June 23, 2014

Wearables At Work: Early Adopters Will Win
That next big thing is wearables. Devices like Google Glass, smartwatches, fitness trackers that attach to clothing, health monitors worn on (or even in) the body -- these hands-free innovations are the future. Information goes automatically to those who need it. The Internet of Things is becoming a functioning reality and is growing rapidly. IDC recently predicted that the IoT market would reach $7.1 trillion by 2020. ABI Research expects 90 million wearable devices to ship around the world in 2014.

Panasonic's 5-inch 'handheld tablet' redefines tough
"We don't want to call it a smartphone because some may order it without telephony," said Kyle Day, senior product manager at Panasonic. The handhelds have unique customization features, but what stands out is ruggedness. The Toughpads can withstand 3-meter drops to concrete, and can remain immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to half an hour. The screens have been reinforced to withstand a drop of a 396-gram steel ball from 80 centimeters. I couldn't test that claim since I didn't have a steel ball handy, but Day said that the company provides a three-year warranty to repair or replace the products in case of an incident.

A Very Short History Of The Internet Of Things
There have been visions of smart, communicating objects even before the global computer network was launched forty-five years ago. As the Internet has grown to link all signs of intelligence (i.e., software) around the world, a number of other terms associated with the idea and practice of connecting everything to everything have made their appearance, including machine-to-machine (M2M), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), context-aware computing, wearables, ubiquitous computing, and the Web of Things. Here are a few milestones in the evolution of the mashing of the physical with the digital.

From Order Taker to Trusted Business Partner
Regardless of the industry, understanding the fundamental drivers of IT cost and translating them in a meaningful way to the business is essential to aligning IT with business partners. In this context, CIOs often find that their biggest challenge is to drive and champion change in the business and make technology part of the discussion, rather than just a tactical part of the solution. To get a "seat at the table" for the business discussion, CIOs need to create practical ways to reduce costs to efficiently run operations, which in turn frees investments to proactively support and strategically partner with the business to drive change. This dual challenge likely requires material changes and a deeper review of how IT functions, both operationally and organizationally.

Ten of the Strangest Data Center Outages
Every once in a while, utility power goes out and the backup systems fail, or a technician makes a mistake, and the data center goes down. While outages have become less frequent, as the industry’s practices continuously improve, things still occasionally go wrong. But sometimes there are also instances when something strange and completely unexpected causes the dreaded unplanned data center downtime. Here is a list of some of the strangest data center downtime causes we’ve seen:

Consumerisation set to revolutionise healthcare
“This is not the way to set up a proposition," he said. "It cannot happen if everyone runs their own stack. You need to create an ecosystem to build a richer experience.” As CIO, he oversaw a common architecture to enable the smart products Philips develops to communicate together. People from healthcare and lighting are now staring to work together, using the same platform. “We are moving from product to proposition,” Tas said. This means the company is starting to link together products from different areas of the business to create something that enhances the customer experience.

Does de-identification work or not?
Fortunately, under the HIPAA de-identification requirements, re-identification is typically time-consuming to conduct, expensive (often requiring identified linking data from commercial data vendors), requires serious computer/mathematical skills, is rarely successful and, most importantly, is usually uncertain as to whether it has actually succeeded (due to a high probability of "false positive" re-identifications when the re-identification probabilities are so low). Ms. Baker's article challenged us to ask ourselves "What risk level is acceptable in our eyes?" and, would we still have the same answer if it was us that might possibly re-identified?

SMBs Ignoring Insider Threats
Theft of intellectual property is often conducted by skilled professional staff such as scientists, engineers, and sales force personnel. Stolen intellectual property can be proprietary business information, source code, or industrial espionage. For fraud, insider activities consist of falsified payroll reimbursements, unauthorized acquisitions with company funds, theft and sale of confidential information, and modifying or hiding criminal activity after the fact. IT sabotage is almost always conducted by former employees, while fraud is usually committed by currently employed staff, and theft of intellectual property usually happens within 30 to 90 days of an individual's resignation, Theis said.

The Thought Experiment
For brain-controlled computers to become a medical product, there has to be an economic rationale, and the risks must be offset by the reward. So far, ­Scheuermann’s case has come closest to showing that these conditions can be met. In 2013, the Pittsburgh team reported its work with Scheuermann in the medical journal the Lancet. After two weeks, they reported, she could move the robot arm in three dimensions. Within a few months, she could make seven movements, including rotating Hector’s hand and moving the thumb. At one point, she was filmed feeding herself a bite of a chocolate bar, a goal she had set for herself.

Clayton Christensen Responds to New Yorker Takedown of 'Disruptive Innovation'
Disruption, as Lepore notes, has since become an all-purpose rallying cry, not only in Silicon Valley—though especially there—but in boardrooms everywhere. “It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence,” she writes. ... Christensen hasn’t responded in writing to the essay, but when I reached him by phone on Thursday afternoon, it was clear he’d been thinking about it. Consistently described by those who know him as a generous and thoughtful and upbeat person, he is also capable of fury. “Keep asking me questions,” he said, “it’s helping me.”

Quote for the day:

"The world economy no longer pays for what people know but for what they can do with what they know." -- Andreas Schleicher