The first step towards COA…

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Yesterday I was playing with (and updating) my new Metawatch. I had a small issue and talked to their tech support (and they got me up and running very quickly). I realized however that going back to an earlier blog the Metawatch is the first product (other than the In-Touch watch for Android and BB) that truly heads down the path of the screen as a service.

Where your device can consider what gets displayed where. Now of course your wrist is bound in terms of overall room for a huge monitor (imagine the impact of a 32 inch watch screen on your arm – you would have huge biceps at the very least!

The concept however is the device (in this case my iPhone) having the ability to share information with a screen based on the rules I set. It moves us closer to the universal screen sharing. Sure, there are a number of devices that allow us to do that today (network connected projectors, and devices that make your TV network connected) but this is the next step towards the broader concept of screens as a service. I jokingly called it SOA 2.0 and later adding other components SOA 3.0.

SOA is a large undertaking. So big that it often fails in an enterprise. Its hard to do and takes a lot of smart people. With the reality of “solutions oriented architecture” we move always from the larger projects and towards the extension of what people use today. Perhaps it should be COA (consumer oriented architecture) where we build on what people know and use to deliver the services they need and want.

The problem with large programs and complex solutions is that in the end the solution almost takes on a life of its own. With the smaller view of solutions rather than services we can map to the broader initiative of consumer oriented architectures (COA).

Staring with what people know and building from that makes a lot of sense. It reduces the cost or organizational training and allows for the rapid adoption of innovation. You would have to evaluate ways to properly provide security as a service that could be consumed easily to make the rapid adoption of consumer technologies easier.

I am wearing the first step on my wrist towards that brave new world.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

KM and site visits…

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I have for most of my career heard the various iterations of the statistics quotes (all ending with the punch line and people who use statistics are liars). I watched during the recent presidential campaign the use of statics that were always the correct number but spun differently depending upon who was talking at the time.

Numbers are interesting because they can represent both sides. For example in the KM space there are two numbers you worry about. The number of visits to the number of downloads (you want if at all possible to prevent dumpster diving) and the number of visits to downloads with similar searches.

The first one is bad because frankly dumpster diving presents two risks the first is the person can’t find what they want. The second is that they are downloading much more than they need which presents a data security risk (data that goes stale because it was already downloaded and data that leaves the company when a person quits)

The second one is bad because it means their question didn’t get answered. The reality for a good KM system is a 1 to 1 ratio of search to download.

So lots of visits and few downloads normally is a bad thing for a KM site. It means people aren’t finding what they need. Or worse they are simply loading the page as their home page and not really using it.

There is a formula for value ( cost – sale price = profit) the more you can increase the sale price or decrease the cost of an item the greater that profit margin is. The value of IP is in answering questions which can go to both sides of the value equation. I can decrease my costs by increasing the velocity at which I answer questions correctly the first time. This is an integral part of the concept I called the DLM (copyright Transitional Services) a SME managed IP infrastructure that allowed for critical information to be moved to the top (i.e. critical – answer more questions correctly).

The formula for information has to involve time. You can’t search for information forever when solving a problem. It also involves timeliness (how quickly were you able to find the information?).

I blogged about this nearly two years ago – its still relevant. Its not how many people hit a site, or how many people download documents. It’s the blending of how many people hit the site, and download one document in the same visit and don’t return within 15 minutes to search again.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Does test change in the cloud?

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What does cloud computing really mean?

If our goal in developing a cloud solution is to reduce the costs of the overall solution do you need a mirror testing environment? Sure, IT to date has always had fully mirrored test environments. It is the way and the path to application nirvana.

But in this new metaphor of cloud computing do we need a fully mirror test environment? Is it not the dream of PaaS to allow us to quickly build solutions without having the dev/test environments of the past? Or can we have a reduced test environment (say functionality test) rather than a fully mirror test environment?

It’s a question that bugs me – it seems in the short run to be a sticking point for cloud adoption, because frankly mirrored test environments are very expensive.

The world of test and testing has long been an addition of failsafe’s and risk reduction. But unfortunately risk reduction through testing environments also carries cost.

What in the end drives the overall solution we are seeking, cost or requirements. Should IT companies say no test, no deploy? Or should the world of functionality test environments take over (no longer a mirror environment – simply a place to test the expected solution?

it’s a tough one…

.doc

Canine vs. Technology

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And in this corner weighing in at 51 pounds of muscle and teeth Dylan (or in this mode we call him T-Rex). In the other corner my livelihood (technology).

We got a new dog in June. We’ve been huge fans of TRM Labradors ever since Fran deigned to join our family 11 years ago. Labs are an interesting mix of friendly, sleepy, playful and bossy. The funny thing is you never know which way is which.

Why am I bringing this up on my “serious blog?” Because Dylan, the new lab is a Luddite. Not a hide in a cave hermit shunning anti-technology from a distance creature. Dylan is a get in my space and let me know that he is not in favor of any form of technology.

He has created a number of different ways to solve this problem he perceives. The first way is annoying me by moving stuff in my office. Its already a mess so what’s the point? Although it is annoying to have a dog chewing on stuff all the time. So that gets me to stop and see what he wants. Usually when he does this he simply wants  a good boy treat.

The new activity is pulling on shirt sleeves or nipping at exposed legs. That one only occurs at night. Last night because of the nature of a long day I ended up working a bit after dinner. Dylan is used to having my attention after dinner so he wasn’t pleased with the work problem.

Why bring this up? Well first of all its interesting how routines are created and developed in people and for that matter Labs. The perception is often as great as or even greater than reality. Dylan is anti-technology not because it is technology (so I guess in that respect he is a want-to-be Luddite) rather because it changes his routine.

If you apply that to people you very quickly see why I brought it up. Sometimes changing routines becomes a bigger barrier to reality than anything you could ever think about doing.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

My connection, to the information…

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I’ve been wandering around the concepts of connection (and the basis for my book The Syncverse). I’ve in the past talked considerably about connectors, USB and otherwise. By the way when you are stuck on a train and your phone says no signal which connection matters the most?

This year there is a new show, Revolution that I’m hooked on. There is usually one show per year that I think is amazing and this is the one (of course, sorry Revolution that is also usually the kiss of death for a show if I like it, it normally only lasts one year).

In a world without power which connection matters? Its an interesting question. We have several hundred physical pictures of Becca. Maybe even a 1000 pictures of her. There are maybe 200 or so physical pictures of Jackie. There are maybe 40 physical pictures of the boys. The transition to digital occurred when we lived in Cincinnati Ohio – now more than 13 years ago. At last count 77,000 digital pictures of my kids, travels and things. What would we do if the power went off? There is a connection to the digital world that is replacing other connections but for parents – we take many more digital pictures.  It is simply point, shoot and if we really like the picture print it. But we still have the digital original. We can take 100’s of pictures where we once took 24. We are now limited not by the roll of film but by the amount of disk space we are willing to have spinning for pictures (or we can store them online – Instagram, Flickr and Photobucket to name a few).

For many years I worked on various IP Management systems at Microsoft (all of which failed by the way). The reason however is not probably what I thought it was at the time of the failure. The relevance of a KM system is answering questions. If the answer is right than people will use the system. If the answer is right and the system is easy to use people will flock to the system. See the Google/Bing war. They both provide nuanced information about the Internet.

Eventually we will have a solution that not only supports the pictures we take in an automated fashion (see iphoto) but will also index them based on learned patterns (Quilly Bean as a baby and so on)…

The connection to the information drives the system…(hopefully)

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

If we build it will they come?

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Measurement and the connection

I am a huge gadget person. One of my personal fascinations lately has been building out the items I wish I had when I was teaching. I’ve over the past year found the following:

  • Microscope that allows you to show (on the LCD) and take pictures of the items for later reuse.
  • Telescope that connects to the USB port of a laptop and let’s you take both video and images of space.
  • The awesome Vernier devices (these are the best science toolkits I’ve ever seen)
  • The ebeam interactive whiteboard system

I’ve also noticed that one of my dreams in the Eduverse is now closer to reality (the ability to take classes from any university – MOOC are really starting to take off).

As I stated yesterday though we still have the connection problem. There is no one safe place to go and pull all this information together.

The big data components of what was proposed as the Syncverse are also far in the future (by far I mean beyond the normal 6-12 month technology window). Indexing photos by facial recognition still takes a lot of processing power. Learning (this person looks like you but isn’t you and things like that) is still a little ways off.

The question that keeps coming to me is however if we built the broad solution proposed in the Syncverse would things move faster? Innovation in cars took place rapidly over the first 50 years cars existed but that rate of innovation doubled when highways began to cross the country. Computers also increased in overall functionality over time, but with the Internet that rate of expansion in particular in the free and open sources world has exploded.

If it is built will they come?

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Another point of “connection”

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Extending the “point” of connection. Again, going back to a theme that I had more than 2 years ago – the concept of The Syncverse (available for a low price at the Amazon link above).

Where would all these various connections be best hosted. I personally today have a Box Account, a Dropbox account, a SkyDrive, an iCloud and a Google Drive account. In addition to that I have an Amazon drive where I keep copies of all my music (because frankly I am addicted to Amazon).

I can share documents from any one of those in less than 10 seconds.

But I can’t share from all of them in 10 seconds. That would take 10 seconds per connection. In the concept of the Myverse, a single set solution based on your identity and controlled solely by you (we could leverage some of the new biometric work to guarantee its you).

I think of a the Myverse concept as a personal transactional layer. True solution portability that allows the user to have a single place they can share, regardless of the what of the storage solution. That I could, in “Scott’s” Myverse grant you rights to a specific share or a specific document. If I moved the information you had rights to use to a different share it wouldn’t matter to you. The portability of the transactional layer keeps your rights to specific things secure. I don’t have to re-share if Google suddenly doubles my G-Drive and I move everything I am sharing into that format.

That would allow you to then create permanent and transient data shares, based on people not information. I could allow my doctor complete access to my medical records (read and write) and I could also designate my POA in case of something happening to me. This would allow me to have the right people seeing only the information I need them to see. Switching doctors because you moved (or because you don’t like your current doctor) simply right click on the old one (remove) and add the new one. Because the doctor has to have all your information on line in the next two years anyway, you would have to pay the usual fee associated with getting your medical records.

Portability is the future of cloud computing. With The Syncverse solution you get a transactional layer that in effect makes portability real.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow