Monday, March 31, 2014

Digital Transformation Expert Interview: Author Paul Roehrig

I love Google+ Hangouts.  They enable me to catch up with busy, world traveling digital and mobile experts anywhere in the world and record interviews with them.  Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview that I recorded last week with author Paul Roehrig who is also the Co-Director of the Center for the Future of Work here at Cognizant.  Paul's new and important book that will be published by Wiley in April is titled "Code Halos - How the Digital Lives of People, Things and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business."  There is also an accompanying iPad app "Code Halos" available now for free here.

Viewers may have caught the interview I published with Paul's co-author on the book Ben Pring last week.  In this interview we cover a different set of strategy discussions.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10RYDcvbJng&feature=share&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Digital Transformation Expert Interview: Author Ben Pring on Code Halos

I had the privilege of interviewing Ben Pring the co-author of the book Code Halos - How the Digital Lives of People, Things and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business this week!  In addition to the book, there is also a free companion Code Halos iPad app available for download.  As well as writing books, Ben Pring is also the Co-Director of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant.  Wiley will be publishing the book nationwide in 2 weeks.  It is available now for pre-order. Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2uhEPxOMEg&feature=share&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

IoT and M2M Cloud Controlled Programmable Hardware

My friend and Cognizant colleague the ever opinionated Peter Rogers shares more of insights into the world of IoT (Internet of Things) geekdom and how it really works under-the-covers.
__________

Facebook invested more cash this week when they acquired one of my favourite Kickstarter projects Oculus VR for a seemingly ridiculous $2b. The VR (virtual reality) headset was the best in class technology (in its price range) and had just added a head-tracking software solution to reduce motion sickness. Of course it wasn't just the VR headset that Facebook acquired, but the CTO of Oculus VR, who is no other than the legendary game creator John Carmack.

There is every indication that Facebook will let Oculus VR do their own thing but I do worry about the lack of support from game developers, so John Carmack needs to rally the forces. We all agree there is money in wearable technologies in 2014, right? I actually classed virtual reality headsets as my favourite form of wearable technology, but I am a gamer at heart and spent a lot of time playing VR games in the local arcades as a teenager/adult. With the problems of motion sickness being alleviated and fast refresh rates then we can all look forward to recreating scenes from Disclosure very soon and it proves this is happening now.

IFTTT

I was recently looking into IFTTT (if this then that) which is a service that lets you create powerful connections of Internet services. Channels are the basic representation of online services (Facebook, LinkedIn, Evernote, etc.). Triggers are actions that place on a channel, such as “I check in on Foursquare” or “I am tagged in a ridiculous picture of the office party on Facebook”. Actions are the tasks to perform such as ‘send me a text message to warm me of photos I am tagged in on Facebook”.  Recipes are therefore the final ‘if this than that’ statement which combines triggers on channels with actions to perform. You can have personal recipes, one example of such being a text message warning system for photos that you are tagged in on Facebook within days of an office party.

I didn’t realise until recently that some of the non-enterprise MBaaS (mobile backend as a service) systems offer a similar IFTTT construct. If we look at Firebase which is probably more of a real-time connectivity platform than a MBaaS, but has come into the spotlight after a strong partnership with Famo.us. Firebase offers hooks to inject conflict resolution logic into the proceedings. Likewise, Telerik  allows you to inject custom JavaScript code to be executed before/after CRUD (create/read/update/delete) operations on data items. This offers a simpler alternative than a Node/GAE service tier and with the merging of API Gateways and Enterprise MBaaS on the horizon (a topic for a later Blog) then I have a strong feeling we will see this level of configuration-programmatic control in the near future, especially in the wearable space.

Tessel

Tessel start with asking a great question, “How do you teach web developers about hardware?” and it is a question I have long been pondering from a resourcing perspective. The answer they give is fantastic, “You don’t. You teach hardware about web developers”. You use familiar web development language such as JavaScript and Node to make programming hardware a much higher level construct.

Tessel is a micro-controller that runs Embedded JavaScript. The guys at Tessel seem to think that JavaScript is the perfect embedded language and I am inclined to agree. Tessel are targeting the affordable embedded processor range of Cortex-M0 to Cortex-M4 which are the lower end of the performance spectrum but come in at the $4@1k range. The options are to either run a JavaScript VM (which comes in at around 10Mb of memory) or run a Lua VM (which is highly portable and comes in at around 30K). I was curious what Embedded JavaScript actually was and I guess we will see quite a few definitions of cut down versions of the ECMAScript but Tessel have a unique take on all this. Originally on a local computer there would be a JavaScript file and a g-zipped Lua file which was then sent to a Tessel micro-controller which ran a Lua interpreter. To improve performance they have now moved to having a JavaScript file on the local computer and then on the actual Tessel they will compile JavaScript to Lua bytecode and run this through a LuaJIT (just in time compiler) based custom RTOS.

I remember all of the MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms) used to support Lua and soon everyone quickly moved away to the more familiar JavaScript language. Corona was the first to see an exodus of game developers due to the closed nature of the solution. Now in the MCAP space everyone is moving away from JavaScript VMs to cross-transpiled / cross-compiled JavaScript solutions (Hyperloop, Cocoon, Intel XDK). This means you get to write in JavaScript but you end up with native code which is a win-win – unless you hate JavaScript. The future is that it will become feasible to embed in every product a micro-controller powerful enough to run a high level language but for now JavaScript (or Embedded JavaScript as it will be called) seems to be the language of choice.

Firmata

I later discovered trailr which allows you to build and deploy Arduino ‘environment-aware’ sketches over WebSockets. This basically means that you can effectively reprogram the hardware by sending an environment configuration over the air. This led me onto Firmata, which is a generic protocol for communicating with microcontrollers from software on a host computer. It is intended to work with any host computer software package. Basically, this firmware establishes a protocol for talking to the Arduino from the host software. The aim is to allow people to completely control the Arduino from software on the host computer. Firmata is therefore a simple Arduino sketch that allows you to control all of the pins on the micro-controller dynamically without loading a new program on the board every time you want to do something.

SkyNet and Cloud Programmable Hardware

I have to mention SkyNet once again after they amazed me by lighting up their office with Phillips Hue light bulbs that change colour (red or green) as their stock price fluctuates (using the Yahoo Stock Market API). You can see the video here at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNiHQXmawys. SkyNet have firmware that allows an Arduino to automatically connect to SkyNet and await Firmata instructions. SkyNet then becomes the compute cloud for controlling devices and collecting sensor data without CPUs or custom device apps.

As Chris from SkyNet says, “You could literally duct-tape an Arduino, MicroArduino (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/microduino/microduino-arduino-in-your-pocket-small-stackable), Spark device (https://www.spark.io/), or RFduino (http://www.rfduino.com/) to a light pole with a small rechargeable battery and solar cell.  It connects to SkyNet allowing you to stream sensor data from connected sensors or you could turn on pins for lights, relays, motors, etc. via SkyNet messages. SkyNet messages could be sent from people all around the world.”

I must admit that I find the whole concept of Cloud controlled programmable hardware very exciting.


*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top 10 Mobile Expert Interviews from Mobile World Congress 2014

In case you missed any or all of these interviews with mobile experts at the Mobile World Congress 2014 a few weeks back, here they all are in one list for your viewing pleasure:
*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Must Read Code Halos - The Book

Amazon beating Borders, Netflix beating Blockbuster, Apple beating Kodak, and the rise of companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Pandora are not isolated or random events. Today's outliers in revenue growth and value creation are winning with a new set of rules. They are dominating by managing the information that surrounds people, organizations, processes, and products.  They are employing a "Code Halo" strategy.

Code Halo is the name for all the relevant data that surrounds customers, prospects, employees, products, organizations, etc.  The data that if collected, analyzed for meaning, and used to customize an experience adds tremendous value.

We are seeing "Code Halo" strategies being deployed everywhere.  In fact, Google's new semantic search capabilities are using it as demonstrated by this excerpt from the book Google Semantic Search by David Amerland, "Search programming [now] looks at what we have typed in search, looks at our personal search history, and tries to guess our intent behind what we are looking for."

The underlying principle of a Code Halo strategy is this - there is value in personalizing or customizing an experience, rather than providing generic experiences.  When you visit a website that has no knowledge of you and simply shows you the generic company website - it is a generic experience.  There is no value added.  When you go to a website like Amazon, and the site greets you by name and shows your history and recommends different products based on your past preferences and what others with similar tastes to you have bought - that is a Code Halo enabled site with exceptional value added.

What does an IT environment look like that is Code Halo enabled?  What does the IT architecture look like?  What does a marketing strategy look like that is Code Halo enabled?  How do companies treat employees when the company is employing a Code Halo strategy?  These are all great questions that need answered.

My colleagues at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring have just completed a new book on Code Halo strategies that will be released by Wiley in April. I have read it and recommend it. You can read more about it here http://www.unevenlydistributed.com/codehalos/book.

Every company in every industry and market needs to ponder the impact of Code Halo strategies on their business.  Code Halos are an integral part of a digital transformation and are changing the face of business.  Companies that don't "get it" won't survive long.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Internet of Things Platforms and IoT Strategies

My friend and colleague, the always opinionated Peter Rogers, shares his latest research on The Internet of Things and the technology and platforms that are used to support it.

There seems to be two main groups of thought as to when wearable technology will become mainstream. The first group are those that believe that wearable technology is here today and are engaging both hobbyists and future entrepreneurs in building all parts of the ecosystem now. These people are creating their own hardware and working with systems to communicate with third party hardware right as we speak. The second group of people are more commercially minded and are looking at creating a full platform for the future. They are looking at big data style real-time analytics, next generation IP, and constrained REST architectures with cast iron security.

Personally I am impatient.  I want to start playing with this IoT stuff today and allow the dedicated platforms to mature over time so they are ready when the market really picks ups.  With that said I believe there are currently two tiers of vendors:
  1. Those that have something that works today and that we could build products and services on top of now.
  2. Those that have an actual platform that is slowly maturing and we can use in the future 
My advice is to look at combining a selection of low-end propositions to start testing custom products for their effectiveness today.  In my view the best people to start talking with for effective low risk deployments, would be those offering end-to-end solutions based around plugging in any device to a simple Cloud PaaS and with their technology readily available to hobbyists.

I will list a few vendors that I think offer technology ready to go today and then in my next article I will look at those that I consider offer platforms for the future.  The main problem is one of being locked into a proprietary Cloud system that cannot be privately hosted and that only works with embedded client software that is explicitly supported by that vendor. If there is anything the ‘MBaaS v MEAP debate in enterprise mobility taught us is that open standards with flexible Cloud hosting solutions will win out. I don't see a perfect solution at the moment, but I do see a whole lot of very exciting propositions that will get acquired and combined effectively over time.

SkyNet

This open source project aims to let disparate devices communicate via a variety of protocols including MQTT, WS/S, CoAP, HTTPS/REST and WebSockets. It supports UUID authentication and TLS certificates. Eventually non-programmers could use Skynet to create a platform that lets us program the real and online worlds in a way that’s far more powerful than If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier. The end result is a flexible piece of open source software that can connect to everything from servers to sensors. SkyNet can be run on a public or private Node.js instance (such as Heroku) and they are even working on an open source home gateway.

IOBridge

ioBridge makes it easy for professionals and enthusiasts to monitor and control nearly anything via their smartphone or web app using a general purpose web gateway. This is a simple gateway that lets you monitor or send commands to anything compatible with the ioBridge through a web interface. It does sound like you can only access ioBridge-manufactured or third-party sensors, that are compatible with the ioBridge web gateway.  It also doesn't sounds like you can set up your own version on a private network just yet. When you purchase one of the ioBridge gateways then you get a free limited subscriptions. For example, if you want to log data faster than every few minutes then you need another subscription.

BergCloud

Berg is a Cloud platform but they also provide hardware with built-in connectivity for faster prototyping. Devshields bring the Device API to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and ARM MBED. The Device API is provided as a client library that runs on your microcontroller, speaking via your wireless connection to the web. If you are prototyping and don't yet have connectivity, then the Devshield developer boards have that bundled too. You can manage and message all your devices using the RESTful Cloud API, built around secure HTTPS. You control the user experience with your own website, and treat your devices like just another web service.

Sense Observation Systems

CommonSense is a platform that helps you to keep track of all your sensor data, store it in a central location, and play with it. CommonSense also processes your raw sensor data into meaningful things like sleep, exercise, or your top locations. With the free CommonSense Dashboard  you gain insights into your behavior. With the free CommonSense Tracker you turn your phone into an advanced tracking device. You can combine them, add in your Fitbit or Twitter data, and you get a powerful self-tracking system. Connections are available now for iOS, Android, Fitbit, and Twitter. They are working on connecting more devices and services.

The data is stored in their Cloud, which happens to be in The Netherlands and has been certified with according to medical device regulations (NEN-7510). It does seem to have a good focus on Health Care and the Environment. CommonSense is currently in Private Beta and it sounds more like a real-time analytics platform at the moment.

Electric Imp

Electric Imp offers a complete end-to-end solution that makes it simple to connect almost any product to the Internet through an innovative and powerful cloud service tied closely to leading-edge hardware. The Electric Imp connectivity platform, featuring fully integrated hardware, software, OS, APIs, cloud servers, makes it possible to effectively empower your devices with intelligence, scalability and flexibility. If you’re a developer, hobbyist, or maker, then you can get started with one of their development kits and bring connectivity to your project, idea or concept.

Electric Imp offers a comprehensive solution designed to connect your product or project to the Internet quickly, easily and effectively. The platform includes:
  • Imp Hardware: The Electric Imp platform starts with the imp, a powerful module containing WiFi and a processor that acts as the gateway to connect your device or service to the Internet
  • Imp OS: The software foundation for the imp’s features and services that allows your code to concentrate on bringing your product’s functions to life.
  • Imp Cloud: Their cloud allows you to run agents - server side code that runs in a secure environment - that are used to provide HTTP I/O and cloud-side processing, and easily connect your products to anything with Internet access. Agents can act as a central hub to your products, apps, third-party services, and even your own servers.
  • Imp Open API: Enrich your customer experience and build your business by developing enhancements like messaging, monitoring, and much more.
  • Imp BlinkUpTM: The proprietary Electric Imp setup solution (BlinkUp) integrates seamlessly into your apps, letting you and your customers connect products in seconds using just a smartphone or tablet.
  • Imp Services - IDE and Ops Console: Maintain your software, push new code and features easily to devices anytime, ensuring that your users always have the latest features. The Ops Console enables you to gain more insight into your factory production lines and scale to millions of devices.

1248.io

1248.io offers Geras, which is a scalable time-series database for your sensor data with quick storage for your Analytics. They also offer HyperCat, which is an open, lightweight JSON-based hypermedia catalogue format for exposing collections of URIs. HyperCat is simple to work with and allows developers to publish linked-data descriptions of resources. HyperCat is designed for exposing information about IoT assets over the web. It allows a server to provide a set of resources to a client, each with a set of semantic annotations.

Geras offers the following:
  • HTTPS support for strong security and per-user API keys
  • Standard HTTP/HTTPS support allowing sensors to traverse firewalls and proxies
  • Sensors can supply data over HTTP POST or very lightweight MQTT publish
  • Supports modern standards for posting, getting and discovering data: HTTPS; JSON; RESTful; SenML; MQTT; and HyperCat
  • Built on a fault-tolerant, distributed database
  • Data can be stored in the country of your choice with an option to buy Geras as software and host the data yourself
If you have an IoT platform or technologies that you want Peter Rogers to be aware of please email him at Peter-2.Rogers-2@cognizant.com.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mobile Expert Interview: Ved Sen on Enterprise Mobility in Europe

This week I am working and teaching in London.  While here I had the opportunity to interview my colleague at Cognizant, Ved Sen on the state of enterprise mobility in Europe.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJwYxJAMYQ8&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw&feature=share

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Enterprise Mobility, Digital Transformation and Work Spaces

I had the opportunity to spend some time recently with Asure Software's VP/GM of EMEA and APAC, Nigel Clarke, and to discuss how digital transformation is impacting work spaces and the mobile workforce.   In years past I attended facility management conferences and developed mobile apps to help manage facilities, assets, rooms, inspections, materials and supplies.  We were counting and inspecting physical objects.  Today, however, there are digital transformations taking place in this industry.

Today, companies less often require employees to work in the physical office (sorry folks at Yahoo!). Often equipment is not associated with a location, but moves to where it is needed at any given time. When people do come into the office there is a need to find a desk, conference room, video or projection equipment and to use additional services to ensure their use of the office is optimized and efficiently managed.

Every day the office layout and who is using the office and rooms may differ.  This requires several different strategies:
  1. Real-time communications with on site teams
  2. Agile building, parking and network access
  3. Digitization of a physical building into digital spaces
  4. Digitization of time that can be carved into increments that can be manipulated and reserved
  5. Associating digital times with digital spaces
  6. Agile room layouts
  7. Collaborating with third parties to provide services for particular spaces and times
  8. Mobile apps for the mobile workforce
All of these changes must be supported on mobile apps.  Time, space, temperatures, resources, equipment, access, parking, networks and services can now be reserved and managed from thousands of miles away in a cloud computing environment.  This requires a real-time system and an office layout conducive to agile use that can quickly be transformed to meet different needs on different days.

These can all be coordinated digitally via mobile apps.  But that is just the beginning.  You could also arrange caterings services and reserve special equipment and car services associated with time and space from thousands of miles away.

Can you imagine trying to support this kind of environment without online and mobile apps?  What a nightmare.  Some companies may think their industry is not being impacted significantly today by digital transformation, but they're probably wrong.


*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

The Internet of Things - Under the Covers

My colleague, the always opinionated Peter Rogers, provides us with an "under-the-covers" look at how Android plans to power the Internet of Things.  Pull down your geek hat and hold on!!!
***
In previous articles I predicted that wearable technology would be powered by light-weight operating systems, citing Samsung’s decision to go with Tizen instead of Android. This decision was apparently based on battery life and user interface considerations. However, just after the article hit the Internet, Google executive Sundar Pichai announced the Android SDK for Wearables.  Android is used in many different ways as demonstrated by Kindle and Nokia X (Nokia X seems to have deployed a Windows 8 look and feel on top of Android). Indeed, for this very reason Android 4.4 has moved a lot of key APIs into the Cloud.

Wearable device developers are interested in the APIs available to them. If we turn the clock back to the J2ME days there was a dedicated API for user interfaces (UI) called javax.microedition.lcdui. This was a small UI library compared to today's Android libraries. Indeed you wouldn’t run Java Swing on Android, and likewise a wearable device needs a more constrained API for the UI. Even though a wearable device may be supporting a full operating system, it will most probably have a constrained UI and that means a slightly different programming style.

Recently there was an interesting post in the Washington Post supporting my claims that Wearable Devices and the Internet of Things requires different skill sets. The article listed the new skills required as data analytics and enterprise data analysis. Basically you need to know how to capture the data, read the data and then apply the data to your specific business domain. Surely real-time analytics and visualisation tools will become critical in the wearable space and this is where a new term called Fog Computing has been introduced by Cisco.

“Fog Computing is a paradigm that extends Cloud computing and services to the edge of the network. Similar to Cloud, Fog provides data, compute, storage, and application services to end-users. The distinguishing Fog characteristics are its proximity to end-users, its dense geographical distribution, and its support for mobility. Services are hosted at the network edge or even end devices such as set-top-boxes or access points. By doing so, Fog reduces service latency, and improves QoS, resulting in superior user-experience. Fog Computing supports emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) applications that demand real-time/predictable latency (industrial automation, transportation, networks of sensors and actuators). Thanks to its wide geographical distribution the Fog paradigm is well positioned for real time big data and real time analytics. Fog supports densely distributed data collection points, hence adding a fourth axis to the often mentioned Big Data dimensions (volume, variety, and velocity).”

In trying to predict what will be in the Android Wearable Software Developer Kit (SDK) then it is very interesting to note that Google acquired Android Smartwatch vendor WIMM Labs last year. WIMM Labs released its first Smartwatch back in 2011, the WIMM One, which ran Android and included an SDK for developers. Interestingly the WIMM website has removed all of the documentation for the SDK but a lot of WIMM One developers downloaded it before it got taken offline and so were able to get a potential glimpse of what Google is planning. WIMM had a Micro App Store which featured the following categories: entertainment; productivity; health;  shopping; travel; utilities; watch faces; and games.  As well as a Software Developer Kit there was also a Hardware Developer Kit which allows you to make accessories that wrap around the WIMM module.


The Wearable SDK itself will obviously have changed from its origins of the WIMM One SDK but it is certainly interesting rooting around through the API. The comm.wimm API extends the Android 2.X API and it is assumed that only the WIMM API itself can be used. There are some very interesting features offered for sure: notifications; custom watch faces; widgets; network services; sync services; calendars; broadcast events; weather; world clocks; location fixes; audio beeps; and various simple UI element.

One of the most interesting features is location information being retrieved from one or more sources, including built-in GPS, network based IP-location lookup, or a paired Android or Blackberry smartphone. This demonstrates that the Wimm One was able to perform even when not paired to a device and it was equally able to pair with a Blackberry.

If we look at the Android Wearable SDK then it is heavily rumoured to support Google Now, the voice control feature. It will also have to support Bluetooth Low Energy integration for communication with mobile devices for pairing and indeed detecting other sensors. It is also worth looking at the Google Glass Developer Kit (GDK) for a few hints at what may be revealed. The GDK was the alternative to the Mirror API which only really supported REST calls to a Google Cloud Service. The GDK is an add-on that builds on top of the Android SDK and offers the following: voice; gesture detector; and cards. It is safe to assume that voice control, local networking, touch control and potentially gesture control are all on cards. Google will show their hand at Google I/O and Samsung have already shown their Gear 2 devices at MWC. Next it is time for Apple to finally show their hand and we have to wonder if it will be a decisive one, quite possibly if history has taught us anything.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Impact of Digital Transformation and Mobility on Learning and Publishing

Have you ever considered how the traditional author, teacher, textbook and student relationship will change when digitally transformed and mobile device enabled?  What if writing a textbook is no longer enough for an author?  What if all textbooks, in order to be widely sold and used, also required a mobile app, audio and video editions and an integrated social platform?  In other words SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) enabled.

What if the content in textbooks were digitally enabled and viewable on a tablet computer that was GPS enabled?  Could you tap into data from Google Field Trips, http://www.fieldtripper.com/, to make the textbook location-aware.  Could the study of a period in history automatically identify nearby historical points of interest, photos or videos related to the content?  Could your surroundings, now digitized, augment your reality?

What if before reading the book, you took a short assessment to determine which learning styles are most suited to you?  What if that learning style followed you across all online textbooks?  What if all content and presentations changed based upon your assessed and recorded learning styles or the recorded preferences of the reader?  Code Halos, the data about each teacher, tutor and student could be saved and used to help students learn better and faster, and for teachers and tutors to be more efficient and effective. Could there be six different versions of each textbook based upon the different learning styles?

Could gamification be introduced into textbooks to motivate assignment completion and compliance? Could better scores unlock levels in an associated learning game?

What if an online AILA (Artificial Intelligent Learning Agent) followed you across all textbooks and online content and helped present the content in a manner most suitable to your learning style?

What if every online textbook was automatically socialized, and students could discuss each page and subject and link out to additional information?  What if there were all kinds of complementary content and tutorials available that were both free and for a fee?  Everything from videos, podcasts and additional help notes.

For teachers, what if suggested assignments, quizzes and tests (and optional online automatic grading) were available for use by registered teachers.  This would make the textbook more appealing if the teachers could be more efficient with their time when they used it.

What if AI (artificial intelligent) learning agents helped the teacher remember the student’s details, and the student’s most suitable learning style and history each time an assignment was reviewed?  Could this intelligence help the teacher better adapt his/her teaching style to the individual student?

What if the textbook was really just a platform for learning.  One that included text, images, audio, video, games and assorted other learning tool?

Could students with the same learning styles be aligned with online teachers and tutors that specialize in those styles?

I hope these questions will help you ponder the incredible impact that the transformation from physical to digital will have in the learning and publishing industries and in others.

It is important for every company to be thinking through digital transformation and how it will impact their specific company, market and industry in the very near future.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mobile Expert Interviews: Microsoft's Rob Tiffany

I met up with and interviewed Microsoft's Rob Tiffany in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago at the Mobile World Congress 2014.  The problem, however, is I ran out of hard drive space on my iPhone and only captured half of the interview so today we are back for the rest via a recorded Google+ Hangout OnAir. In this interview we discuss Microsoft's current enterprise mobility solution offerings and what the future is likely to bring.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLRJWJeJ7JY&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw&feature=share



*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mobile Expert Interview: Catavolt's CEO George Mashini

I had the privilege today of interviewing Catavolt's CEO George Mashini.  In this interview he shares his insights and opinions on enterprise mobility, cloud based services, trends and strategies. Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_G6WO9H24&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw&feature=share


*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mobile Expert Interviews: Mi-Co CEO/Co-Founder Dr. Greg Clary

I spend most of my time these days researching, writing and teaching about digital transformations in businesses that include topics on Code Halos, social, mobile, analytics and cloud.  I can't think of a clearer case of digital transformation than converting paper forms, used for mobile data capture, to mobile apps.  In this interview the Co-Founder of Mi-Co, www.mi-corporation.com, Dr. Greg Clary explains the complexities and challenges, and ROIs that come from digital transforming these processes.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmFeSQAfW1I&feature=share&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

)

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Enterprise Mobility, Digital Transformation and the Virtuous Cycle

Mobile World Congress 2014
Last week over 80,000 people interested to learn how mobile technologies can improve the lives of humans, societies and businesses attended the Mobile World Congress 2014 (MWC14). The great thing is that all of these interests can and are happening at the same time.  It was and is a truly virtuous cycle.

While in Barcelona I stayed at a hotel on Gutenberg street.  Gutenberg street was named for Johannes Gutenberg who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the printing revolution which is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period.  It played a key role in the development of the renaissance, reformation (Gutenberg Bibles), the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses (source Wikipedia).

There are a lot of similarities between mobile and Internet technologies and the Gutenberg Presses. They all enable information to cross borders, economic classes, religions, political divides and races. Today it is possible for the accumulated knowledge of the world to be accessible to all that have an Internet connection and a device able to connect.
Gutenberg Press

The mobile technologies I witnessed at MWC14 are a transformational gift to humanity.  No longer can despots rule through secrecy and the assumed disorder and ignorance of the masses.  Mobile devices connected to social networking platforms have not only freed and democratized information and education, but also news, activities and events.  Mobility is the death to censorship, secrecy and tyranny.  It cannot improve the world without a good plan and organization to back it up, but it can certainly make the information necessary easier to access.

Mobile technologies and social networking platforms enable spontaneous swarming effects which can quickly bring order out of disorder, and at the same time disorder out of order.  Events can change overnight with real-time information. It has forced governments and despots to recognize the practice of governing has changed forever and that information transparency reigns.

The power of information, real-time information, should not be underestimated.  The ability to organize quickly for good has never been easier.  The ability to directly engage with friends, family members and customers anywhere in the world has never been easier.  Unleashed information changes the game forever.

We in the mobile industry are accustomed to focusing on the economic benefits of mobile technology - the ROIs - but I would encourage everyone to slow down once in a while and focus also on the societal benefits and the truly inspirational contributions mobile technology is bringing to humanity.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The First Article on How to Truly Implement the Internet of Things

My colleague, mobility and IoT (Internet of Things) guru Peter Rogers has written one of the first articles I have ever read that explains how consulting companies and developers can truly design, implement and support the Internet of Things ecosystem.  Mark your calendars with this historic day.
***
I was talking with friends today about the whole notion of wearable technology and soon stumbled upon the following important question, "What does a consultancy actually bring to the table in terms of wearable technologies?"

My opinion is that it is not about writing software for Google Glass, which seems to be the first thing anybody does at the mention of wearable technology. I mean firstly it is not (officially) on sale in Europe inside a retail outlet and secondly it does not actually have an official App Store.  I believe it is more about the hardware, the life cycle maintenance for wearable software and the supporting ecosystems. I also believe it is about the creative experiences that showcase the kinds of M2M scenarios that the film Terminator demonstrated. I aim to use the rest of this Blog to explain this argument clearly.

Firstly, it was interesting to see Samsung using Tizen as the operating system for their Gear 2 wearable devices. I have long mooted that it make little sense to have full operating systems on wearable devices and mobile handset vendors seem to want to keep their actual devices in the loop (the iCar and iWatch are both rumoured to work with an iPhone). If the iWatch ever appears then will it be running iOS 7.1? Even if it was running iOS 7.1 then I doubt you would build Apps using the same UI capabilities as for a standard phone or tablet. I would wager that the mobile device will continue to act as an arbitrator between the wearable device and the Internet (of Things) for some time to come and that the wearable devices will be running lightweight operating systems. In which case surely Ubuntu Mobile, Tizen and Firefox OS will make a play.

If that is indeed the case then the whole development cycle and life cycle maintenance of wearable device Apps is going to be a little bit different than before. It will be more constrained, but not in the earlier definition of the word, when wearable displays could only effectively display a pre-processed bitmap image. I would suggest that the Mobile Consumer Application Platform (MCAP) or Portable Native vendors who are geared up to supporting new operating systems quickly will be able to offer support for wearable devices faster than any other toolset vendor.

Proof of the pudding would appear to be Appcelerator's Titanium platform which already offers Tizen support. Whilst disappointingly Samsung say they will not commit to a Tizen powered mobile handset in 2014, at Mobile World Congress they most definitely did commit to Tizen powered wearable devices. Likewise, Marmalade supports the Tizen operating system, although this technology is predominantly (but not exclusively) used by game developers.

I would therefore conclude as my first point, that a consultancy wanting to get into the wearable technology space should first of all have a good knowledge of the MCAP / portable native platforms that are available to support both portability and the fast creation of applications for the wearable device market.

The second point I would make is that there is a definite need for ecosystems that support wearable devices. Such an ecosystem needs to support secure integration of remote devices, discoverability and messaging (to, from and between) disparate devices. I talk about SkyNet a lot at the moment as it is an actualisation of this concept and is available today. SkyNet is an open source Node.js based discovery, messaging and secure integration architecture for wearable devices. It can be hosted on a Mobile Back End as a Service (MBaaS) and acts to consolidate a vast amount of disparate technologies available in this space. As a solid example of this then in a few months you should be able to write JavaScript based Constrained RESTful servers that run on the SkyNet Node.js service tier and use them to discover and communicate with JavaScript based applications running as first class citizens on a Tizen OS powered Gear 2 device. That is one technology stack that covers the whole end to end architecture. It means that the solution architects can focus on security governance, as opposed to integrating disparate technologies, and worrying about what happens 3 months down the line (namely when a new version of the OS is released for the device). Likewise the creative experiences are empowered by a simple and powerful underlying framework.

SkyNet is not the only solution of course, but it is the best Blueprint I have seen so far and it is MIT licenced and available on GitHub today.

Here are two very cool 60 second videos of the Team SkyNet demonstrating their Internet of Things:

1. Bluetooth Low Energy integration. They appear to be messaging some custom built Pebble-type watch.
2. Voice control. They have a voice controlled remote lamp that can be called from a standard telephone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBNoSB_bac4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2emg81H6pI

Each connected device has its own 36 character UUID and a secret token.  These device credentials are required for authenticating and communicating with SkyNet. They also have TLS certificates available on the network by the time you read this. SkyNet can be deployed as a Private Cloud (in your enterprise or even in your home on a Raspberry Pi).  SkyNet networks also have UUIDs and can forward messages to other SkyNet networks.  You can also encrypt your messages if needed for additional security.  SkyNet currently supports 3 protocols over TCP (HTTP(S), WS/S, and MQTT).  They will be adding CoAP (a UDP protocol) this quarter for real-time communication. MQTT and CoAP are optimised protocols for constrained devices.  They are also working on a SkyNet Gateway device that can run in your home or office to communicate with local devices such as Nests, Phillips Hues, Wemos, Insteons, etc. The Gateway (and indeed SkyNet) are all open source and designed to support any protocol or transport layer.

If the right level of security can be applied by using acceptable levels of encryption and the Node.js implementation can be moved to nice Mobile Back End as a Service then you have a secure, scalable and maintainable Internet of Things. We often hear about REST being used but wearable devices introduces us to both Bluetooth Low Energy and Constrained RESTful environments (CoRE). It was in fact the CoRE Working Group that did the major standardization work for CoAP. I am sure instead of mobile architecture diagrams with JSON and REST, you will soon be seeing Bluetooth Low Energy and Constrained REST appearing on wearable architecture diagrams.

I would therefore conclude as a second point, that a consultancy needs to have a good idea of appropriate ecosystems that can match their customer's requirements.

http://skynet.im
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/02/skynet/

The final point was inspired when I saw the SkyNet Team building a Pebble-Watch-Replica from scratch, a light bulb that could be controlled by voice and talking about voice controlled drones. I have to wager that hardware skills are going to be just as important as software skills - at least in the Innovation and Proof of Concept stage. The final piece of the puzzle for a consultancy then is to bring some level of hardware skills to the table.

In summary, in my view you should not be looking for a consultancy who can purely write Google Glass 'Apps'. Instead you should be looking for a consultancy who can offer you the following: tools for the life cycle management of software on wearable devices; solution architecture around supporting ecosystems for wearable device integration; and even the ability to design custom hardware for innovation projects.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

The Internet of Things Comes to the Smartphone

Infrared Sensors for iPhones
For sometime now I have been pondering how the use of additional sensors on smartphones might be useful.  Today many smartphones contain the following sensors:
  • Proximity sensor
  • Motion sensor/accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Moisture sensor
  • Gyroscopic sensor
  • Magnetometer
Those listed sensors are incredibly valuable, but there are more coming.  I read today about 3D photo sensors that Google is testing for smartphones, and other sensors like barometric sensors to help determine what floor of a building you are on, and biometric sensors to recognize finger prints for security purposes.  The 3D sensor would enable intelligent applications to understand the shape and layout of a room, the barometric sensor would help identify the floor of a building and the magnetometer to help an application to understand the direction the room is facing.  All of these sensors could contribute to interesting indoor retailing apps. They convert the physical into digital.  They represent the tip of the spear for digital transformation.  Once that is complete, software algorithms can be programmed and intelligence added to support revolutionary new business processes.

Evolution in Sensor Sizes
At the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona last week I discovered more interesting sensors.  I saw a sensor, the size of a pin head, for monitoring and reporting humidity and temperature (Sensirion). It connected to smartphones via bluetooth.  My favorite though, was the Thermal Imager sensor from Flir that connects to an iPhone via a sled (with extra batteries).  It let's you, among other things, point at a person walking by to see their body temperature (a must for determining the living from the dead and the human from an android), plus you can see warm blooded animals and warm objects light up your iPhone screen even in complete darkness.

Imagine you hear a loud noise in your backyard at night.  Reach for your thermal imager enabled iPhone and scan your backyard.  The mountain lion hiding behind your shrubbery is instantly exposed.  This can be useful in my neighborhood (see http://magicvalley.com/news/local/mountain-lion-killed-in-idaho-neighborhood/article_7b8e91ce-902a-11e3-a505-001a4bcf887a.html).  You can also scan your hardwood floor to see if a giraffe or anyone has walked across it in the past few minutes.

These sensors are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are hundreds of sensors that are being miniaturized today (see the Evolution in Sensor Size photo above I took at MWC14).  They capture information about your physical world and can wirelessly transmit this information to your smartphone or enterprise server.  How fun!

The Internet of Things is already massively increasing the amount of data flowing into servers from the physical world.  Our big task in 2014 is imagining all the ways this data can be used to make our world a better place.

*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Mobile Expert Interview: SAP's Adam Stein on Enterprise Mobility Strategies

Last week I had the opportunity to interview SAP's Adam Stein at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  In this interview we discuss mobile strategies, mobile platforms, cloud mobility, app development, HTML5, enterprise mobility and what SAP has to offer.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWs6nBTnCdI&feature=share&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw


*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Mobile Expert Interview: SAP's Martin Heisig at MWC14

Last week I met with and interviewed SAP's Senior VP of Infrastructure Services, Martin Heisig at the Mobile World Congress 2014. Martin manages how SAP runs SAP products and is responsible for SAP's internal mobile strategies.  In this interview I ask him to share advice on how to support over 70,000 mobile devices.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz_VIzjUuiM&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw&feature=share



*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Mobile Expert Interview: SAP's Dinesh Sharma at MWC14

All this week we will continue to publish interviews that I recorded from the Mobile World Congress 2014.  In this interview SAP's Dinesh Sharma, VP, Product Marketing, Internet of Things shares the latest developments and work that SAP is doing around M2M/Internet of Things.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDl7j-pRfaY&feature=share&list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw



*************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.