April 26, 2014

The High Cost of Low Quality IT
Ultimately, technology purchases and implementations aren’t like buying widgets. A half-baked solution full of “second choice” technologies may end up being unusable to end-users, especially over a prolonged period of time. And cut-rate implementations that are seriously delayed or over-budget can translate into lost revenues, and/or delayed time to market.  When evaluating information technology (especially for new solutions), make sure to compare specs to specs, technical capabilities to capabilities, and implementation expertise to expertise.


Big data key to bringing hyperlocal weather forecasts to Georgia farmers
Reckford is confident that hyperlocal forecasts enabled by big data analytics and sophisticated modeling technologies will one day yield similar benefits. Weather forecast models in the U.S. typically have a horizontal resolution of 12 kilometers, meaning they are based on data gathered from grid points spaced 12 kilometers apart. By building weather models with a 1.5 kilometer resolution, the Flint River Partnership project is looking to provide farmers in the area with much more granular weather information. That would lead to more informed decisions regarding irrigation, seeding, harvesting and fertilizer application, Reckford said.


Guess what? CIOs are back (if they were ever really gone)
With all the talk of chief marketing officers (CMOs) taking over IT budgets, it’s interesting to see a countervailing argument. Case in point: Clorox CIO Ralph Loura was promoted to senior vice president and ensconced on the company’s executive committee, according to The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal (reg required). Over the past few years, as bring your own device or BYOD mania swept through big companies, there was pushback among end-users who often viewed IT and CIOs as barriers between them and their favorite devices and apps. That’s why CMOs and other line-of-business managers started using their own budgets to do what needed doing.


Public Cloud Market Ready for 'Hypergrowth' Period
"You need to update your forecast to keep up with reality," said Andrew Bartels, an analyst with Forrester. "Now we have a new set of numbers to work with. One of the key trends behind this is that the cloud is starting to shift from a complement to a replacement for existing technology." Breaking down the public cloud market into segments, Forrester predicts that the global public cloud platform services will hit $44 billion by 2020, the cloud business services should reach $14 billion and the cloud applications, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) market, will hit $131 billion.


The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs
It has taken a while for the software that helps people get work done to catch up with the fact that many people are increasingly working on tablets and phones. Now new apps are making it easier to create and edit documents on the go. Meanwhile, cloud-based file storage services, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s ­OneDrive—which have plunged in cost and soared in usage—help keep the results in sync even as multiple users work on the same file simultaneously. Some cloud services do this by separating what look to users like unified files into separate entries—paragraphs, words, even individual characters—in easily manipulated databases.


Exclusive Interview: David Stringfellow, Chief Economist, State Utah Auditor
Two good benchmarks to separate the leaders from the laggards in the government sector are 1) the extent to which data is made available to both the public and data community in useful ways and 2) whether a government employs the right human capital in executive positions with both subject matter expertise and fluency in data use. Examples, include websites that open up the government checkbook to inspection. A good GUI is useful to a curious citizen, but of at least equal import is the ability of power data users to download the same data in bulk for true analytics. Governments will need Chief Data Scientists to marshal the resources to truly leverage the value of the data governments maintain to drive more efficiency.


Wearables and fashion: Blending the two will be a key to success
The connection between fashion and tech wearables is getting stronger as manufacturers recognize that people want to not only wear something that works well, but looks good, too. Face it. Putting on a wearable makes a statement, whether it's to tell someone that you are into health and fitness, or that you're a techie and you want instant access to texts and emails. "We're at the very beginning of wearables. People are finally waking up to the fact if you're going to be on someone's body, you have to at least be not unfashionable. With Shine, we were trying to be not unfashionable," said Sonny Vu, founder of Misfit Wearables, which developed the stylish Misfit Shine fitness tracking device.


5 Big Data Ted Talks Everyone Needs to See [VIDEOS]
It's a changing space out there, where what you like on Facebook can tell a marketer your inner-most desires, where the speed of algorithms concerns us more than the speed of light, where monuments and memorials are built to honor the humanity in us all -- from a data standpoint.  So, yes...big data may indeed be a buzzword, but it's influence on our business models, our lives and even on the grography of our planet is only beginning. These five Ted Talks get to the heart of the massive shift in perception when it comes to utilizing data, from the security to the oddities and everything in between. It's time to learn up about the data revolution, and begin to understand your data rights.


Australia’s Federal Privacy Act Gives Watchdog Teeth
So it's perhaps surprising that legislation has often failed to keep up with technological developments. Laws designed to cover the accidental loss of a few paper documents from a musty government warehouse are hardly suited to an era in which millions of individuals’ highly personal details can be mislaid on a USB drive the size of a thumbnail. The UK government demonstrated that when it lost the personal details of 25 million people on two non-encrypted CDs in 2007. Many other examples exist, all around the world. In fact the list of major organisations that haven't lost customer data seems to get shorter by the week.


Cloud-savvy Bluetooth 4.1 to reach devices by year end
It is technically possible for Bluetooth devices to send data to a cloud service today, but only through hub devices with a full OS and supporting drivers or special routers running a software stack. Bluetooth 4.1 will go into "dumb" equipment such as routers or set-top boxes, which can receive Bluetooth data and redirect it to cloud services via a basic software layer in the gateway equipment. The gateways don't need a full OS the way smartphones and tablets do, with an app in the wearable device specifying the cloud service to receive the Bluetooth data.



Quote for the day:

The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” -- Malcolm Gladwell