Monthly Archives: February 2016

Adopters Says

The telematics sensors on its rolling stock of vehicles capture data between every three and 30 seconds.

“Every two weeks, we get the equivalent of all the data we’ve accumulated in the last twenty years,” says Bill Powell, director of enterprise architecture for the Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based firm.

It’s a carousel of information: ARI can tell from its gyroscopic sensors if drivers are jackrabbiting from stops or slamming on their brakes; it can tell from engine sensors that they’re letting the engines idle too long.

One of the most intriguing and granular pieces in all these terabytes of data is the one that compares where a gas credit card was used, based on the geocode of the vendor, and where the vehicle was at the time. If the differential is more than 20 feet, an ARI audit can show that someone was fueling an unauthorized vehicle.

As that example shows, the internet of things (IoT) isn’t just about sensors and data, it’s about using data in context. That makes it an interdisciplinary challenge for IT executives, one that encompasses information technology, operations and business processes.

How can organizations develop and launch IoT initiatives that truly transform the business from the ground up? Computerworld spoke to a number of early IoT adopters, entities that have gotten their hands dirty in everything from manufacturing and logistics to smart cities and agriculture. Almost all report bumps along the way, but also say they have either achieved or anticipate significant payoffs from their investment. With IoT at last becoming a force in the enterprise, here are four lessons to heed.

The secret key to scaling up a data analytics

Many innovation leaders feel the same way. IDC predicts that the big data and business analytics market will grow well. that is up to 23.1%.

It’s compound annual growth rate from nearly $122 billion in revenue worldwide last year to $187 billion by 2019.

Most early adopters of big data and analytics tools are likely hoping to help their organizations become insight-driven enterprises. But they will face a number of challenges as they try to realize that goal, such as the difficulty of accessing the necessary data, the need for more powerful computer systems and the task of building enthusiasm among users for a technology whose value proposition has yet to be proved.

Here are some tales from the trenches, plus tips for scaling an analytics infrastructure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief data scientist likens the adoption of big data analytics at the agency to the early adoption of the iPhone in 2007. Those early adopters “didn’t know exactly what it was, but they wanted to use it because they perceived the value,” says Robin Thottungal.

What the pleasure and great of the internet experience

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Pokémon Go and virtual reality

Pokémon Go is a huge hit. But why?

The game is made by Niantic, a Google spinoff that previous published Field Trip and Ingress.

If Pokémon Go is a hit, Field Trip was a flop and Ingresswas a semi-hit. What accounts for the relative popularity of Niantic’s three apps?

If you’re unfamiliar with Field Trip, the app alerted you to facts about your current location. For example, it could notify you if you’re at the location of a famous movie scene or historical event.

Ingress, on the other hand, is a game like Pokémon Go in the sense that it’s location based and pits teams against each other. But Ingress is a vastly more complex game than Pokémon Go, with a long list of rules and strategy best practices to learn.

There are all kinds of theories about the radical popularity of Pokémon Go. But one way to look at all three apps is that Field Trip focuses on information, Pokémon Go focuses on experience and Ingress is a kind of hybrid of information and experience, and their relative popularity reflects the degree to which each favors experience over information.

Virtual reality

While mixed reality games and applications like Pokémon Go provide a “virtual experience” lite, full-blown virtual reality (VR) is explicitly and completely about creating “virtual experience.”

VR is assumed to be all about games. But games, and especially “first-person shooter,” “open world” and other game types are already highly experience-oriented. VR games will be great. But the real VR revolution will be in applications that replace information-intensive activities like reading, social networking and business communication with a “virtual experience” of “being there” and “doing that.”

Of course, we’ll always have more information coming at us than we could process in a thousand lifetimes. But the new world of “virtual experience” will give us more appealing and human ways to learn, communicate and play.

Live video

Live mobile video is taking the internet world by storm. It started with Meerkatand Periscope and now Facebook and Google are getting into the act. (Google’s live mobile video feature should hit YouTube any day now.)

Here’s a truism that vloggers, video podcasters, TV professionals and others know well: Whether you watch live or watch a recording, anything that’s broadcast live has a distinct quality that is very different from video with multiple takes and polished editing before broadcast. Live video has less of a packaged feeling and more of a “you are really there” vibe to it.

‘What it’s like’ headlines

Have you noticed the sudden rise in headlines that use the phrases “what it’s like” or “how it feels”? Here are thousands of examples from Google News.

This headline trend, which used to be rare, is clearly an attempt to hook a public craving experience, rather than information.

Traditionally, a standard news story might start with the headline: “California Woman Loses Home to Wildfire.” But the new headline style is: “What It’s Like To Lose Your Home To A Wildfire.”

It’s the same story, but to attract experience-craving readers on social media you have to promise a vicarious experience of events, rather than just information about events.

And the technique works. People now gravitate to “what it’s like” and “how it feels” headlines because people are increasingly repelled by information and attracted to experience.

Best and simple tips to ensuring security

1. Conduct security due diligence

Before you sign a contract with an MSP, ask a lot of questions about its security policies and procedures. In a recent blog post, Comcast’s Glenn Katz offered up no fewer than 37 questions to ask before signing a managed services contract, many of which focus on security. Questions include:

  • Where are your network and security operations located? If they are located offshore, what security and business continuity guarantees will the provider make?
  • What are your change control and documentation processes?
  • What network and physical security systems and protocols do you have in place?
  • How frequently are the security systems updated?

2. Verify compliance with security policies

In addition to simply asking what security policies a provider has in place, conduct an on-site audit to ensure proper oversight. The provider should allow you to inspect its data center and talk to the administrators who run it about how they provide security. This is especially true if you have government or industry regulations to comply with; you’ll need assurances that the MSP can meet those requirements. The right to conduct such audits should be written into your contract.

3. Ensure privacy requirements are met

Similarly, different industries and countries have stringent rules about data privacy, so you must be careful about where your data is physically stored. There is good news on that front, according to this blog post by Mike Wilkinson, VP Product Marketing at BroadSoft:

“Fortunately, cloud providers are increasingly taking note of these requirements. By securing data off-site while meeting country-specific data management requirements, cloud providers are stronger from a security standpoint than if a business relies on internal IT operations and on-premises data facilities.”