Of AR/VR and excuse me what world am i in now?

The concept of AR/VR is increasing and becoming more and more relevant as we head into the latter half of the second decade of the 21st century. It is funny to me, as I read the pundits and analysts with widely varying estimates for the application of VR and the market size and application for VR/AR. One of my favorite writers posted an interesting article asking is this the year that VR/AR solutions grow past Pokémon Go?

There are some applications available and possible for the ever-growing world of VR/AR. In that ever-expanding potential lies some interesting market possibilities. I advocated the creation of security maps in AR/VR and of course there is the infamous reality of a VR library. IE you can walk over to the card catalog to find a book. All of this leading back to a product I have mentioned in the past. The product being the broad category technology Oculus Rift, and the interesting AR/VR interactive reality that is Microsoft Hololens.

Since My last AR/VR post, the new Windows headset shave begun to ship as well. I’ve been playing with the overall Windows experience and it isn’t as smooth as Oculus today, but it is a much smaller overall investment. Where this market shifts to is what the analysts and pundits are chasing. Like most technology markets, this is one that I believe will be consumer driven. As Pokémon Go exploded the reality of AR to the larger mass market, there is something coming. What will be tomorrow’s change and ultimately tomorrow’s technology in the AR/VR space? I think the reality of what Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant video can do in the AR/VR space for me is the next big step. The beauty of the projection is we shall soon know!

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technophile

What if we designed systems to succeed?

There are some technologies that I wonder why they aren’t taking off. In part because I find them extremely valuable and something that I use nearly every day. Solar power is one that I find interesting. Solar power to me seems like it is lagging in the US. Part one is the reality of Home Owners Associations and the perception that a solar array reduces the value of a house. I am not sure why free or extremely reduced price power that you don’t have to worry about brownouts and other things like that would make your house worth less. I would think, at least I would personally, that every buyer would demand solar on the house.

The other funky reality that I wonder about lately is that of safety in cars. There are some safety ratings for cars today, 5-star crash ratings, etc. I would like to see the airbag safety listed as well. If the airbag deploys can you get out of the car? If the airbag deploys will you be in better shape than if it did deploy and so on? It is a very similar ask that I have for cloud service providers who run around with cost value equations and performance numbers that are only relevant to the person that put them together.

I wrote about a cloud calculator in my last book published nearly two years ago now. (It may be time to start on a new book). The cloud calculator was designed to help customers understand not only what they wanted to build and deploy but also to understand the impact of a specific cloud provider on the solution they were considering. Not all networks are created the same. Not all solutions operate the same way.

I liken the cloud calculator to building a motorcycle. The most important thing for a motorcycle is that it be balanced. If it isn’t balanced, you are more like to “put the bike” down. That isn’t a good thing. You could, however, take the motor and make the front tires much wider. What this would do is make the big more stable. It would also make it much harder to turn the bike right or left. I always tell customers to make sure you know what motorcycle you want first, then, what do you need that motorcycle to include. That is what the cloud calculator system does for you. Like I said you can find it in my current book, Operating beyond your borders.

Another way you can look at the analogy is the bridge in the cover picture. If you design a boat that is too tall or too wide, you limit the ability to the boat to move. Boats that can’t move have to be docked, but they also cannot move in the case of an emergency. If your goal is movement, that isn’t a good design.

Seamless is only a word if it applies to clothing. It never applies to migrations.

.doc

technology strategist

Cloud Computing is an answer, not the answer…

One of my favorite things in life is thinking about the art of the possible. I don’t always do that from the point of reference of what is now here. I do it, from the combination of what is coming and what is here to arrive at a view of the horizon.

Why? I learned that many years ago from my second IT boss. He was a former GE professional and came in to manage our helpdesk. He taught me to look, not at what I saw, but what could be there if I waited. I have never forgotten that. We are still, to this day friends because of that.

Plus he was an awesome boss. I won’t mention his name because that isn’t fair to him. But he was a great boss!

In looking over the technology window right now, I see some interesting trends. One of them is the reality of cloud computing. In particular the rise of Hybrid (and the drifting off of Cloud Brokers). The economic reality of cloud is saving the organization money. The technical reality of cloud is reducing the churn within the IT organization. If, and it is a big if, we take the long-term view of the cloud solution for our company we see that it pushes us in two directions. We can become a more agile and responsive IT organization at the same time also able to reduce the cost of solutions.

This tipping point though is one that most companies continue to seek and not find. Proactive IT is a logical move for cloud computing, cost savings is a logical outcome. Both, however, are elusive, because effectively we still have the same problems in the cloud that we have on premise. It is the new risk of cloud, the rise of expert cultures that drive towards the right answer.

Cloud is here. Proactive IT has value. Cost savings are good. But reality is, cloud is not the only thing you have to do. Cloud is not the only answer. It is an answer but not the answer.

To paraphrase Star Wars, “These are not the answers you are looking for…”

.doc

technologist.

Building the many things of the internet…

One of the cool technology areas that are exploding right now is the area of build your own or create your own Internet of Things Device. The number of creative solutions you can hand a child (or a big child like me) are growing. I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

1. Agic – literally draw electrical circuits with their products. They also have a printer, you can print electrical circuits on their specialized paper.

2. 3d printers – virtually any of them now. Most of them have good software that converts images, there are tons of sites on the internet that share the files and away you go!

3. Littlebits – I love their kits! They have school kits for helping your child’s school!

4. The brilliant folks from Raspberry Shake. Have a seismograph in your home. Think that is more scientific than you want to be, donate one to your school. Mention my code in the coupon code for a deal!  My code is Rsend17.

5. MODI – IoT building blocks!

6. Last, but not least none of the companies and products listed today are least! Meeper Bots, using their engine create robots with Lego. Kind of a really cool product!

For the most part, I have included links to Amazon stores set up by the various organizations. Meeper and Raspberry go directly to their sites. I have used, experimented and started over with all these products. Modi is the newest, Agic and 3d printers are the oldest things I’ve used on this list.

The many potential uses of these kits are astounding. Personally, I love putting together sensors and working towards creating a mesh system for both power delivery (using Agic) and communications (I haven’t figured that one out yet).

If you build it, they will chatter. That is my new Internet of Things tag line.

,doc

IoT magician!

Why innovators struggle and please stop yelling at them!

There are two ways of thinking about technology. These two go back to the very beginnings of what we now call IT. The reality of is the network up or is the network down. The adage electronics only fail when they are on, or build redundant systems to avoid failure points, remain the same now as they have been for many eons of IT systems.

The thing is, it isn’t always that way. Yes, we can build systems that designed from the ground up to consider and effectively create a path to success. But the reality all things fail, including manual systems that rely on users. What happens when Bob, isn’t around? This is where the reality of CSTEAM comes into play. STEM education and now STEAM gets us a framework for education. How do we deliver training to users that are not only targeted but also efficient!

We use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) and provide that via a connected environment that encourages information flow. I call this reality CSTEAM. It encompasses concepts shared in three of my books in the past years.

• The Syncverse

• The Innovators Dilemma

• Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer

The reality of information flow is value. One of the trends in the past five to ten years is the move of innovators away from big business. They have begun the transition to crowdfunding projects. But the risk for the project creator is the reality of the harsh world of crowdfunding. I have watched campaigns start, and the sue birds didn’t even let the campaign finish. I have seen massive social media campaigns started against campaigns. Plus, with a company (IBM) that is struggling to find its way in the digital world now diving directly into crowdfunding as an Indiegogo Partner, I think at best the ground is unsteady now.

If information is the critical piece, then how it moves within the system becomes the end game. Most people don’t know that you need to balance not only your total addressable market (TAM) but also the COGs (or cost of goods sold). We don’t always think about the fact that making something requires a manufacturing plant (or our garage)time, effort and shipping. It also requires advertising, contingency systems and if there is a software element, developers. So TAM and COGs become the worst enemy of getting a product shipped.

CESAll of this then baked around the other reality of innovation. You aren’t building all of the systems in the crowdfunding world for your eventual market. In fact, you are building a much smaller amount. Your cost per unit will be lower later. Your profit margin will be higher. The Boston Consulting Group and the experience curve have shown this to be true over and over. The more you build, the better you get at the building. But when you are small, struggling to get that project across the ever moving finish line, it is hard to step back and smile. You are the little guy, not the mythical David with a shot at bringing down Goliath; there are many other metaphors that fit better here. The best one is you are 4, and the cookie jar is a way to high to reach without an adult. When you are a small company, you are beholden to the manufacturer. They, control your destiny. You, sadly, have little if any impact on their destiny so as they tell you about delay after delay the best you can do is smile and nod.

That information about manufacturing and how it works is not available when you are outside the confines of a large R&D department. Well, it is available, but it is not written down and easy to get to if you aren’t in the safe confines. You have to know where it is.

The reality of innovation is you are taking a chance. A CSTEAM system for innovations would be something of value. I think I know exactly what it would look like!

.doc

Innovator, dreamer

Wandering the edges of cool tech and presentations…

I at times play beyond the bleeding edge of new technology. Based on that I am going to be more up front about cool Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects. I am willing to risk money on something that may never come to be. Based on that if you are not willing to risk money, do not back the more extreme projects I back.

The ones that interest me right now have to do with supporting my wife in her job. She at times works with patients from a number of nationalities and language barriers can be huge, when your job is helping someone prepare for the death of a family member. The translation systems that plug into your ear and allow you to hear and speak another language are interesting to me. It is an extension of the cellular device and using translation as a service. There are companies such as Language Line and other’s that provide this as a physical service, but the cost of those services is pretty high, and at times the speed is a limiting factor. Plus, you are speaking into a phone, getting a translation and there is by default always a slight delay.

Another area of technology that has peaked my interest for years is that of Robotics. The upcoming Aibo, Jibo and Keecker products are interesting. All three have extended development projects that led to their existence. Each is looking at the problem from a slightly different angle so it is interesting to see where they end up. Keecker is more a personal entertainment device, or as they call it a home pod. A device designed to make your entertainment experience that much better. Jibo is a static robot, in that it doesn’t move, but offers a number of potential interactions for the elderly and for children. When I was traveling years ago, I recorded myself singing the song I wrote for my kid’s bedtime. That way they would always hear me signing the Moon song before they went to bed. Finally, Aibo is another interesting project that is more aligned with the traditional robot. Both Keecker and Aibo are not fixed in one place and can move.

I did an IoT/drones/robotics talk for high school students a couple of years ago, in that talk I had a number of IoT devices that I shared with the kids, plus a look at the art of the possible. The art of the possible changes virtually every single day so that talk was always a blast. The last one I gave I had a line of kids waiting to talk to me well after school ended. The teachers had to come in and tell the kids they had to get on the buses, but that I would come back. So, I did go back and sat in the lunch room talking to some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. The best part of the talk was the very first time I gave it, when I launched the drone and played back the video of the drone watching the audience. Some principals were not comfortable with a drone flying in their auditorium so I only did that a couple of times. But the concept was cool and I showed the video of that to the kids that didn’t get to see the live drone.

Keecker will change that presentation I am sure. Having a portable projector that comes when you call it (via your cell phone for the connection and communication) will be pretty cool. Since it is also a device living in that connected Internet device space it will also fit in nicely.

Perhaps in a new presentation I can call Jibo from Keecker and have a conversation with someone sitting in my house. The only thing that worries me in the end is all the bandwidth. I am 1 step away from the maximum bandwidth Verizon offers via FIOS. (No cable modems are not as fast as fiber. I know they advertise that they have the fastest in home wi-fi but really? You are interested in things that live in your house only? You don’t connect to Netflix, Amazon instant video or Hulu? Because while the fastest in-home wi-fi is great for the family history pictures on your network, it does nothing for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon instant video).

Plus, I can also demonstrate the Hololens.

See, already rewriting my IoT presentation to share more things that are here, the art of the possible a lot more today than it was just a year ago,

.doc

Futurist

Some of the why behind my reviews and my love of technology…

IMG_0158I got an interesting comment yesterday to my Bloomsky weather station review. The first question was easily dispatched and I sent the person an email with my explanation. The easy answer why a home weather station is as follows.

1. The NWS tends to place sensors in large metropolitan areas. It is always 4 or more degrees hotter in DC than it is in Germantown Maryland.

2. The NWS sensor in Germantown is actually in the middle of a fairly large area of buildings, and is on average 2-5 degrees warmer than the more suburban area I live in.

3. Because of the first two knowing the temperature actually outside my house, important!

The second question asked is a little harder. Why am I such a gadget person? Well not just gadgets but what got me started in the world of technology. I began my career as a school teacher many years ago. At the time I entered education two things were happening. I had grown up in the house of one of the most unique educators in the country. I also grew up in the age of the birth of personal computers. Those two things combined to give me a view both on my future profession, education as well as life in general. Test it using the scientific models I was raised with. Explore it using the reality of what is possible with technology.

IMG_0363But beyond my father there were other people who influenced me. There were two other huge impacts on my life that led me to both portability and technology. The first was my love (also sparked by my father) of NASA. He and I watched the moon walk live. Staying up until 2 am to see Neil Armstrong first step foot on the dusty surface of the moon. NASA enthralled me, drove me and interested me. There is little in my current job you can point to, that doesn’t come from NASA’s direction in the 1960’s and 1970’s. From computing power, computing size, graphics and storage much of that was driven by the quest to land a person on the moon and return them safely.

Another influence in my personal gadget quest was living overseas. As a young man in the US I had access to television (yes there were 5 stations we didn’t have cable in the house until 1971). But I could watch different stations and different shows. When we lived in Thailand there was no television in our apartment. I loved to read anyway. But now reading was everything. I was introduced to the ever-growing world of fantasy, via The Lord of the Rings. But I was also introduced to the works of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and others. Those two come to mind because my love of technology was further expanded in reading their works. Arthur C Clarke was someone I read everything he wrote and the gadgets and items he talked about in his fiction were things I thought would be incredible to have.

You see who I was to be, was shaped by who I was. Growing up exposed to the scientific model developed by my father (the Inquiry Method), exposure to NASA and the amazing feats of space travel the organizations has and continues to perform. Plus, the open door created by Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. A door that led me beyond what was possible to the dream of the possible.

IMG_0386All of that making me extremely interested in new Technology and the impact of that on the world around me. That my view of the world is less colored by people than technology. I believe that technology has made our world a better place. I believe technology will continue to show us a path that continues to help us grow as human beings. Technology doesn’t care what you believe, what you are wearing, who you talk to or for that matter where you live. Technology is truly agnostic. Holding no belief better. Holding no place better. Holding no one person better than another. All of them are equal in the eyes of technology.

As a person, I believe that as well. I believe in the equality of all via technology. I believe not in the dysphoria of tomorrow. I believe in a brighter future where technology shows us how we can all “just get along” to quote Rodney King. To quote the other King, the Doctor, I have dream. That someday people will be connected. That someday we will cherish the contents of children’s minds and make education the priority globally. A world where all doors are open and all people taught how to pass through the doors equally!

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Technologist