Always Online; blessing or curse (and a practical guide)

iu-3Many people and companies consider the concept of Always Online as a blessing humanity had waited for many years. Always able to check your mail, the ability to be reached by phone, or more important the ability to phone whenever you want. How could our parents live without this luxury (somehow they did).

 

It indeed has great value. Recently two Dutch students were lost while taking a walking trip in Turkey, but were able to sent an SMS through their phone, which helped the rescue searchers to narrow their search and luckily find them. My wife also was very happy recently when the tire of her care broke down and she could call the Car services. Particularly with the horrible tires which nobody can remove without using force.

 

But it also has downsides. First of all the disturbance people will face with the possibility to call in the train of plain or have Internet access above the Pacific Ocean. One of our CTO’s recently had a flight towards Australia and was bothered with a loud phoning businessman on his flight. Good (?) thing was that he also had Internet connection so we all could enjoy on Facebook whilst the incident was happening (what about real time society). Also the ignorance we have about who can listen to our calls is mind-blowing. Also in the Netherlands this week one of the members of Parliament decided to quite with his role as spokesperson for the gas industry in the Netherlands, since he made several non-diplomatic comments on his phone while returning to the Hague with the train.

 

My biggest worry is not so much about these aspects, but much more about the concentration spent I see happening with our children and us. In one of the TechnoVision postings I made for TechnoVision 2014, I already reflected on this point, although in a different context. My worry is that all these productivity-enhancing tools will have a negative impact on our ability to focus, concentrate over a longer period of time and create time to reflect.

 

It is not so much that I am against progress (I consider myself still to be a technology enthusiast) but we need to learn and teach how to create what I call “moments of reflections”. Building this into your daily routine will not only increase focus and concentration (not to mention mental and physical health), it will also make us more productive in our use of technology. Thereby some guidelines that I would like to suggest to life a technology fulfilling live:

  • Start your day with a 15 minute meditation or breathing session (not with checking Facebook)
  • Plan your lunch with people (not behind your laptop or mobile)
  • Make sure you walk enough during the day (without facing down to check your mail)
  • Spent time to cook without any devices in the room (use a meal you know, don’t come with an excuse you need the recipe)
  • Have a good talk with you partner, family member or somebody else in the evening
  • End your day with a 15 minute meditation
  • Finally try to plan an electronic free day per month, or week per year

 

Ps. Good thing is you can always use your device to plan this and a wearable to track it. Good thing for the technology diehards amongst you

The Medici Effect and cracking the brains during holiday

The Medici Effect-Rahasia Sukses Berinovasi Secara RevolusionerIn a previous post from November 2014, I discussed the rise of Bring your own Application. This resulted in some very nice discussions on the topic. Some with strong believers who state that even bring your own device is a concept which leads to mass abuse of your sensitive company data, others with people who have an extreme sense of freedom and think they have the ability to craft their own full blown professional back- and frontoffice system out of the cloud for max 300 euro.

The best discussions led to a debate into what extend we can combine computer technology with some other disciplines in science. In his very inspiring book, the Medici Effect, Frans Johansson already addresses that best innovations come at the crossroad where different disciplines meet. Hence the reference to the Medici family, who brought all different kind of disciplines to Florence which led to the start of the Renaissance.

If we take the hypothesis that Bring your own Application is a reasonable scenario, we can look at other disciplines as an inspiration on how to solve the security issues. In this case I would like to take the example of Biology. The Human body is a complex phenomenon, consisting of lots of cells, each with different functions. Although the Human can be considered to be a machine, there is no direct control mechanism to influence the behaviour of the cell, other then sending other cells towards the wrong behaving cells to re-install order in the system. The cell itself however, is completely independent and through coding interacting with the rest of the human body.

If we take the Bring your own Application into perspective, we can create safe environments. But we can only do that if we treat the data as cells. How can we come to a next level of computing by which “data-cells” can act freely and by some kind of “super middleware” flow through the internet, like the human cells flow through the human body.

This requires a different approach of thinking around the data as cells, with intelligence how to flow, where to dock and what to transmit. If you can reach that point, we can build a truly open internet where our design options become limitless.

Security will be done by the Health cells who can help track and trace the bad data cells, or in the receiving program codes where we build our health system (and not even being dependent on almost resistent antibiotics).

Perhaps the promise of an advanced version of Micro services, perhaps too far fetched for real life practice. But thinking about potential crossroads and actively seeking the Medici Effect remains a nice exercise to train the brains during Christmas Holidays.

From Bring Your Own Device to Bring Your Own Application

Bring your own device has become mainstream in the industry. Not that all companies already apply the principle to the fullest extend. Most companies already make it possible to have some of the companies applications accessible to there employees, but still supply them with the companies desired hardware. But for all companies, at least the discussion on what to do with “the device” is on the corporate agenda.

With the devices more and more outside of the walls of the organization, security becomes a strong issue however. What to do with the data on the “preferred device” if the employee leaves the company? How to secure your data if you are not able to distribute your security and anti-virus software? The big question that comes with the Bring Your Own Device movement (and a great industry that arose from bringing solutions to this movement).

This issue however might become a minor one if we not tackle the next big issue, which I would like to call Bring Your Own Application. A movement, sparkled by the productivity workers who will no longer let the constraints from corporate applications limit their own capabilities to increase productivity.

How did this start? The Born in the Cloud solutions with single specific tasks (e.g. Pipedrive, Evernote, etc.), supported by excellent user experience (both web as well as native mobile) make it possible to have state of the art applications for small subscription fees, that will no longer be a limitation for a personal user to pay for.

But the rise of the API really changed the game. Specific platforms already jumped into this trend and provide standard API connectors between some of the most popular Born in the Cloud productivity solutions (e.g. Zapier, Azuqua etc.). This will allow the productivity user to create his own workflows and optimize his own daytime job.

Hurray for productivity you might say, but it moves the Shadow IT out of the range of Excell and brings it to highly specialized applications. All in the cloud and with connections the IT department has no insights into and more important with no clear insights into security compliancy.

It gives some clear signals companies need to think about today:

·      How can companies leverage the single task focus and user experience to optimize their own application landscape
·      How can companies come with an application architecture where a selection of these Cloud Based applications can be embedded, thereby use the productivity gain even more by integrating it with the core applications
·      How can companies set up a clear governance and guidelines, so that the companies can still be save

So although we need to tackle the security questions on Bring Your Own Device, let’s already explore the opportunities of Bring Your Own Application. It’s a potential threat, but also a potential productivity boost for your employees and your company.

(this blog was also posted on Capgemini’s Capping it Off blog)

When you tell the truth, you don’t have the remember anything !

draft_lens19153071module157156696photo_1330015744_______a___ATwo days ago I had a great experience, when I came home and my wife was entertaining a long time friend with whom she did some great travelling in her university years. Indeed to all the youngsters who are reading this, long time ago you could still take some more years for you study and had some more time to do other stuff.

But back to me coming home. I greeted the lady who I met once 6 years ago and apparently they talked about authenticity. My wife gave me the biggest compliment by presenting me as an example. Honoured of course and it’s up to other to judge on it. But it brought me to another discussion we had with some great people from Intel who visited our company this week. We had some great discussions and met them right after I had a meeting with some other great people who helped me our in building a new calculation model I needed to calculate prices of new products.

It was so cool and we were able to make so much progress, that we ended up full of life and energy in the meeting with the folks of Intel. The lively conversations led to the question whether we were always so optimistic and positive within our company. We looked into each others eyes and could not come to another conclusion that it was the case.

The remark kept nagging in my mind, wondering whether with my age (just turned 41 last week) I should perhaps have been more business like, or show a more serious face. But came to the conclusion that it doesn’t make sense to present yourself in a different way then you actually feel. Presenting yourself in a different way is hard work, and probably will drive you away from the real purpose why you are walking around on this earth.

A great colleague, Arne van Eindhoven, sent me a great movie from a Belgium author on Youtube and presented the quote “when you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. I would like to rephrase it and make it “if you act according you inner energy, you can truly be yourself (and be accepted in the meantime”.

So stay true to your inner self and let the positive energy flow !

Garden centers and banks, not yet a success

retailplants1One of the great advantages of exponential growth of IT and memory, is the ability to capture transactions, analyse them and make them of value. As one of my colleagues at Capgemini always says: it’s the large portion of small data that makes up the interesting big data.

This gives opportunity to drive a lot of new opportunities and the ability for companies to reconsider their business models. If you are sitting on a lot of data, how can you make that of value. Do you only use it to create extra value and services around your products (think of the ability to track your ordered goods, wherever they are in the world), create value by up- and cross sell your products (think of product recommendation used by Amazon) or really make money by leveraging your data for others to drive value from.

The last one is the most controversial, but in essence a very interesting one. Jaron Lanier however points out some concerns. He raises the questions whether the economic systems are properly equipped to deal with situations where people make money of data from others, whilst the originators from the data are not being compensated for it. This creates a disbalance in the accounts. Question is how people are going to deal with it. Are we going to accept this fact by short term gains (and then perhaps suffer on the long term) or are we going to protest.

We had a great example in the Netherlands with the Dutch ING bank. They wanted to run a pilot (with explicit approval from customers, but this fact was not really highlighted by the dear members of the press) to sell the meta data of their customers to companies in order for these companies to specifically target the pilot customers with campaigns. They gave the following example: if they see you always spent a lot of money in spring at garden centers, they can the garden center can give you a specific discount.

Interesting part was that the bank presented this as an extra service to help customers in tough economic times by allowing specific target campaigns (and thereby) discounts to be offered to their customers. While for everybody it was clear that it was a way of making money by selling the data to third parties. If this could lead to lower interest rates, then it becomes of value, but the bank did not address this point of the equation.

There was so much turmoil in the Netherlands (where trust in banks is still at a low point) that the ING bank decided to stop this initiative.

Question for me is whether this will remain turmoil if we have had hundreds of these examples. Will people get use to it and is it because it was a bank that the protest was so big.

Very interesting times to see what will happen and how we will deal with the feeling of privacy and our human behaviour towards it.

 

 

Singularity or Doomsday

singularityPast weeks I have been reading some books which should have been read already for a long time ;(. The first one is “The Singularity is Near” from Ray Kurzweil, the other one is “Who owns the Future” by Jaron Lanier. Both addressing the same topic, the accelerating penetration from technology into our society, bot both with a complete different perspective. Ray addresses it from a very optimistic perspective, with a drive to reach divinity within 30 years. Jaron takes a more pessimistic approach, although giving guidelines on how to get more predictability of the outcome of the future.

Since it will be the future, it is hard to predict who will be right. The evidence delivered by Ray is strong, but I have to agree with Jaron who states that if we don’t get the valuation of our data right, there will be mass unemployment which will result in chaos and disorder. And has he stated, the outcome of chaos and disorder is always unlikely.

However, my own approach is always to take the optimistic side, but with the precautions mentioned by Jaron (and as well by Ray at the end of his book). Beside the great work Ray is doing on his own websites to provide material to support his theory, I decided to also start some dedication on providing examples on the progression of both theories. Will add an extra page where you can find different examples, which you most of the time also will find in my tweets.

Hope you will enjoy this journey and please engage if you have idea’s or other feedback you want to share.

Frank

Will patience become gold !!

goldJust reading an article in the Business Week on the hype, or better said de-hype of Facebook. A lot of criticism on the IPO process, but in particular on the drop of the value. Today, the employees can use the right to execute their part of the shares, which in its anticipation already led to another drop of the shareprice.

But there was a remarkable statement where the article refers to the bubble burst beginning of 2001 on the internet hype took place. And that is exactly why my believe on Facebook is. The hype was not a hype. The internet became the medium by which all of what we are doing today has become possible. There would not be mobile when we wouldn’t have internet services. There would not be Cloud, there would not be social media, there would not be BPM, etc.

The internet hype caused a lot of investments which created a spur in getting the infrastructure right. The infrastructure which connected the world, which made the Spring revolution in the middle east possible.

That’s what Facebook will deliver. The money generated out of the IPO will be used to work further on the platform. The platform which will enable more parties to join and create applications, services etc on the Facebook platform. Keep in mind that Facebook is no longer “just” the social platform, but an internet hub on it’s own, to which most of large cooperations have trusted their branding and customer interaction to.

I trust in the platform and as with the internet bubble, know that this will not be a bubble. Give it a few years and let’s see how Facebook will act as foundation for our interaction in live.

The Game is changing

gameThe game is changing rapidly. Recently read the book from David Kirkpatrick on The Facebook effect. An interesting piece of work on the rise of Facebook, but more importanly on the social implications of Facebook. The fact that we are now all connected and know how to find each other. Recently I became friends with one of my former classroom mates from junior school (from 6 till 12 years old). My lady friend is now living in America and frequently updates photo’s. On the recent ones, it showed her father, who used and still lives above the store of my parents (they unfortunately don’t live anymore). But by seeing the pictures of this man, it brought back my childhood memories of living in Utrecht and spending a lot of time in my parents shop.

It made my world really small, but more important, it gave me a true quality moment, a moment to reflect back on where I came from, my values in life.

Put that in reflection on the current currency crisis. First Greece and Europe and since las week also the United States in distress. In a newspaper it was already declared that globalisation was coming to an end with all this stuff going on.

Question is whether this is true.I think the Facebook example shows that people, not economies are already fully adapted to a true global community. We just need to figure out what kind of economics go along with that. The current economies all are based on their current currencies, but what happens if we are going to have different currencies. In the netherlands we already created a sub economy with our local “markplaats” site, the Dutch version of eBay. With the high density of the netherlands, people find it easy to travel and pick their stuff at the house of the former owner of the goods. We are becoming a trading nation once again.

This is also reflects back to the virtual money we are trading on electronic games we find amongst others on Facebook. Social games, where we think it is normal to buy goods for.

The coming years we will integrate payments with our mobile phones and the trust in virtual money will increase. Then the Global Social Community we are today, will perhaps become the Global Social Economy.

The game has changed. Don’t be fooled on the distraction we are currently facing. No change happens without disruption !

Frank Wammes

Overfeeding your eco system

Dan Barber is a chef and story teller who is fascinated by how the food industry is organized. In February 2010 he gave a great presentation on TED where he told a story on how in South-West Spain a company was created on wetlands that were used for farming cattle, but now used it as a Fish farm company.

The owner of the farm shows that by having extensive farming (not intensive) he is able to have great Fish production, while meanwhile being able to host one of the largest bird populations in the world. Better so, Success for the owner is achieved when the birds are in good conditions and in large numbers.

Can you imagine, measuring your success based on the number of birds, whilst they are eating the fish?

But here is the comparison with your company, isn’t it true that markets can grow because competition is there, so that you either can create establishment and credibility of a new product in the market place, or that you are so focussed on continuos innovation because you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Take another look at your eco system and potential competitors. Don’t automatically see them as something bad. Look at how you can build on each other, what you can learn. Embrace competition as a trigger for improving your company and your performance.

If you are not convinced, take a look at the TED video of Dan. Perhaps he will be able to convince you.

Frank Wammes

Innovation is a mentality

I recently saw a presentation by Neil Pasricha on TED TV. After some heavy dissapointments in private live, he decided that he two choices. Let life bug you and be sad all day, or enjoy life and take every moment to make a happy day.

He started a blog called 1000 awesome things, in which everday he describes an awesome thing that you can find in very small and simple things in life. Think of having the perfect ketchup on your fries.

I think the same goes for innovative people. You will per definition be bogged down by people that tell you that it will not work, that you will not get the money, that the market is not ready for it and that is has been tried 1000 times already.

Every time you have this feeling, just visit the 1000 awesome things website and realise that you can find your own awesome moment that will give you the required energy again.

Frank Wammes