The Internet of Everything and the Public Sector

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My sixth article looks at the way governments, or more precisely the public sector are taking advantage of the The Internet of Everything to deliver new services to its citizens. Here is an excerpt:

If you live in Chicago and you want to know when the street sweeper is coming around so you can move your car and avoid getting a ticket, well, there’s an app for that. It’s a simple yet elegant solution produced by one of an army of app developers that the city’s public service has engaged to capitalize on the ever-growing usefulness of the Internet of Everything, defined by Cisco as the juncture of people, process, data and things.

Traditionally the public sector has been maligned as a place and mindset that is far from the cutting edge, with bureaucracy and partisan politics dominating. But increasingly an opposite perspective can be seen. Given the enormity and variety of the responsibilities held by government, the constant scarcity of funds, combined with increased calls for transparency and accountability, the opportunities offered by the connected technologies of the Internet of Everything are both appealing and fiscally prudent.

To read the full article, please visit CloudTweaks here.

 

Time Management: Willpower Through Words

In addition to my own posts, I also contribute to Time Management Magazine. My post for July has to do with willpower. Here is an excerpt:

Picture this: you’re hungry. You’re walking along and you spy a fast-food restaurant. You know that the food they offer is not as good for you as it should be. High numbers in the calorie, cholesterol and sodium columns to be sure. If you care about such things, then you know this food is not really right for you. But it is very hard to resist. Fast food is manufactured to taste and smell wonderful. There’s a science to all of it, right down to the choice of colours used in the branding: that wonderful shade of red that human beings look to when they are in search of something to satisfy the hunger urge – it’s there, on the signs, the posters and the cups.

The people behind the science of fast food know that urges are stronger than common sense. Instinctive desires win out. People always give in to emotion and to desire, since these things are simply stronger. Using willpower to try to stick to some better plan is a herculean task quite simply because it is not natural for a person to act consciously against one’s own urges. Urges are based on instinct. Instinct is based on survival. Ultimately pure biological life relies on listening to instinct.

So willpower doesn’t stand a chance. Or does it?

The best way to avoid succumbing to the urge to devour a calorie-laden, fat-laden fast food meal is to inoculate against the urge by feeding on logic in advance. This technique applies to other areas of life as well, of course, including time management.

To read the full article for IOS (Apple), click here or for Android click here.

My take on cloud computing for business, for Mint.com

MintRecently I was interviewed by online personal finance powerhouse Mint.com. The topic: cloud computing for business. It is always a great honour to be called upon to discuss such matters. A short excerpt is below. The content is (c) Mint.com.

It’s hard to believe that just five years ago not many people outside the tech world knew anything about cloud computing. Wikipedia only had a couple of sentences about it, and not too many websites were discussing it either.

So Steve Prentice and his colleagues decided to cash in on what they suspected would be game-changing technology by creating CloudTweaks, a site devoted to educating business leaders, entrepreneurs and techies about cloud-based technology.

“We knew that this was going to be a high-growth industry with lots of interest due to the online accessibility and low costs of SaaS and cloud computing,” Steve says. “This is when we decided that it was a good time to start to educate CEOs CTOs, governments and students on the subject, and we have not looked back since.”

Their gambit has paid off. Today, everywhere you look there are references to cloud computing, and CloudTweaks has continued to position itself as a highly regarded source of industry news.

We recently checked in with Steve, a senior writer at CloudTweaks, to learn a little cloud 411 and find out how the technology can help business owners. Here’s what he had to say:

To read the full article on the Mint.com website, please click here.

 

 

Money, Currency and the Internet of Everything

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My fifth article focuses on money, or at least virtual money, which is not only representative of the Internet of Everything, it also promises also to play a major role in the way things are bought and paid for.

Here is an excerpt:

In terms of the Internet of Everything, virtual currencies such as BitCoin allow for a wider range of actions that traditional banks find too costly to touch, and who make too expensive to use, such as micro-transactions. These small purchases may be the equivalent of a couple of cents, and would allow consumers, or their IoE-enabled possessions, to pay a small fee for to access a single news story on a news website, for example, removing the need for banner ads and other old-school monetization techniques, and allowing a greater sense of pay-as-you-go-only-for-what-you-need.

BitCoin is not the only virtual currency out there. In fact there are many dozens, if not hundreds of virtual currencies vying for market attention. BitCoin is only the most famous of the bunch – for now. But together they represent change, and a significant move toward decentralization and virtualization, just as cloud technologies are doing with big data.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

The Internet of Everything: Value at Stake Index

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My fourth article discusses the Value At Stake index, a calculation of the potential profits up for grabs for companies that embrace this third wave of Internet engagment. Here is an excerpt:

The potential for the range of the Internet of Everything is virtually infinite, with an expectation from some observers that up to 99% of the items people use, in life and business, will be connected within the next few years.

Along with such a far reaching vision of usage, comes an equally astronomical assessment of the profit potential for companies that embrace it. Cisco, which sits on the leading edge of the IoE frontier, incorporates this assessment as part of its overall Value Index, and puts its estimate in the form of a Value at Stake of $14.4 trillion worldwide over the next 10 years (2013-2022). That refers to net profit up for grabs.

The Cisco IoE Value Index combines survey data and third-party metrics on business and technology environmental factors to gauge IoE capabilities around the world. The Value at Stake component highlights the potential bottom-line value that can be created, or that will migrate among private-sector companies and industries, based on their ability to harness the Internet of Everything over the next decade. Cisco predicts that this IoE Value at Stake will be $14.4 trillion for companies and industries.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

The Internet of Everything: Invisibility in your Kitchen

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My third article discusses the ways in which the Internet of Everything can change one of the most intimate places in your home: your kitchen, and the challenges it faces to truly succeed there. Here is an excerpt:

What could be simpler than opening the fridge and grabbing yourself a snack? That’s the challenge for designers and engineers who are looking to bring the Internet of Everything into the kitchen. Eating food is based largely on sensations of hunger, an age-old instinct which is pretty difficult to ignore. As for preparing food, people either enjoy it or they hate it. Either way, when preparing to integrate a kitchen into the Internet of Everything sphere it is important to realize that the kitchen is an area where emotions rule, not facts.

People go to the kitchen when they are hungry. They meet in the kitchen during parties. Many take pride in cooking from recipes handed down through the generations. A kitchen is a hearth; it is a place for being human, and as such the often highly practical, yet overly logical inventions that have been designed for the kitchen over the decades face steep opposition from the simple fact that if it needs to be thought about, that’s one step too many.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

The Internet of Everything: Wearables

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My second article discusses wearables, the fascinating concept that clothings and other items that we can carry around without actually holding onto them, can connect to everything else. Here is an excerpt:

Imagine a hospital gown capable of reading a patient’s vital signs even during a walk to the washroom or around the grounds. Imagine military fatigues capable of detecting gunshots and allowing for split-second protective or retaliatory action against snipers. Imagine your next smartphone as a color-coordinated piece of jewelry mounted in your lapel or worn as a necklace allowing hands-free communication with your clients, your car and your home-delivery grocery list, or one that could transmit business contact information and up-to-date product website links to a prospect through a handshake.

These are just a few of the types of applications that fall under the category of wearables in the expanding universe of the Internet of Everything. They represent the next generation of Internet usage, following in the footsteps of Generation 1 (web pages and email), and Generation 2 (social media), in which technology is not merely placed on the physical body, but is in touch with dozens, hundreds or thousands of other devices, not just computers, through a wide range of networks, from traditional Wi-Fi through to a personal body area network connected, for example, to a heart and health monitor worn on the wrist.

Wearables are coming to the consumer and industrial markets quickly and from all directions, and analysts, both technical and financial, are expecting the total market value in this area to increase ten-fold – from $3-5 billion to $30-50 billion – over the next three to five years.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

The Internet of Everything – From the Ground Up

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. Cloudtweaks is currently working with Cisco, who have released and exciting new thought leadership platform called InnovateThink. I have been asked to contribute some material to this project, and it is an honor to do so.

My first article is an overview of the Internet of Everything, and is entitled The Internet Of Everything From The Ground Up. Here is an excerpt:

Traffic chaos in crowded city streets is largely the result of several thousand independent beings (i.e. vehicles and their drivers) all seeking a direct route to their own particular destinations in competition with each other. Every time they stop at a traffic light, to pay at a parking lot, to find a space or to merge into already congested traffic, the ripple effect travels backwards, holding up hundreds more. There is a direct similarity here to the time and productivity gridlock that occurred in business in the pre-IoE era: employees working in silos, on workstations with seat-license software, connected only by the still woefully inadequate and obstructionist technology called email, and meeting occasionally in boardrooms.

The magic of IoE for smart cities is the development of a larger-scale city-wide awareness in which IoE technologies transform the commuting individual into a component of a larger entity – one in which a car and a phone merge into an intelligent life-device and the city itself functions more as an organic being. Small cities such as San Carlos, California, and larger cities such as Barcelona and Amsterdam have started to roll out integrated traffic management systems as part of a city-wide embrace of IoE as an economic solution to high-density life. This ushers in a proactive solution to transit woes: an inoculation against the problem, rather than a Band-Aid upon it.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

We need a better word than “Bully”

As a professional writer, words mean a great deal to me, and when I see the word “bully” I see a gross inequity. In short, I see the bully as the permanent victor. And that is terribly, terribly wrong.

Many very worthwhile organizations have sprung up over the years to counter the sadistic and scarring practice of bullying, and I admire what these organizations do and what they have already achieved. They work hard to communicate the fact that both parties in a bullying situation need help. But I am not sure that society as a whole has been successful in imparting the word “bully” with the necessary degree of social stigma in the way that the words “rapist” or “thief” has.

The word “bully” still seems to imply strength or dominance, and human nature will always look to strength as a virtue, since it is part of our collective instinct to survive and thrive.

The word “thief” has an almost universal negative connotation, because people the world over value their property and despise anyone who takes it by unlawful means. The legend of Robin Hood shows that thieves, when working in support of the majority, can actually be honored, but that may be the exception that proves the rule.

The word “rapist” has an insufficiently widespread negative connotation. There are still far too many places in the world, including North America, where rape is not treated anywhere close to serious enough, and in which the victim is sometimes placed under suspicion as an instigator, or co-instigator of the act. Society still has a long way to go before the word “rapist” receives the collective revulsion it deserves.

“Bully” has even further to go. It is still a term of strength. Someone who is bullied thus appears as the weaker party. The bully shrugs off a slap on the wrist, while the victim must focus on healing. This to me seems unfair.

Is there not a better word than bully? Can’t the guilt and the pain of these acts be placed on the shoulders of the instigator rather than the victim? Why can’t we label these people with a term that highlights their inability to fit in with society’s norms? Why can we not give them a title that might connect more directly with the shame and the self-doubt that they already feel, but which has been turned into a sour and vicious behaviour? Why can we not show, in words, that the bully is in fact the weaker party?

These people are socially impaired. They are behaviourally challenged. They are unable to control their aggressive urges and they seek to establish self-validation through offensive acts. Sounds like an illness to me.

Would society move more quickly in confronting this type of brutal social behaviour if we were to see the aggressor as unwell? This is not to take away from the care and rehabilitation that must be delivered to the true victim, the person toward whom the aggressive behaviour was aimed, but at least by re-branding the aggressor as socially impaired, the true victims could get a stronger sense that society is genuinely on their side while the bullies can realize just how isolated they are.

At the moment I do not believe that the word “bully” is incentive enough to stop bullies from doing what they do. After all, cigarettes are still relatively cool. Driving over the speed limit is seen as OK, and choosing an unhealthy diet is every person’s constitutional right. There is a certain thrill in being an outlaw, and I believe that unfortunately, being a bully falls into that fray – bad, but not bad enough – which means justice still denied for the true victims.

Things To Consider When Moving Your ERP To The Cloud

In addition to my own posts, I also write for CloudTweaks, an authority on cloud computing. My most recent post focuses on moving your ERP to the cloud. Here is an excerpt:

The transition to the cloud is a serious undertaking and one that requires a good deal of analysis and planning, not only on the part of IT managers, but actively by all members of the CxO suite. Acumatica, an industry leader in cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), recommends that this list of questions be reviewed and answered during the due diligence phase: Who is in charge? Is it better to employ cloud-based admin software provided by the cloud host using their subscription-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or should you keep the deployment in-house? If you have in-house IT experts, then keeping the software on-premises might prove advantageous, but if not, or if you wish to minimize your IT costs, then let the cloud host take care of the equipment.

Is it scalable? One of the true advantages of using cloud-based solutions, including business management software, is in its immediate scalability, both larger and smaller, providing more resources when needed, and a smaller, less expensive system when demands are lower.

To read the full post, please visit CloudTweaks here.

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