September 11, 2016

Why the Blockchain Is Perfect for Government Services

As a government entity, what can you do with the blockchain? Generically, there are 4 categories of activity: 1) Verification. Licenses, proofs of records, transactions, processes, or events. Did this event take place? Was this service performed on this piece of equipment? Does this person have the right permit?;  2) Movement of assets. Transferring money from one person/entity to another. Enabling direct payments, once a work condition has been performed; 3) Ownerships. Land registries, property titles, and any type of real estate ownership. The blockchain is a perfect keeper of the chain of custody for any physical asset; and  4) Identities. Government, cities should issue blockchain e-identities to its citizens, enabling them to securely use services like voting.


When A.I. whispers in your ear all day

Google is working on a secret initiative called Project Aura. (Don't confuse Project Aura with Google's Project Ara, a modular smartphone research program discontinued this week.) Project Aura is rumored to involve an enterprise version of Google Glass, plus one or two audio-only wearables -- often described as Google Glass without the glass -- essentially screen input replaced by voice and Google Now. Microsoft is reportedly building a hearable device, possibly aimed at women, called the "Clip." The earpiece would enable hands-free interaction with Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant.


Blockchain Really Only Does One Thing Well

Despite the hype, blockchain is not a “trust protocol”; it’s actually the opposite. Just think about it: it’s not as though paying by bitcoin stops you from being ripped off. For anything of value other than bitcoin to be transacted via the blockchain requires additional layers of agents, third parties and auditors – things that just don’t square with the trust-free architecture. Lofty claims are made for blockchain’s ability to decentralise all sorts of things. But in truth, blockchain only decentralises the adjudication of the order of entries in a ledger. It is not a general or native “Internet of Value” as claimed by authors like Don and Alex Tapscott. It was expressly designed for electronic cash; it has no native connection to real world assets.


The Blockchain: An Experiment in Governance Without Power

The absence of a central authority figure is also not synonymous with a lack of leadership. To the contrary, it means anyone and everyone is able to lead. The difference is that without compulsion, different ideas and solutions must openly compete against each other. No one can be forced to accept any service or use any software. The resulting competition means that multiple solutions to different problems can be market tested and users will ultimately vote with their feet. This simple dynamic is the key to not only how the bitcoin ecosystem works, but how it can ultimately thrive over centralized planning. Ineffective solutions to problems on the part of stakeholders are able to fail in isolation without threatening the whole ecosystem, and valuable solutions can succeed and grow on their own merit and earn the appropriate amount of market share.


U.S. lawmakers make last-ditch bid to block internet governance transfer

The lawmakers said there is still no legal certainty about whether the termination of the IANA functions contract would amount to relinquishment of U.S. government property, despite a request in 2015 to the Government Accountability Office to do an audit report on the issue. Relinquishment of government property would require approval from Congress, the legislators wrote. In the Senate, Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, on Thursday urged Congress to stop the proposed “giveaway” of internet control by the administration of President Barack Obama, warning of the risks of increasing the influence of countries like Russia, China and Iran over the Internet.


Why CISOs should stop focusing on data

As technical people, CISOs and other security and risk professionals tend to be very detail- oriented, thorough and complete. But they ignore the fact that this approach will not give them the best results. If the CEOs gives you only five minutes to present, how can you use that very brief moment to make a pitch, highlight your concerns and get the funding to enable you to do the right security projects? It's a very tricky situation. So CISOs should try to make their presentations more interesting rather than complete. This is where storytelling comes to their rescue. It's a very powerful medium of communication and leverages the elements of images, visuals, events and language to convey a message effectively. Often times, CISO feel that as a part of their role they do not need the skill of story-telling.


Changing enterprise architect role opens new doors, closes others

"The enterprise architect must provide the vision on how to maintain a consistent approach to delivering IT services across all these platforms, while providing a unified approach to foundational IT components," Carroll said. This will also include providing secure, consistent access to these applications. Carroll said he envisions the new enterprise architect functioning essentially as a cloud and mobile services leader for the business, choosing the appropriate platforms and creating a clear vision for the use of cloud and mobile technology. ... Meanwhile, other experts see the role of the enterprise architect splitting, particularly as the architect role goes beyond designing systems. The rise of DevOps will bring the enterprise architect into working with application development teams, said Rich Kucharski, vice president of solutions architecture at SimpliVity Corp


Why whole-enterprise architecture matters

Although we can’t know from outside how the systems are structured, there are several options to make it work better from a user’s perspective. Whilst it depends on the actual structures, of course, one example would be to be much more explicit about what has or hasn’t been confirmed – such as the ‘success-page’ modified to show the current status for each partner-booking, and update that success-page as messages come back in, accessible via the ‘Manage My Booking’ or equivalent functionality on the airline’s web-page. Another option would be to auto-trigger email-alerts after a time-out period, to warn the customer that expected confirmation-messages have not been received. Even with current technologies, none of this should be hard to architect, design and implement.


IT4IT™ and TOGAF® – How Do They Fit Together?

For a CIO, IT4IT gives me a way to look across my organization, and to assess all its functional components for quality or maturity (or whatever other factor is important) and to decide where my biggest pain points are. IT4IT also gives the CIO a very clear way to understand the data needed to manage an IT organization and provides a framework for evaluating how well that data is flowing across the different organizational silos. A second perspective for which IT4IT is useful is that of an Enterprise Architect. As an Enterprise Architect, it would be my job to look across the entire enterprise. We use the Porter Value Chain here as one simple representation of a way to segment your Enterprise Architecture according to TOGAF.


Benefits of Agile Transformation at Barclays

It is also worth noting that teams who are just beginning their agile journey need some guidance to what practices they should implement first. Experienced agile practitioners understand that the practices you use are dependent on your context; however, for beginners this just leaves them feeling lost and confused. We use a 4 level scale for teams to measure themselves against where level 1 is more prescriptive and practice based, moving towards output/outcome measures as teams move to levels 3 and 4. These levels are a lagging indicator of agility and they aggregate things like reduced lead time, increased quality, automation, technical excellence and team structure. It is important that these are not framed as the reason as to why agile is being adopted. The reason why is separate, the levels are waypoints on the agility journey, useful for planning ahead



Quote for the day:


"Everything we care about lies somewhere in the middle, where pattern and randomness interlace." -- @JamesGleick