Business Technology Trends

Opinion on the technology, business, and social trends that are impacting enterprises worldwide.

Dec 152015
Looming Threats in Cloud Computing

A lot has changed in a few years. When I talked about cloud three years back, I got frownie-faces from my peers. Skeptical looks that belied a deeper-seated fear or trepidation, probably having more to do with their internal image of what a CIO should be than the promise or peril in the new technology. Now, enthusiasm runs ebulliently through the vendor community, animating the animal spirits and spurring on entrepreneurs in search of profits and glory. Cloud has been elevated to high strategy on the billionaire chess board. Mergers and acquisitions are abuzz. Amazon, armed with an overly energetic workforce, gets hypercompetitive in all ways good and ill, supplanting Oracle as one of our Read more

Nov 172015
Disappearing Acts: Five Enablers of Web Ubiquity

The first 25 years of the Web clearly demonstrated that connectivity and problem solving can be cost-effectively linked. It’s now possible to communicate, shop, and learn on the Web. We can find answers, relationships, and games on the Web, and for those of us who desire a more surrealistic experience, we can immerse ourselves in virtual worlds. What’s next? The emphasis here is not on future Web communications architectures. We can assume that Web communications and networking technology will continue to rapidly evolve. Nor is the emphasis on “the singularity” (see, though machines will obviously become much smarter and smarter over time. Instead, the focus is on functional integration — the seamless integration of Read more

Oct 202015
The Gamification of Ordinary Life

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), attention turned once again to the Internet of Things (IoT) and personal devices. Wearables showed up in great profusion, focused upon watches, wristbands, and other personal sensors used to monitor activity rate, pulse, temperature, and whatever else can be determined from movement or simple surface sensors. For the home, measuring and control devices are emerging for temperature, humidity, intruder detection, and so forth — all attached, to personal networks, to the Web, and generally streaming data to external monitors. This all constitutes an escalation of device communications, which ultimately can lead to something like gamification of personal life and the home (Figure 1). Figure 1 — The gamification Read more

Oct 062015
Same Tune, Different Lyrics?

A person who lived through the introduction of digital automation in the 1950s could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu. Once again, there is a growing feeling of unease in the public that perhaps digital automation has progressed to a point where this latest generation of “smart machines” will indeed cause massive unemployment of today’s workers. Feeding this nervousness are recent pronouncements by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has said that “20 years from now, the labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower,” or by technology professors Carl Frey and Michael Osborne from Oxford University’s Martin School, who claim that an estimated 47% of US jobs are at Read more

Aug 192015
Call for Papers: Digital Transformation: Unlocking the Potential

Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers — with Guest Editor: Stijn Viaene — Abstract Deadline: September 9, 2015 — The combination of new digital technologies such as Social, Mobile, Analytics (Big Data), Cloud and Internet of Things gave rise to digital disrupters such as Uber, Airbnb and PayPal. However, from an incumbent perspective, an unrealized potential to transform existing businesses and industries remains. Many observers have identified a significant gap between incumbents’ recognition of the importance of new digital technologies currently at their disposal and their understanding of how to optimally exploit them. This signals that many questions surrounding digital transformation are left unanswered and even unidentified. Some organizations are experimenting with digital innovation labs, Read more

Jul 282015
Brain Design-Inspired Computing Is Here

Computing inspired by the design of brains is rapidly progressing. Very rapidly. Companies like IBM and Qualcomm are financing neurochip projects, and in the case of IBM’s Cognitive Computing push, it may be betting its own future on neuromorphic technology. Europe is investing US $1.3 billion in the Human Brain Project, which sets out to simulate the human brain. Not to be left behind, the US announced in 2013 it is investing $300 million in its own Brain Initiative with similar objectives. Researchers in the UK, Canada, at Stanford University, and at DARPA are all working on various aspects of the neuromorphic computing puzzle, and are now publishing their results. Deep thinkers like Stephen Hawking and tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Elon Musk ominously warn about the Read more

Jul 222015
Call for Papers: Infrastructure as a Service -- Ready for Liftoff?

The uncertain future of cloud computing seems to have stabilized among IT leaders with the acceptance of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is here to stay in many organizations, especially smaller firms and startups, and will be the dominant form of corporate IT infrastructure in the coming years. With the breaking of Moore’s Law (at least for the foreseeable future and with regard to silicon-based computing), IaaS may provide everyday computing cost benefits thanks to the efficiencies large scale dedicated vendors can provide. But many organizations, most notably the larger and more conservative companies, are still on the fence about moving their infrastructure to an IaaS model. IaaS can be deployed in different models Read more