3 times news: Website – Hosting – WordPress

cropped-j0390061.jpgLast couple of days I moved my website from TypePad to a self hosted WordPress site. I have chosen “GeneratePress” as my theme and have purchased their Premier Plugin pack to do some cool stuff in the design.

I am still experimenting so you can expect some changes, none of which I can guarantee to be permanent. It is great to have the ability to experiment and see how things work out.

I must say it feels good to be much more in control. TypePad became a bit frustrating.

Anyway, let me know if you have comments.

A new business model in 3 easy steps

If you like curly fries you are probably intelligent (1).

This insight comes from the University of Cambridge. The researchers analysed the data from Facebook to show that ‘surprisingly accurate estimates of Facebook users’ race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views can be inferred from the analysis of only their Facebook Likes’.

The possibility to collect large amounts of data from everyday activities by people, factory processes, trains, cars, weather and just about anything else that can be measured, monitored or otherwise observed is a topic that has been discussed in our blogs many times.

Sometimes indicated as ‘The Internet of Things’ or, with a different view ‘Big Data’ or ‘Total Data’, the collection and analysis of data has been a topic for technology observations and a source of concern and a initiator for new technology opportunities.

This blog is not about the concerns, nor is it about the new technologies. Instead it is about a view introduced by a new white paper by the Atos Scientific Community called “The Economy of Internet Applications”; a paper that gives us a different, more economic, view on these new opportunities.

Let’s take a look at a car manufacturer. The car he (or she) builds will contain many sensors and the data from those sensors will support the manufacturer to enable better repairs for that one car, it can provide data from many cars for an analysis to build a better car in the future and it can show information to the user of the car (speed, mileage, gas). The driver generates the data (if a car is not driven, there is no data) and both the driver and the car manufacturer profit from the result.

Now pay attention, because something important is happening: When the car manufacturer provides the data of the driver and the car combined to an insurance company, a new business model is created.

The user still puts in the data by using the car, the car manufacturer sensors in the car still collects the data, but the insurance company gets the possibility to do a better risk analysis on the driver’s behaviour and the cars safety record.

This would allow the insurance company to give the driver a better deal on his insurance, or sponsor some safety equipment in the car so there is less risk for big insurance claims in health or property damage.

It would allow the car manufacturer to create more value from data they already have collected and it would give the driver additional benefits in lower insurance payments or improved safeties.

What just happened is that we created a multi-sided market and it is happening everywhere.

“If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product”

The white paper explains it in more detail but the bottom line is that due to new capabilities in technology, additional data can easily be collected.

This data can be of value for different companies participating in such a data collection and the associated analytics platform.

Based on the economic theory of multisided markets, the different participants can influence each other in a positive way, especially cross sector (the so called network effect).

So there you have it, the simple recipe for a new business model:

  1. Find a place where data is generated. This could be in any business or consumer oriented environment. Understand who is generating the data and why.
  2. Research how: a. that data or the information in that data, can give your business a benefit and b. how data that you own or generate yourself, can enrich the data from the other parties.
  3. Negotiate the usage of the data by yourself or the provisioning of your data to the other parties.

In the end this is about creating multiple win scenarios that are based on bringing multiple data sources together. The manufacturer wins because it improves his product, the service provider wins because it can improve the service and the consumer wins because he is receiving both a better product and a more tailored service.

Some have said that Big Data resembles the gold rush (2) many years ago. Everybody is doing it and it seems very simple; just dig in and find the gold – it was even called ‘data-mining’.

In reality, with data nowadays, it is even better, if you create or participate in the right multi-sided market, that data, and thus the value, will be created for you. 

(1) http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/digital-records-could-expose-intimate-details-and-personality-traits-of-millions

(2) http://www.forbes.com/sites/bradpeters/2012/06/21/the-big-data-gold-rush/

This blog post was previously published at http://blog.atos.net/blog/2013/03/18/watch-this-space-a-new-business-model-in-3-easy-steps/

Two earlier blogs and now this: Microsoft is serious about your home

The Wall street Journal reports that Microsoft quietly bought id8 Group R2 Studios to boost its Xbox business.

I already wrote about Domotica before and I mentioned Microsofts work in this area already in my blog about the HomeMaestro project.

If they pull this off I would love it. Beats DLNA imho (which is crap really…unless somebody can explain to me how to get it working properly) and the Apple proprietary stuff (full disclosure: I bought a Sonos P3 recently).

Much more information can be found at CNet.


The Ultimate Question of life, the Universe, and Everything

[This blog post is a repost of http://blog.atos.net/sc/2012/01/21/ultimate-question-of-life-universe-and-everything/ ]

If you are thinking about the number 42 after reading the title of this blog entry, I compliment you about your knowledge of classic science fiction literature – for you there is no reason to read on as you already know everything.

The vision in Journey 2014: Challenges and BuildingblocksFor all others, please keep reading because I am about to give you access to a better answer. In late 2009 a group of smart people in Atos sat together and defined 10 challenges for our IT industry that will play an important role in the coming 5 years. Each of these challenges were thoroughly discussed and examined. The reason we did this was to support Atos in its changing strategy to become a more global organization with a clear view on the future . Since then the results have also been shared with customers and in 2011 the result was bundled in the book “Journey 2014” (it is available as a download on the Atos website).

There is no particular order in the priority of the challenges that was set, so I will present them in alphabetical order and quote from the book to give you a preview of the conclusions – after that I will give you a view on how this all comes together;  

1. Alternative Delivery Models

“Organizations should make rapid progress on realizing the benefits of cloud services…” “Cloud computing is such a broad and diverse phenomenon that it is easy to become confused about its many forms and the way organizations can benefit…”

2. Business Process Management

“…Within 3 to 5 years, Business Process Management will become the dominant process change tool used by business stakeholders, working at two levels: first on Business Process within an organization (Orchestration) but also considering End to End processes involving interaction among different players (partners, customers and suppliers) and their systems (Choreography).…”

“A close eye has to be kept on the BPMN 2.0 evolution which may address BPEL and BPMN 1.0 short comings…” “An increasing number of BPM vendors are starting to offer BPM software-as-a-service (BPMSaaS). BPM services represent the highest level in the Cloud services. BPMaaS provides the complete end to end business process management needed for the creation and follow-on management of unique business processes.”

3. Context Aware Computing

“The Hyper Inter-Connected world faces an even greater challenge (…) to make sense of the literally trillions of data sources that could influence any given situation. Coupling this with the maturing of the smart phone (…) it paves the way for a new generation of intelligent applications that adapt to the user’s context on time to enrich the delivered experience…”

“…services enabled by context aware computing will anticipate and react to the needs of user, providing relevant, useful information to be able to make better informed decisions. These services will supersede the existing (…) applications and revolutionize how providers interact with consumers, organizations with employees, governments with employees and people with their social networks.”

4. Collaboration

“It is time for companies to catch up and stop ignoring modern collaboration methods that have proved to be very effective in the consumer world. The same way that social networks connect people with common interests, organizations have to take advantage of these solutions to connect people for a given purpose. It is not only a matter of cost saving it is also about improving the Decision Process, empowering employees and reaching consistent and supported consensus.”

“Information Management remains a key priority for enterprises to compete in local and global markets and collaboration is expected to generate even more strategic information which will need to be managed."

5. Control and Command

“Several strategies are being devised to synthesize a large system into a not-too-complex model, such as filtering events based on relevance, or aggregating data at different hierarchical level. Dealing with events coming out too fast is a stressful situation where an operator is more likely to make a mistake. Providing him with the appropriate information, at the right time and the right level of detail is a requirement to have him make an informed decision in time.”

“As the next generation of connected devices has started coalescing into an Internet of Things, control-command techniques will be required to bridge gaps and monitor the massive amount of information these will generate.”

6. Decision Support

“Decision Support has to deal with huge amounts of information, often unstructured, that change dynamically, and whose relevance and timeliness depend on the problem to be solved.” “By combining Business Intelligence capability for analytical insights and measures with collaboration tools and social software, they allow decision on no
n-structured problems to be made in a collective way.”

7. Electronic Entertainment and Gaming

“Media consumers tend to become actors while consuming media, which has an important impact on the way media is consumed and edited..” “The trends and technologies developed for the electronic entertainment and gaming market tend to gain other markets, benefitting from the mass market effect to become affordable in the industrial or business world.”

8. Green IT

“The know-how obtained in these practical experiences, if appropriately transferred, would enable IT departments and IT companies to accelerate their capability to serve clients in designing, engineering and operating IT for Green services” “There is a need for Business Transformation capabilities to manage the necessary behavioral change to leverage benefits from Green for IT and IT for Green.”

9. Social Networking

“Effectively using social platforms will be a key objective for companies coping with changing customer and employee relations…” “Creating an reward program to an agile, social, engagement that boosts user interaction is not so much a technical as a philosophical or political problem, going from authority to collaboration, from obscurity to transparency, from direct marketing to community management.”

10. Working Environment

“For the foreseeable future, offshoring will remain an effective strategy for reducing cost of service delivery and hence attracting and retaining talent is an issue that equally applies to offshore locations. Organizations must extend the working environment vision to apply to offshore locations.”

“Organizations will have to go beyond traditional financial incentives as the majority of employees look beyond money to find a meaning for their lives. With work life encroaching on home life, benefits from employers must reflect personal needs too.”

Bringing it all together When we look at the various challenges, and BTW there is much more info in the book, there is a need to understand how we can connect the dots – what is the overall idea or even vision that drives our behavior to these challenges. While we were discussing all of the different components it became very clear that 2 things are at the heart of our preferred way of interacting with the challenges. Handling the results should be simple and allow for a level of control.

This statement of “Simplicity with Control” became a mantra for further investigation and has driven many proof of concepts since.  

The second point of clarity came when we made the decision to put the user at the heart of our set of challenges (and the underlying building blocks). Through collaboration and social networking, the user wants to reach its objectives. If we look at the challenges in this way we conclude that they are not about solving technology questions, but about addressing the user’s needs.  

By combining simplicity, control and the needs of the user we have defined the starting point and the context for answering the question that is in the title of this blog. The philosophical statement is that the answer lies within ourselves; and to be honest, I prefer it that way. 

The Atos Journey 2014
whitepaper can be downloaded