiquitous; it is as present as the Internet as such has been for years, and the descendants of Cloud – mobile, social, IoT – are forming the nexus for the new era of Digital Business.

For enterprises, this means an ever-increasing pace of innovation and a constant advance of business models and business processes. As this paper has outlined, automation and orchestration solutions form the core for IT landscapes to efficiently support businesses in their striving for constant innovation.

Let’s once again repeat the key findings of this paper:

  • Traditional “old style” integration capabilities – such as: file transfer, object orientation or audit readiness – remain key criteria even for a cloud-ready automation platform.
  • In an era where cloud has become a commodity, just like the internet as such, service centered IT landscapes demand for a maximum of scalability and adaptability as well as multi-tenancy in order to be able to create a service-oriented ecosystem for the advancement of the businesses using it.
  • Security, maximum availability, and centralized management and control are fundamental necessities for transforming an IT environment into an integrated service center supporting business expansion, transformation, and growth.
  • Service orchestration might be the ultimate goal to achieve for an IT landscape, but system orchestration is a first step towards creating an abstraction layer between basic IT systems and business-oriented IT-services.

Therefore, for IT leaders, choosing the right automation and orchestration solution to support the business efficiently might be the majorly crucial decision to either become a differentiator and true innovation leader or (just) remain the head of a solid – yet: commodity – enterprise IT.

The CIO of the future is a Chief Innovation (rather than “Information”) Officer – and Automation and Orchestration both build the core basis for innovation. What to look at in getting to the right make-or-buy decision was the main requirement for this paper.

 

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Read “The Circle” and opt out!

Is it – as a committed social media aficionado – applicable to call for an opt out of it all? It is, once you’ve read “The Circle”, the 2013 fictional novel by author Dave Eggers.

Eggers portraits a powerful internet company making money through advertising (links to Google or Facebook are purely accidental, of course). Mae Holland is a tech worker and in her second job after having graduated she’s given an opportunity at The Circle – an opportunity which most tech workers these days desperately seek for. Mae got support from her college roommate Annie who had already made it to the group of the 40 most senior managers in the company, directly reporting to the founders – “Three Wise Men”: Tom Stenton, Eamon Bailey and Ty Gospodinov. While the first two actively involve themselves in the company’s endeavours, Ty works on new developments mostly secluded in the background.

Mae starts in Customer Experience and works herself up the chain by overcommitting to objectives and seemingly easily (but in truth with great personal effort and sacrifice) following the increasingly demanding involvement not only in her work duties but also all virtual and physical social interaction with fellow colleagues. She not-falls-in-love with one nerdy Circler she has sex with, whom she somehow admires for his technological development of a system protecting children from violence; she commences to desperately long for encounters with another Circler, who becomes increasingly mysterious as the company develops itself more and more towards total transparency.

Eggers, the author, does not keep the reader long from his message: One of the first major announcements of one of the Wise, Eamon Bailey, is a development called “SeeChange” – an extremely low-cost, top-quality A/V camera, capable of running on battery for about 2 years and streaming its crystal clear 4k images via satellite onto the SeeChange platform. Anyone can install cameras anywhere, they are barely noticed and everybody can logon to SeeChange with their unique – very personal and real – identity, their “TruYou”.

Rings a bell? Well, this is only the starting point into a rollercoaster of more awesomely cool technology tools, all aggregated through “TruYou” and made available to everyone anytime.

Dave Eggers is brilliantly creating a staggering balance between technological blessings and their benefit for employees, communities and the people as a whole on the one hand and the increasing sacrifice individuals could be demanded to make on the other hand in order to leverage that technological advance. This is – in short – the utter embarrassing red line throughout the whole book from the very first page until the closing line.

Of course, “The Circle” addresses the time we spend in social media, the way we communicate with each other (personally and virtually), the blessings and the threats that a modern, technology-based life bears. While reading, I was constantly torn between appreciating the sketched development (note: this isn’t science fiction, this is just the next step in a logical advance that we’re facing) and detesting the commitment it would demand from the ones making real use of it. Being into like two thirds of it and swallowing the book’s lines in nightly sessions, my only remaining questions was this: Will Eggers eventually manage to destroy my thorough belief in the two main importances of modern social media involved life and communication:

  • Utter transparency: I want to always know – or: be able to know – who does what with my data
  • And utter free will: I want to always be allowed to opt out, if I want to

I will not disclose the answer – I’d be “spoiling”. BUT – if you haven’t done so far, I recommend: Read “The Circle”. And then consider carefully, where and what to opt in or opt out of. It remains important.

circlebig

P.S.: There’ll be a movie comin’ this year, starring Tom Hanks as Eamon Bailey. Don’t read the articles on it, as they all contain spoilers on one important turn of the story!

 

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An #IoT #terms jungle

I would love to have a few words of opinion from everyone …

When I listen to talks or follow research literature, I do observe a fuzzy usage of terms around the IoT field. Here comes my definition – and I’d love to hear/read yours (beware: this may be provocative)

Internet of Things

A fuzzy description of the fact that devices are directly connected with the Internet (here, the term “device” describes anything from an implanted sensor up to a mobile phone and can be built into whatever from humans to power plants). Newly developing now: “Internet of Everything” – seems that understanding fluctuates, hence definitions need to become even more fuzzy …

Industrie 4.0

A German term describing the 4th industrial revolution (the 1st being “steam”, 2nd “mass production”, 3rd “digital and IT in the industry”, 4th “IoT”, mainly). Despite otherwise claimed in a German wikipedia site, “Industrie 4.0” is not the invention of a German governmental initiative. Industrie 4.0 – put simply – describes the totally interconnected and Internet-connected production process.

Industry 4.0

Same as above – just English. Despite varied claims of speakers that the term “Industry 4.0” does not exist and the term “Industrial Internet” had to be used, Industry 4.0 is widely accepted and used as a term in the definition given above.

Industrial Internet

In spite of many claims, that this was a term mainly introduced to describe and drive GE’s IoT strategy, truth is that this term’s popularity can mainly be retraced to the founding of the Industrial Internet Consortium. Otherwise the term would still lurk around low and not fuzz-up definitions so much.

Digital Business

The broadest of terms describing the disruptive change that a thought-through IoT will bring to all businesses and consumers when connected thoughtfully and efficiently with data, analysis and other business process oriented backend systems. Also, this term refers to a changed user experience, brokerage of information, better info tailoring, etc. – so essentially the term is describing all of the change that the more technology-oriented definitions bring along for anyone and any business.

Digitalization

describes the enrichment of business processes through more accurate information – generated mostly digital and through IoT technologies

Cyber Physical System

This term describes an ecosystem capable of bringing together physics (humans, things – which are connected to the net) with cyber (IT) systems. In essence, the term can be used to describe what lies behind all the IoT/Industry4.0 stuff – what brings them to life in a business process oriented interconnected IT (possible across enterprises and industries). Main aspect in CPSs: Integration (of devices as well as systems (of systems)).

So,
what’s your take on all this?

 

{feature image found on this blog – hope, the author doesn’t mind reuse}

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#IoT in perspective

This morning, a twitter post by EMC caught my attention – not the article, but the image used to promote it (it’s the feature image of this post now): “30 billion devices expected to be connected and used in 2020”.

Gartner – in a news from about a year ago – had put it more reservedly: 25B devices in 2015 (maybe they’ve changed their estimates already).

Anyway: What strikes me is the permanent rise of this figure. It seems that each month the prognosis on the number of connected devices is increased by 10% (which means that by the end of March we’ll face a claim of 40B by 2020). BTW: Claiming figures for 2020 neglects the fact that the devices claimed to be connected by 2015 would already produce an estimate of 7.3 Zettabyte of data. If this little spot (barely visible) 1Terabyte was your 1 Terabyte harddisc then the following would mimic 1 Exabyte. Take this field of 1TB harddiscs, multiply it by 1024 once more and you got 1(!) Zettabyte. 7,3 times the amount is the estimate of things data production of this very year, you’re reading this.

1Exabyte

I do not think that many can handle even this amount of data. But let us just put the number of things connected into

Perspective

If any of those 30 billion device is estimated to have a width of 1 cm and we line them up 1 by 1 in a row, we’d have a line of 300,000 (3-hundred-thousand) kilometers of length. 7.5 times around the earth. Or:

  • nearly all roads of the UK (400k km) covered with devices
  • 3 times the road network of Austria (100k km)
  • 5% of the road network of the US (6,341,421 km according to OECD figures)

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Let’s try something else:

The current estimate of population in the world (according to wikipedia) is 7.3 billion (nice coincidence: 1 TB of data per 1 living person at the moment) with an annual estimated growth rate of 1.1%. That makes a world population of 7.71 billion in 2020 or (taken EMC’s image from the beginning) 3.89 devices per person.

Assuming that Africa and maybe 50% of Asia and South America might not be that strongly equipped with devices by this time, we can estimate that some 4 billion people will be handling those 30 billion devices (don’t blame the assumptions, just feel the numbers). 30 billion devices per the estimated Internet-of-Things population computes to around 7 devices per capita. Realistic?

Well – just to be sure: An average car – today – has some 20 sensors (fuel level, engine temperature, speedometer, throttle position, tire-pressure, blind spot detector, … just to name a few). To assume that those will not be connected devices in future would be pretty naiv. 3 inhabitants per 1 car? I think this number is overestimated – so no worries: The figure is accurate and realistic (maybe to low even).

However,

The point here is:

“Connected device” means that those little gadgets are constantly talking to something. This “something” is software; software which must be built to connect and integrate those devices with a larger IT ecosystem (see my “Digital” whitepaper for a rough IoT reference architecture). Who has already thought about the amount of communication (not data – communication) happening from these devices. Constantly. On a high pace. Expected to be resilient at all times. And real-time.

And even IF the amount of devices and their communication would be spread over multiple device integration solutions, which integration layer solution would be capable of connecting multiple stakeholder systems across enterprises to make the assumed amount of data useable for businesses.

Who has built – or is building – an integration layer offering these vast capabilities? If you know one, let me know, please … and do post its capability figures into the comment!

 

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#Digitalize 2015 – Standortbestimmung, ein wenig schmerzhaft

Im Feature-Bild oben finden sich nur einige Zitate aus der heute im Chaya Fuera über die Bühne gegangenen Konferenz “#Digitalize 2015“. Und ich wage hier ein Review der Veranstaltung, die für mich – dies gleich eingangs – erstaunlich dünn besucht war. Angenommen hatte ich ein übervolles Plenum mit Platzproblemen im eher kleinen Foyer – zu Beginn war der Saal halb voll. Gut – das änderte sich; dennoch blieb das Event kaum mehr als eine Standortbestimmung für die Digitale Branche in Österreich. Nichts exorbitant Richtungsweisendes, nichts epochal Neues – und dennoch: eine ausnehmend wichtige Standortbestimmung. Und damit neben den monatlichen Selbstbeweihräucherungs-Events der APA DBT Community und einigen unbeholfenen Versuchen kleinerer Netzwerke wohl das wichtigste Event zum allgemeinen Digitalisierungstrend in diesem Land.

Die Menge an Speakern, die Confare für diese Konferenz zusammengetrommelt hatte, konnte sich ebenso sehen lassen wie die Durchmischung der Themen. Zwar führte das leider auch zu Skurrilitäten – wie z.B. dem QS-Vortrag von ZT Dr.tech. Wolfgang Prentner, der SW-Qualität aus einer etwa 20 Jahre alten Sicht beleuchtete. Gleichzeitig bekamen wir auch wahrlich Erhellendes zu hören und sehen – derartig “forward thinking”, dass sich Österreich – klassischer “late follower” bei derartigen Themen – eigentlich richtig festhalten muss.

Besonders – und gleich vorweg hervorzuheben – der Vortrag von Eric-Jan Kaak (@claptonline), der mit dem Statement: “‘Industrie 4.0’ und ‘Internet der Dinge’ lösen nichts,  wenn sie in ‘Organisation 1.0’, verbunden mit ‘Arbeitsplatz 1.4’  im ‘Businessmodell 0.1 Beta’ stattfinden” vorgestellt wurde. Man konnte meinen, dieser Mann wäre einem meiner früheren Arbeitgeber entsprungen, so plastisch real hat er die Inkompatibilitäten herkömmlicher Organisationsmodelle mit dem Digitalisierungszeitalter beschrieben (ich frage mich, wie viele anwesende  Entscheider sich bei seinen Worten bei der Nase genommen haben). Ein paar seiner Kernaussagen sinngemäß widergegeben: “Das Management hat sich beim Thema Innovation seit Jahren eine großzügige Auszeit gegönnt.” – “Hierarchie – das kommt von hieros – gottgleich, göttlich – und arche – Herrschaft – also: Gottgleiche Herrschaft. Das Problem dabei: Damit landet der Kunde immer bei einem Menschen unterster Stufe, der in der Regel systemfrustriert ist.” – “Eine moderne Organisation – bereit für die Herausforderung des digitalen Zeitalters – muss sich von ‘reporting structure’ zu ‘supporting structure’ wandeln.” Ich kenne selbst genügend Unternehmen, die davon etwa so weit entfernt sind wie das 1. industrielle vom jetzigen Zeitalter. Und die werden in 5 – 10 Jahren gestorben sein – das meinte auch Eric-Jan Kaak.

Kaak firmierte als Keynote am Programm; zeitlich viel zu spät für meine Begriffe. Die anderen beiden  Keynotes waren ähnlich interessant, wenngleich nicht ganz so spannend. Michael Krammer, Ventocom Managing Partner und Telco Veteran, bemühte Vergleiche – durchaus interessante Vergleiche: Vor 10 Jahren war das meistverkaufte Auto ein VW Golf mit dem ersten serienmäßigen Tempomat; heute ebenso – mit ein paar neuen serienmäßigen Assistenten. Das Handy der Wahl war damals das Nokia 6230i – sensationelle 1.3MP Kamera, 64k Datenrate, 8MB Speicher – heute ist es ein iPhone. Viel erschütternder allerdings die von Krammer vorgebrachten Beispiele, wie 3-4 Kunden im richtigen Moment mit den richtigen social  postings ein Produkt oder eine Strategie beeinflussen können. Daher wäre – so seine Ausführungen – Fairness und Transparenz, gleichermaßen innerbetrieblich und nach außen, oberstes Gebot in einer innovativen zeitgemäßen Unternehmensstrategie.

Dr. Mervyn G. Maistry von Ernst&Young setzte in diesem Stil fort und legte endlich mal angreifbar dar, was das oft bemühte exponentielle Wachstum der fortschreitenden Digitalisierung tatsächlich bedeutet: Wären 30 Schritte linear betrachtet 30 Meter, so sind 30 exponentielle Schritte eine Entfernung von 26 Erdumrundungen. Seine Warnung an Unternehmen: “Do not do old things with new technology or old technology newly. Key to Digitalization is to do new things.”

Neben den Keynotes der wohl interessanteste Teil der Veranstaltung war eine doch recht ansehnliche Menge an Fallbeispielen – wenngleich nicht alle das Prädikat “disruptiv” verdienen würden. Beispielsweise fällt der Vortrag von Dr. Manfred Wöhrl und Walter Pürk zu “Digital Signage” – der Slot war mit “konkretem Umsetzungsbeispiel” angekündigt – für mich maximal unter “interessant”; wirklich innovativ wirkten die gebrachten Beispiele noch nicht – wiewohl Wöhrl wie immer spannend und lebendig vortrug.

Ganz anders Andreas Zilch von PAC, der mit dem Korneuburger Logistiker HAVI ein Unternehmen präsentierte, das sich durch Smart Analytics und Einführung von IT in herkömmliche “supply chain” Prozesse zu einem unverzichtbaren Dienstleister der McDonalds-Kette gemacht hat (übrigens gibt’s die Fallbeispiel-Sammlung von PAC derzeit noch zum freien Download unter dem Stichwort “Innovation Register“).

Und sonst: Jürgen Weiss, DigitizedRebels Consulting, bot eine wahrlich amüsante Schau zum Thema “Emotion im Verkauf” – hauptsächlich gestützt auf das Genre interaktiver Videos – spannend vor allem für den Retail-Bereich. Mark Winkler, braintribe, erzählte seine – zugegeben schon etwas angestaubte aber – immer noch beeindruckende Geschichte, wie das braintribe-Flaggschiff “Tribefire” Digitalisierung durch Daten-Konsolidierung und -Präsentation unterstützt. Der SAP Innovation Officer Dr. Carsten Linz berichtete von den disruptiven Prozessmodellen, die mit SAP HANA möglich werden (ich konnte seine disruptive Meinung nicht ganz teilen, wenngleich HANA mit Sicherheit eine solide zukunftsweisende Technologie ist). Und der Group CIO der OMV, Dipl.-Kfm. Marcus Frantz, erklärte, wie Digitalisierung mit einer doch eher traditionellen “large scale IT” verknüpfbar werden kann – vielleicht der für den Wandel, den in Österreich Industrie, Handel, … und damit natürlich auch die IKT-Branche durchmachen werden müssen, wichtigste Vortrag überhaupt an diesem Tag.

Dass der Ideengeber eines wirklich tollen StartUps – www.way2stage.com – hingegen lediglich Eric Riess runterbetete, war dann doch wieder ein wenig enttäuschend. Ich drück ihm trotzdem für die morgen anstehende Funding-Runde die Daumen!

Zu guter Letzt zwei Slots, die in einem vollständigen Review der #Digitalize nicht fehlen dürfen: Mag. Martin-Hannes Giesswein war so schnell wieder von der Bühne herunten, wie er nach der Pause plötzlich auf ihr stand: In den scharfen 10 Minuten seiner Präsentation hat er aber dem Plenum mehr mitgegeben als viele andere Speaker-Kollegen heute: In der Essenz die Botschaft: “Die Generation Y wird die Digitale Transformation vorantreiben; sie wird Umsetzer und Kunde zugleich sein. Wenn Führungskräfte in diesem Land ihr Unternehmen erfolgreich durch die Revolution führen wollen, dann müssen sie lernen, wie man eine Generation Y führt.”

Und dann noch Mag. Ulrike Huemer, CIO der Stadt Wien: Ich bleibe selten bei einer derartigen Konferenz wirklich bis zum Schluss. War es Kalkül der Veranstalter oder reiner Zufall? Was auch immer – Mag. Huemer verstand es nicht nur, die Zeit bis zum ersehnten Beginn der “Vienna Digital Night” (gleich im Anschluss an die #Digitalize on location programmiert) drastisch zu verkürzen – auch was sie berichtete – hauptsächlich mit welchen Projekten die Stadt Wien innovative und zukunftsweisende Veränderungen hin zu einer echten Smart City vorantreiben möchte – hat mir doch einiges an Bewunderung abgerungen. Nachzulesen in der www.digitaleagenda.wien – es lohnt sich.

Digitale Standortbestimmung, also – alles in allem war es das. Nicht mehr und nicht weniger. Dass der Standort Österreich – wie leider so oft – dem Standort “Welt” auch bei der Umsetzung wirklich sinnbringender, zielführender, innovativer Digital Business Ideen hinterherhinkt, hat den Anwensenden hoffentlich ein wenig zu denken gegeben. Denn obwohl es den Vorträgen ein wenig am roten Faden einerseits und den konkret angreifbaren, den “coolen”, den wirklich “digitalen”, Bespielen mangelte, so muss man Confare doch das Kompliment machen, dass die #Digitalize 2015 das erste Sinn bringende Event zum Thema war.

 

P.S.: Und als i-Tüpfelchen auf alles war es eine Freude, Josef Broukal endlich wieder einmal als Moderator eines derartigen Events erleben zu dürfen!

 

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What is “trending” – anyway?

Source: Gartner (August 2015)

The report “Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies” – every year’s desperately expected Gartner report about what’s trending in IT – has been out now for a few weeks. Time to bend over it and analyze the most important messages:

1. Evolution

Gartner continues to categorize technologies on the hype cycle by their model of “business eras” (see my post about last year’s Hype Cycle for more details on that). The technologies analyzed for this year’s report are claimed to belong to the last 3 stages of this model: “Digital Marketing”, “Digital Business” and “Autonomous”. Little has changed within the most important technologies supporting these changes:

  • “Internet of Things” is still on its peak
  • “Wearable User Interfaces” has obviously been exchanged by just the term “Wearables” (which makes total sense)
  • “Speech-to-Speech Translation” has advanced beyond its peak
  • “Autonomous Vehicles” is probably the currently most-hyped area around Digital Business

2. Revolution

However, there’s a significant change in the world of technologies to be seen this year: While the plateau of productivity was pretty crowded last year with all sorts of 3D, Analytics and Social stuff (like streams, e.g.), this year’s Hype Cycle doesn’t show much in that area. Which actually proves nothing less than us living in an era of major disruption. Formerly hyped technologies like “Cloud” have vanished from the graph – they’ve become commodity. New stuff like all-things digital, “Cryptocurrencies” or “Machine Learning” are still far from any maturity. So, it’s a great time for re-shaping IT – let’s go for it!

Still, besides that, there remain some questions:

  • Why is “Hybrid Cloud” not moving forward, while “Cloud” is long gone from the Hype Cycle and CIOs are mainly – according to experience with my customers – looking for adopting cloud in a hybrid way? Is there still too little offer from the vendors? Are IT architects still not able to consume hybrid cloud models in a sufficiently significant way? Personally, I suspect “Hybrid” to have further advanced towards productivity than is claimed here; it’s just not that much talked about.
  • Why has Gartner secretly dropped “Software Defined Anything” (it was seen on the rise last year)? All that can be found on this year’s Hype Cycle is “Software-Defined Security”. While I agree, that in low-level infrastructure design the trend of software-defining components co-addresses important aspects of security, “Software-Defined Anything” has a much broader breadth into how IT will be changed in the next couple of years by programmers of any kind and languages of many sorts.
  • IoT Platforms has been introduced newly. With a 5-10 years adoption time? Really? Gartner, i know businesses working on that right now; I know vendors shaping their portfolio into this direction at awesome pace. I doubt this timeframe thoroughly.

3. and More

What’s, though, really important with this year’s Hype Cycle is the concentration of technologies that address “biology” in any sense. Look at the rising edge of the graph and collect what’s hyped there. We got:

  • Brain Computer Interface
  • Human Augmentation
  • 3D Bioprinting Systems
  • Biochips
  • or Bioacoustic Sensing

Not to mention “Smart Robots” and “Connected Homes” … Technologies like these will shape our future life. And it cannot be overestimated how drastically this change will affect us all – even if many of these technologies are still seen with a 5-10 years adoption time until they reach production maturity (however: it wouldn’t be the first time that a timeframe on the Hype Cycle need revision after a year of increased insight).

 

While reading a lot of comments on the Hype Cycle these days, I also fell upon “the five most over-hyped technologies” on venturebeat.com: The author, Chris O’Brien, takes a humorous view on some of the “peaked” technologies on the graph (Autonomous vehicles, self-service Analytics, IoT, Speech-to-speech translation and Machine Learning) – and shares a couple of really useful arguments on why the respective technologies will not be adopted that fast.

I can agree with most of O’Brien’s arguments – however: while some of the things-based stuff invented might be of limited applicability or use (connected forks? huh?), the overall meaningfulness of what “Digital Business” will bring to us all is beyond doubt. The question – as so often before – is not whether we’ll use all that new stuff to come, but whether we’ll be educated enough to use it to our benefit … ?

If you got questions and opinions of your own on that – or if you can answer some of my questions above – please, drop a comment! 🙂

The input for this post, the “Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies” is published in the Gartner Newsroom

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Android is a scary platform

Significant Other is asking me in 12-hour intervals: “Which state are we in: Like, dislike, hate?” Kids are showing me handling best practice and useful apps. Any time and again you’d hear me cursing or smiling in joy – I’ve switched from a Windows Phone to Android!

Why? Well … 2 reasons, mainly: (1) my mobile provider doesn’t really support WP too well and (2) I wanted to know what Android is on to these days.

To begin with: I may have made a mistake by not choosing the Android-native Nexus; reason: I missed the SD card slot. Secondly, I stumbled across a review of OnePlus just a few days too late (that would’ve been interesting, too). So, eventually I ended up with a Samsung Galaxy S5 which after boot instantly updated to Lollipop (5.0) – without flaw.

Hardware

The device is a 2.5GHz/2GB hardware with 16GB of internal memory (I added my 16G SD card holding all Windows Phone data – no prob here, either). First impressions in short:

  • solidly built hardware
  • nice display
  • very (very!) good camera with a lot of parameter possibilities (and HDR, of course)
  • LTE (fast and stable enough)
  • download booster combining WiFi and 4G for increased bandwidth (even faster, notably)
  • and a ton of apps from the beginning

Major annoyance: Some really strange and not at all useful native Samsung Apps (yes, I was warned that I won’t like that – took me a bit to wipe or disable and exchange them by their Android-native relatives but in the end I was fine).

Customization

You know that typical Android look-and-feel, right?

Homescreen overview

Homescreen overview

Turns out that Samsung had of course added their own launcher (TouchWiz) deeply into the OS – it isn’t too bad a feature; however, I’d have loved more to get what the OS manufacturer had in mind. Now, there’s no way really to get rid of TouchWiz w/o rooting the device; but there’s even some more annoyances …

I don’t have a screenshot of my old WP available (there’s lot’s of examples to be found anyway); however, the main flaw of Android’s way of presenting a home screen – with whatever launcher one eventually uses – is that it still remains “unstructured” in a way. Unless one develops a very own logic of grouping, ordering into folders and one’s personal homescreen sequence, it gets nothing short from searching anytime one wakens the phone. Also, the default setting is that every new app is automatically added to the homescreen – somewhere (obviously to the first free space). Where would one seek for this setting? Application Manager? Display Settings? No. It’s inside the Play Store app … well …

With WP I really honestly liked the tiled main screen and the instantly logical way of displaying installed apps. And recently they even added some visual customization capabilities – just enough to add personality to the screen. The openness of Android clearly has its drawback: There’s just too many places to change settings, customize appearance or control behaviour … and that continues …

Social and Comms

Why a smartpone if not for social media. Kids are teaching us how to use technology and social media really smart (think, we’ve discussed that many times before). One is well-off with Android in that respect.

Social media apps on Android

Social media apps on Android

I only even installed the obvious (as you can see above). There’s far more social media supporters to be found in Play Store – I didn’t have much time to test’em, yet. The ones I did try are doing their duty in a stable manner and I hardly miss any feature (just maybe that switching twitter accounts is much more convenient by just doing a swipe from the top in WP – in Android one has to go to the menu, select accounts and then choose the one to use).

One more on social (and communication): Every – emphasizing: every – social and comms app is by far faster in Android than their respective relative in WP (applies especially to WhatsApp and Messenger). And I’m still wondering why, indeed …

Mail & Calendar

To be blunt open: So far, this is an utter nightmare on Android!

While with WP7 the calendar was – to be honest – pretty ridiculous, the WP8 calendar (solidly redesigned) really offered some useful and perfectly helpful features. The Samsung Android phone – to begin with – comes with their own S-Planner application. Totally counterintuitive look-and-feel. Far too much information on one screen. … I instantly switched to another cal app I found pre-installed (probably the native Android calendar), just to discover that it is not much of a bummer, either. And — I was unable to discover any possibility to show upcoming meetings on the lock screen (also in this respect WP Notification Center is well ahead).

It gets worse with eMail (yes, I am still using that – sometimes ;)): I cannot remember whether there was a Samsung-owned eMail app (if there was, I probably got rid of it immediately). One of the very first eMail experiences one gets with a Google device is Google’s own GMail app. I was prepared for that. I never really liked Google’s way of categorization instead of a real folder structure. Anyway … the thing I really needed was a way to present my Exchange mailboxes – either in one place or as separate mail accounts within the system. I went with the built-in eMail app,

  • added all accounts,
  • discovered that I cannot change the order
  • discovered that I cannot change the mail account colour either
  • and finally realized that the app – depending on its daily mood – crashes within one particular mailbox (but not always the same one) or the “combined view” (which as such is pretty useful, but not when crashing).

So, this was no way to go. After finding out by fellow victims who already took time to complain online, that there isn’t really a way to solve that other than changing the mail client, I am now in the process of evaluating myriads of different clients (the advantage of Android’s developer openness pays off) and may share experiences in another post – let’s see. So far, I go with a thing called MailWise for Exchange/Office365 accounts and GMX Mail for POP accounts.

Android eMail apps as shown in the home screen folder

Android eMail apps as shown in the home screen folder

One more word re customization: With eMail and calendar – as a matter of fact – every single app ads its own notification scheme. Every one. And in eMail – for some weird reason – one even has to configure notification for every single account. I could possibly alter the notification tone for every mail account I am managing within the respective mail app. And this applies to A-N-Y mail app tested so far. One would end up with myriads of different rings, pops, knocks and melodies — wonder which brain is able to remember all those different assignments …

Apps

One major drawback of WP is their utterly limited app ecosystem. It gets better overtime – step by step, but still there is a lot of things one cannot do with WP that any other platform offers. I would love to urge Microsoft to invest heavily into overcoming that disadvantage of their OS; my take is, that they’d actually have to offer coding the WP app for free to any important vendor or services in order to increase acceptance of their phones.

The only problem with the Android app ecosystem really is that there’s so many to choose from – for every single area. So far, there’s only one useful app from my former WP times which I dearly miss on Android: CarRadar – an app that combines multiple “Cloud Car” (car sharing) offerings within one UI (including reservation). Other than that, there’s simply no shortage of features anymore. Meanwhile, I got 5 screens full of icons – which doesn’t necessarily mean that I search less and find more more quickly; it only means: it’s there. And sometimes I feel like: Less is more (though, not as few as on WP).

Data and how to control it

So, after having customized the basics to my needs (pretty awkward to spend some 2+ usage weeks and still not feeling fully under control of features), my utmost concern – as always – is: What happens to my data? Now, one knows, of course, that Microsoft spends much more thought on transparency than Google ever will. There is, however, a great big disclaimer whenever one commences using another Google service; it’s essentially an outtake of the full privacy policy:

  • we collect usage data, location data, logging data, …
  • we use it for presenting you with appropriate ads
  • we even combine data to improve your experience
  • bla bla bla

Nothing new under the sun. If one opts into using a Google device, one has to be prepared for that.

However, what one may not be prepared to is the utter nightmare that comes when wanting to get into control of all that again. With so many different apps, so many different places for settings, so many different parameters, a totally non-unified user experience (as a price for developer openness), … it gets really hard to find out all possible settings in all those many apps for controlling how those deal with data.

Here’s just some examples of what I discovered – intentionally or by accident – during the first 2 weeks of using the new phone:

  • Every new folder created and potentially filled with pictures gets grabbed by the Android photo backup feature asking whether to backup data within that folder to your Google account – there is no way of getting to the parameterization of backup other than when it pops up (as far as I could find out by now)
  • When an eMail is deleted from one of the accounts, MailWise still shows the deleted eMail as part of a conversation; the eMail object is nowhere to be found as such – it just shows in MailWise, hence must be somewhere (btw: I didn’t find a way of deleting one piece of a multi-mail conversation thread in MailWise – anyone able to help here? – please comment)
  • Everyone – by now – should know about Google’s aim to track your ways; if not -> read this!

However, by far the most weird moment was when suddenly out of nothing the (pretty newly developed) Google Photo Assistant popped up on my phone, telling me that it had discovered some images which seemingly combine well into a new banner photo (and it showed it to me):

Technology-Panorama from Ars Electronica Center Linz

Technology-Panorama from Ars Electronica Center Linz, auto-developed from 4 separate pics by Google Photo Assistant (no post work)

I never told Photo to act respectively; I even – thought to have – disabled all autonomy of Google Photo (knowing its still algorithmic weakness); nevertheless, it did its (Google-defined) duty and started suggesting things … simply utterly “scary” in a way …

Conclusion

“Which state are we in: Like, dislike, hate?” – Not “hate”, i’d say; “like” not either, though. I consider myself an advocate of transparency. I solidly believe that the way into the digital age is paved by a seriously vast data highway. We should know what flows there. We should be aware of our part in it. Microsoft is – to my believe – doing well with their OS in supporting the user to maintain control of what the device is doing; Android is missing out here. Totally. As a pay-off to flexibility and feature richness.

In a research document from earlier this year, IDC shows phone OS market share as follows:

IDC: Smartphone OS Market Share 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 Chart

Source: IDC Smartphone OS Market Share – Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

 

If this is really true, WP is severely undervalued in my opinion. WP – to me – is by far the most logical, most transparent and most user friendly phone OS (I should maybe mention that for a customer project I am also testing an iPhone 5S at the moment; I just didn’t want to mingle experiences into this post).

Android is more flexible and simply offers a whole world of options – drawback being that you need far more time to dig into them all.

According to the report above, we are seeing a total of 260 million Android devices in use worldwide. I would dearly love to see all those users spend enough time to understand their device and especially understand its usage of data provided by them – and how to control it.

 

{feature image source: wctechblog.com}

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Digitalization, IoT, networks and money

I am sitting at the Celtic-Plus spring event here in Vienna. Ridicolously high suit-rate compared to the fact that they intend to target future dynamics of how technology is going to be delivered to people and businesses. I’m in jeans and probably a bit of an outlaw – which fits pretty well in fact, because none of the pitched projects does really offer a mature collaboration opportunity for me.

However, it is still interesting to learn what’s the innovative potential in the field of wireless networking and media. Interested in more detail? You may wanna check out their hashtag: #celticevent

What’s pretty obvious here is that also mobile network providers and researchers in that area want to leverage and support innovation wrt Digital Business and the Internet of Things. Every other project is taking you onto a trip on how they will improve the world by providing people, businesses and things with an enhanced connectivity experience. 5G and the 5G Infrastructure Private Public Partnership is one of the most re-known and most heavily discussed topics here (heavily criticized, either, for their lack of reasearch into flexible broadband spectrum usage).

When listening to the project pitches, which mainly aim at finding partners within the community in order to execute on their research objectives, I was presented with a couple of really cool ideas; and also the project exhibition area offered a good insight into what is being done to improve worldwide connectivity (take e.g. the initiative to improve the reach of traditional wireless transmitter stations in order to bring wireless connectivity into remote areas; Serengeti area as a concrete example).

However, there was one particular problem with nearly all of the presented award winning or pitching projects: A severe lack of productizable and monetizeable results.

Here’s a few examples:

1. Tilas

TILAS explores possibilities to provide wireless to a huge amount of interconnected devices (like e.g. in heavily populated rural areas) and thereby making large deployments of huge amount of wearables and devices possible in the future.

On their folder, their achievements are described as “solutions to overcome the already detected technical problems in current large cities.” And it continues: “The demonstrator will highlight the main achievements in the different fields including figures that asset the benefits of the proposal in terms of capabilities and economic savings […]”. No tangible monetizable (product) results or implementation plans highlighted.

2. Seed4C

This is an acronym for “Security Embedded Element and Data privacy for Cloud”, and their objective is to propose an approach to attach hardware-based secure elements (SE) to “cloud nodes” in order to offer strong security enforcement and to support and end-2-end process ranging from security modelling to security assurance.

Good thought. Here’s their achieved results according to their flyer: “Seed4C has defined an end-2-end security process which consists of the following stages […]”, and then the stages are explained which include a modelling approach, an OpenStack platform for application deployment according to the model and security policy configuration. The project has ended in February 2015 after 3 years work. So, that’s it more or less. No claim of any company actually implementing this.

3. H2B2VS

The complete name of this is “HEVC Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Video Services”. And this is pretty interesting, as it proposes to use broadband networks in addition to broadcasting networks to allow for hybrid distribution of TV programs and services leveraging both in a synchronized way in order to overcome the limitations in capacity that traditional broadcasting methods have.

Achievements so far (as the project is going to end in October 2015):

  • 20 use cases on hybrid distribution described
  • 3 HEVC encoders and 2 decoders available
  • CDNs adapted to hybrid delivery
  • a proposal to MPEG how to efficiently synchronize broadcast and broadband (acceptance state not reported)

Tangible in a sense of productization? None, as far as I could see.

Future projects

The pitch session with about 20 differnt projects mostly asking for cooperation partners offered some interesting ideas as well, e.g. a framework to combine information from wearables (like e.g. about an accident of an elderly person) with location and mobile and skill data of close by healthcare personal, or a platform for predictable management of public transport, or a worldwide database for usable broadband spectrums in order to allow services to leverage any spectrum in a flexible dynamic, an agile, way (closing the gap of what’s claimed to be leaking in the 5G research projects’ scope)

None of them – however – offered any glimpse on competition analysis or tangible results and deliverables from which monetization opportunities could have been deducted.

So, in the end

… I was asking myself: With all those cool and highly innovative approaches being presented and with hundreds of millions of governmental money pumped into these initiatives – where is the results that companies take into their portfolios and products to be offered on the market or included in solutions? Where is the real practical change of ecosystems and services for consumers or businesses that show that the funds provided through collaboration under the Celtic-Plus cluster are rightfully used and spent? How can the European Union and EU governments spend huge sums of money to projects which (mostly) in the end do not come up with anything more than academic research results?

Don’t get me wrong: I thoroughly and fully trust, that funds are important, research on an innovative (maybe sometimes a bit academic) level is utterly necessary to drive digital innovation, that not every project can end with a tangible new solution being productive: But the spending for these kind of projects is tremendous, and the duration of most of the projects is pretty long, and the results, as I could see, are mostly so very limited that I would really love to demand funding organizations to bind their spendings to actual revenue achieved with the respective project results.

If any angel investor or private equity acted that way and not measured their engagement against real practically usable results, they’d be dead before having even started.

I think, in order to really be successful in terms of innovation, there needs to be innovative projects alongside monetizable and productizable business needs! And funds for the same — meaning that there’ll be less for purely academic research as long as it can’t be brought back into the market and – ultimately – benefits the end user and an improved (digital) world.

 

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