The dawn of the digital age already happened. Its just another name for the information age. Don’t market it as different…

Recently I have seen several posts breaking the information age (where we were) and the digital age (CPS. IOT and where we are and where we are heading) separately. I wonder why?

The concept of the information age was the move of information from analog to digital. We are still well within that process. Recently airlines released kindles from being turned off during take off and landing. In fact that rule (you DON’T HAVE TO TURN IT OFF) has really only been in effect 6-9 months. In fact the graphics I’ve seen (I won’t post them I don’t like them) focus on the rise of IoT as the creation of the digital age.

I once had the opportunity to hear the concept of big data analytics described in a way that resonated with me and supports the argument that there is no separation between information and digital. Data, that is required to make the right decision, that isn’t processed or available is useless. The problem isn’t the data and it really never has been. It’s the tools and processes that get the data to the person, or machine that has to make a decision. Effectively the data as a decision tool allows us to create a decision drainage.

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The three components being time to produce the information. Time to deliver the information and the timeframe in which the information is needed.

If the first first bucket is an hour, and you need the information in 15 minutes you need to change the data production system. If the information is produced in 12 minutes and needed in 15 minutes but takes 8 minutes to deliver to the user, you need to change the information delivery system. Finally if the user can’t consume the information in the 12 minutes needed to make the right decision than you have to change the time the information is needed.

Why dive into the information consumption world to prove my point? Because you can’t separate information from digital. They are effectively the same thing. Two objects that occupy connected space. The reason for the rise of the Digital Age nomenclature is the same as the rise of the Internet of Things. Marketing. Not real, not needed but marketing to separate the hair from the hare. Or perhaps better to split the hairs. (splitting Hare’s is messy).

All that said, the digital (information) age is here. How we build systems to manage the information production, transfer and consumption will determine the quality of decisions that are made. Now, if we can effectively develop systems that transfer the analog knowledge walking out of the work place as professionals retire (and that number of retiring professionals is going to grow in the next 15 years) we will have solved the biggest problem of the information age.

Capture the knowledge in people’s heads before it is too late!

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Information System Designer