In an article I wrote last year titled “Why Every Company Needs to be More Like IBM and Less Like Apple”, I compared the cultures of both companies and how over the past 25 years they had flipped: “Today’s Big Blue is the antithesis of Big Brother. It’s ‘Big Open’. A transparent, nimble, collaborative organization known more for listening and engaging customers than for dictating to them. While ironically, some say Apple now resembles Big Brother given their propensity for tight controls.”
That article and the number of follow on pieces written to support and rebuke my argument stirred up a heated debate that continues to this day. So how have the two companies fared in the past year?
IBM’s stock price is up 7% and Apple’s is up about 2.5% year over year. Not a significant difference, but as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, Apple looks to be losing momentum while IBM’s is building.
The IPSO Alliance is announcing the Internet of Things 2013 Innovation Contest that invites people and companies from around the world to submit new Internet Protocol enabled Smart Objects that demonstrate the power of the Internet of Things. The goal of this contest is to bring forth exciting new concepts and devices that use the Internet Protocol in interconnecting embedded sensor and control solutions in areas of home control, smart building, healthcare, lighting control, smart energy, or consumer entertainment.
The entries will be judged by a panel of experts and the top designs will be brought to and demonstrated at Sensors Expo June 4-6 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. The finalists will receive the opportunity to meet with the judges and present their device to the attendees of the show. The winning submission will receive a $10,000 prize.
Details and rules of the contest will be published on the IPSO Alliance website at the beginning of February.
As well as making the grid more reliable and efficient, the technology could deliver high-speed Internet, TV, and telephony.
hina has begun testing smart-grid technology that could eventually be deployed nationwide to make the delivery of electricity more reliable and efficient. It might also serve as a way to deliver high-speed Internet, TV, and telephony to the farthest reaches of the country.
The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is running the smart-grid project using passive optical networking (PON) technology—a high-bandwidth data wiring that can be run inside electric power cables without interference. Around 86,000 premises in China have so far been connected to the grid; if the project goes nationwide, it would cost around $2 billion to deploy.
Smart grids use computer networking to let utilities monitor everything from electricity use in customers’ homes to the performance of generators at power stations in real time. The concept has gained much attention in the United States but has been slow to catch on. This is partly because regional utilities have different ideas about how to best connect the last mile of the smart grid to users’ homes, says Rajit Gadh, a professor in UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is quickly becoming mainstream and we’re are rubbing our hands with glee at the prospect. But what’s so exciting about a technology, which some say has the potential to be as important as the Internet?
1. Well, for a start, it can print cars! The makers of the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, got German 3D printing company, Voxeljet, to knock up three 1:3 scale models of 007′s precious Aston Martin DB5 for (gulp) destruction during filming. Never mind, though—one survived, and was later sold by Christie’s for almost £100,000.
2. Smaller but equally as suave, the world’s very first Nokia Lumia 820 shell was printed by 3D printing wizards, Makerbot just last week. The specs had been available for less than a day when the guys did what they do best, 3D magic.
The technology promises a 1,000-fold increase in storage density over hard disks, which are approaching a million megabytes of data per square inch.
Previous schemes for molecular memory have relied on physical systems cooled to near absolute zero. The new molecular-memory scheme works at around the freezing point of water — which in physics parlance counts as “room temperature.”
Moreover, where previous schemes required sandwiching the storage molecules between two ferromagnetic electrodes, the new scheme would require only one ferromagnetic electrode. That could greatly simplify manufacture, as could the shape of the storage molecules themselves: because they consist of flat sheets of carbon atoms attached to zinc atoms, they can be deposited in very thin layers with very precise arrangements.
As a child I noticed how small businesses relied on personal relationships and trust to thrive. The local butcher, banker, and physician knew instinctively that what they needed to do to be successful: win the respect of their local community.
Today, as business has globalized, the need for close connections between merchant and customer is even more important.
The new main street is rapidly transforming. Businesses hoping to not just survive the change, but thrive, will aggressively turn to a strategy that exploits mobile and social technologies – solutions that enable them to interact with customers both directly and indirectly via smart phones and tablets. In this space of social and mobile, small and medium businesses (SMBs) can create new ways to succeed.
And the time is now. Consumers are looking to online influencers – trusted digital friends, bloggers, so-called experts, and simply other consumers – for guidance on what to buy and where to go. How we communicate with them and what we learn from them is critical. In many respects, word of mouth has become the new currency in the highly-connected world of social media.
Common Crawl supplies a database of over five billion Web pages in the hope that it will inspire new research or online services.
Google famously started out as little more than a more efficient algorithm for ranking Web pages. But the company also built its success on crawling the Web—using software that visits every page in order to build up a vast index of online content.
A nonprofit called Common Crawl is now using its own Web crawler and making a giant copy of the Web that it makes accessible to anyone. The organization offers up over five billion Web pages, available for free so that researchers and entrepreneurs can try things otherwise possible only for those with access to resources on the scale of Google’s.
“While the predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, more so than wind, the ability to effectively harness energy from the tides has proved elusive. In order to develop effective tidal current technology, a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A describes the status of leading research and projects in the field to rapidly advance tidal energy technology.”—New research to support the huge potential of tidal power
For so many in the techno-elite, even those who don’t entirely subscribe to the unlimited optimism of the Singularity, the notion of perpetual progress and economic growth is somehow taken for granted. As a former classicist turned technologist, I’ve always lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, the failure of its intellectual culture, and the stasis that gripped the Western world for the better part of a thousand years. What I fear most is that we will lack the will and the foresight to face the world’s problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance.
Yes, we may find technological solutions that propel us into a new golden age of robots, collective intelligence, and an economy built around “the creative class.” But it’s at least as probable that as we fail to find those solutions quickly enough, the world falls into apathy, disbelief in science and progress, and after a melancholy decline, a new dark age.
Civilizations do fail. We have never yet seen one that hasn’t. The difference is that the torch of progress has in the past always passed to another region of the world. But we’ve now, for the first time, got a single global civilization. If it fails, we all fail together.
Yes, we’ve become entangled, and our fate will be shared. To avoid the endarkment will require a great deal of hard work, and the hardest part might be the necessary first step: realizing that we are at a pivotal moment, and that just about everything must change.
For several years now I’ve been convinced that the development of a global digital money ecosystem is among the most exciting and important societal challenges in the coming decades. It’s right up there, in my opinion, with other technology-based transformational innovations, including electricity, the telephone, radio and TV, and the Internet and World Wide Web.
Where are we in digital payments? Webster believes that 2012 will be viewed in the payments history books as a very good year. “Payments innovation fueled by the IP-enablement of devices used by consumers and merchants to interact drove payments innovation into high gear. Players large and small flooded the market with new applications, new business models, and new approaches to transforming the shopping experience.”
It can be hard to get a big, slow company to change its ways. It’s the efforts of courageous intrapreneurs that can change their trajectory. The key is to make your company a place where intrapreneurs can thrive.
Multinational corporations aren’t always known for their agility. Organizational change, product evolution, or rebranding—just some of the many ways in which a business has the potential to flex and move—can be laborious undertakings for companies with millions of stakeholders spread far and wide around the world.
But lately, leading companies are taking a page from the startup book and are beginning to leverage entrepreneurial approaches to drive business value. Dubbed “intrapreneurship” by early adopters, this trend highlights the value of people—the “intrapreneurs”—working from within a company who are accelerating change while continuing to drive business benefits. Economic constraints are forcing even large, established companies to act in a manner akin to the startup phase of much younger organizations; they’re leveraging the creativity and passion of their people to become more dynamic, more innovative, and more agile.
A major challenge for national health information systems in developing countries is their scalability and sustainability at the lowest levels where primary health care is delivered. This paper contributes to the discourse on how national health information systems can scale to the lower levels and how mobile technology is supporting the collection, handling and dissemination of data. But can mHealth go beyond the ‘hype’ and visions it has come to be associated with? Using an action research methodology in a long-term action research project, the usability and then scalability of mobile solutions for large scale national health information systems are studied. In this paper, initial successes and challenges with using m-Health for national public health information systems is reported and discussed.
CES, like Las Vegas where it’s held, has always been about big. Big announcements like the DVD, Blu-Ray, the Xbox, the VCR – that’s the magnitude of stuff that’s been announced at CES events of years gone by. At the 2013 CES lat week, there were fewer standouts – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big year for change. In fact, the 2013 show was a synergistic effort that launched a new way of looking at technology as the “Internet of things.”
The Internet of things is the term used to mean any device that can connect to the Internet and share and receive information. How does that play out?
The Connected Car: The Google car powered by Velodyne has driven itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas. That’s right: A driverless car that has completed 300,000 autonomous-driving miles accident free. Toyota and Audi also have driverless cars. GPS maker Garmin showcased its K2 platform that makes the car dashboard digital, using voice control, infrared buttons and smartphone integration to provide navigation, vehicle diagnostics, office features, communications and entertainment.
The Smarter Home: The Internet also enabled a new set of products to do everything from keep an eye on your home (Dropcam) while you’re not there, keep your home bless-fully keyless by using your phone to activate your lock (SimpliciKey), Whirlpool showed an innovative Fireplace concept that combines a multifunctional cooking table and an air treatment/mood lighting hood. The idea is to create your own atmosphere for your own high tech family hearth. And their refrigerator will serenade you with your fav streaming Internet playlist while you search for snacks.
The Internet of the Fittest: You might remember the days when a PC conjured images of chubby gamers with joysticks in hand, but at this CES, it was a survival of the fittest gadgets. BodyMedia announced its CORE 2 an attractive arm bracelet body monitor, Runtastic built a set of apps that counts your pushups and sit ups using your phones accelerometer, MyBasis combines more sensors than most in a lovely wristband but it’s also beefed up the motivational aspects and encouragement that exercisers need. And FitBit, one of the first personal body monitors announced the Flex, a bracelet that you never need to take off (or lose).
Roger Kay of Forbes recently opined that the world is becoming more and more user-centric. He explains, “User-centric computing is a theme we can expect to hear articulated in many ways next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The simple view of the shift from device-centric to user-centric computing goes like this: when all we had was one device — a PC, first to do our work and later to connect to the Internet — we adapted to the device. We learned how to wrestle it into more or less obeying our will. We became skilled at the arcane keystrokes of DOS commands and Lotus 1-2-3 in order to do productive work. We went to the machine.”
He goes on, “Now, the machine is starting to come to us. As soon as you have more than one device in your life, they must necessarily point to you. Cloud services increasingly coordinate devices for us so that our ‘state’ — the exact condition of all our stuff at any one moment — migrates seamlessly from one device to another other. A good example would be reading an eBook. If you stop reading on a certain page on your laptop, you should be able to open your eReader and be on the same page. Ditto for your phone. This idea that ‘state’ follows you around puts you at the center of your own universe. The devices are all around you.”