Mobile Edge Computing Will Be Critical For Internet-Of-Things And Distributed Computing

Dan Bieler

Computing at the edge of the mobile network will frame your IoT-enabled customer experiences in the age of the customer. As products and services based on the internet of things (IoT) continue to thrive, so does the reliance on the underlying network infrastructures to drive business success. Most IoT assets will be connected via mobile infrastructure, and cloud services are central to many IoT initiatives to deliver real-time and context-based services.

However, data transmission costs and the latency limitations of mobile connectivity pose challenges to many of these IoT installations that rely on cloud computing. Mobile edge computing (MEC) is an important technology that enables businesses to deliver real-time and context-based mobile moments to users of IoT solutions, while managing the cost base for mobile infrastructure.

  • Cloud and IoT solutions are increasingly intertwined and improve IoT experiences. IoT solutions gain functionality through cloud services, which in turn open access to third-party expertise and up-to-date information.
  • Mobile connectivity can create challenges for cloud-enabled IoT environments. Latency affects user experiences, so poor mobile connectivity can limit cloud computing deployments in the IoT context.
  • MEC provides real-time network and context information, including location. MEC gives application developers and business leaders access to cloud computing capabilities and a cloud service environment that’s closer to their actual users.
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Established Chinese cloud providers hope to succeed in Europe's public cloud market

Paul Miller

When we think about the public cloud, the list of credible providers can sometimes seem rather short.

(The Great Wall of China. Source: Paul Miller)

In North America, Europe, and elsewhere, the same few names tend to dominate. But not in China. There, big local brands continue to command impressive market share. And now they're looking to expand into new territories, including Europe.

Huawei hardware and Huawei's distribution of the OpenStack open source cloud platform power T-Systems' Open Telekom Cloud. This was launched, with some fanfare, at CeBIT in Hannover. 

Alibaba Cloud, which leads the Chinese public cloud market, is also coming to Europe this year.

In my latest report, I take a look at what both Alibaba and Huawei bring to Europe's public cloud market, and ask whether they can repeat their domestic success in this market.

TL;DR - it would be unwise to discount either of them.

Mobilize The Internet Of Things

Dan Bieler

Businesses can obtain major benefits — including better customer experiences and operational excellence — from the internet of things (IoT) by extracting insights from connected objects and delivering feature-rich connected products.

The mobile mind shift requires businesses to proactively support these IoT benefits for nonstationary connected objects that exist as part of IoT solutions. In particular, the IoT forces businesses to acquaint themselves with the implications of mobility in the IoT context for connectivity, security, compliance with privacy and other regulations, and data management for mobility. This means that:

  • Mobile technologies are central to most IoT solutions. To date, technology managers have mostly focused on enterprise mobility management (EMM) as part of their mobile activities. This narrow focus is insufficient for IoT solutions.
  • Mobile IoT is not a technology revolution but a fundamental business process transformation. Mobility requires managers not only to deploy mobile technologies but also to exploit them to support specific business process requirements.
  • Mobile technologies set the framework for IoT solutions. Mobile has distinct implications for aspects like broadband availability, data management, security, and local data compliance. Ignoring these will undermine your IoT initiatives and return on investment.

My new report, Mobilize The Internet Of Things, provides advice and insights for businesses on addressing these mobile challenges in the context of planning for and implementing IoT solutions.

EU Blocks Three's Takeover Of O2 And Leaves The UK Mobile Market In Limbo

Dan Bieler

After months of rumors, the EU finally decided to block the £10.5 billion takeover of Telefonica's O2 UK by Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison, the owner of Three UK. Brussels loves to shine as the white knight protecting UK consumers from higher prices and less choice. Yet, I believe the rollercoaster will continue.

But what does this prevented merger really mean for the UK telco market? What does it mean for business customers? And what does it mean for the telcos concerned? In my opinion:

  • UK consumers should expect the same dull mobile offers that they have been receiving for years. There are no signs that any telco in the UK market is about to radically rethink its offering along the lines of the T-Mobile US reset that John Legere kicked off several years ago after the T-Mobile/AT&T merger fell through. Rather, I expect more business-as-usual in the UK and no step-change in mobile broadband investments, and as a result, no great benefits for consumers to arise as a result of the merger blockage.
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Containers - there really is substance behind the hype

Paul Miller

Containers. One of those nasty terms, like metadata (ok - maybe you had to move in the odd circles I did for that one to resonate), cloud, or big data. To some, the solution to every problem. To others, yet another unforgivable explosion of over-exuberant hype that should be ignored at all costs. And, like so many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Containers are an important component in broader efforts to transform the way in which an enterprise builds, tests, deploys, and scales its applications. Particularly, today, its customer-facing systems of engagement. But they're not the answer to every problem, and they don't replace all your virtual machines, mainframes, and other infrastructure.

Most enterprise CIOs, today, have probably heard of containers... or Docker. And, for most of you, there will be a group or individual inside your organisation loudly singing containers' praises. There will be an equally vocal group or individual, pointing to every factoid supporting their view that the container emperor has nothing on.

My latest Brief takes a look at some of the ways containers are being used, and argues that CIOs need to pay attention - now. That's not to say you should wholeheartedly embrace containers in everything you do. But you do need to ensure you're aware of their strengths, and track the rapid evolution in the underlying technologies. Some pieces are even beginnint to be standardised, between competing companies.

And, just to see if the metadata crowd are still reading... Z39.50! 

The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs

Nigel Fenwick

By 2020, every company that exists today will have become a digital predator or digital prey. This isn't news to you if you follow my research or blog posts. In fact I've been saying that since 2014. But why is it that some companies seem to understand digital business more than others? Is their a difference in the leadership in digital predators compared to digital dinosaurs?

These are the questions I dig into in my latest research "The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs." To get at the answers, we analyzed the results from the digital business survey to tease apart companies that are already digital, those that are transforming to become more digital, and those that are remaining less digital. Examining the perspectives of business executives in each group, we reveal how the digital business DNA differes between predators, transformers and dinosaurs.

Executives At Digital Predators Are Really, Really Customer Obsessed

While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed. Nowhere is this clearer than in the perception of how to apply digital thinking to the business:

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Digital Transformation 2016 Infographic

Nigel Fenwick

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words .... so our graphics designers and my wonderful research associate, Rachael Klehm, created this infographic to highlight a few of the data points from the Digital Transformation Playbook and the Forrester / Odgers Berndtson Digital Business research study. 

The challenge most companies still have is their CEO either doesn't understand how fast their world is about to change or simply cannot allocate sufficient investment to something that will not bear fruit (at least from an investor's perspective) for a year of two. Unfortunately, when it comes to digital transformation, a short-term share-price focus is likely to lead to failure within a few years. 

True transformation (vs bolt-on) is a fundamental strategic shift for most companies. 

On the plus side, that's no doubt one of the reasons why so many clients ask me to present to their executive teams!

Previous post: Digital's golden rule; always save your customer's time
Next post: The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers and Dinosaurs

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What To Do When A CIO Pushes Back On Your Agile BI Platform?

Boris Evelson
CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the better. CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages. A number of BI vendors that started out with a strategy of purposely avoiding the CIO found over time that they had to change their strategies - ultimately, there’s no way round the CIO. Forrester has also noticed that the more a vendor gets the reputation of “going round” the CIO, the greater the resistance is from CIOs once they do get involved. 
There is of course also the situation where the business side doesn’t want the CIO involved, sometimes for very good reason. That notwithstanding, if there’s a dependency on the CIO when it comes to sign-off, Forrester would strongly recommend encouraging the business to bring him/her to the table. 
The two key aspects to bear in mind in this context are:
  • CIOs look for transparency. Have architecture diagrams to hand out, be prepared to explain your solution in as much technical detail as required, and have answers ready regarding the enterprise IT capabilities listed below.  
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Innovation Took Center Stage at Microsoft’s Analyst Summit Asia 2016

Travis Wu

This year’s Microsoft Analyst Summit took place at the St. Regis hotel in Singapore, a prestigious place that hosted more than 90 analysts from the entire region. The Forrester team was impressed by Microsoft’s strategies in cloud, digital transformation and partnerships, and in particular, the main takeaway for us throughout the 2-day event was Microsoft’s innovation capabilities and ambition, especially in the APAC region.

  • HoloLens puts the spotlight on Mixed Reality.  Unlike Augmented Reality, which is lightweight but has limited views and functionality, or Virtual Reality, which is very powerful but comes with bulkiness and dependence on a PC, Mixed Reality blends holograms with the real world to marry agility and powerfulness. HoloLens brings this concept to life, it is light enough for users to move around safely, and it is very powerful because it is a self-contained computer that doesn’t require tethering to another PC. There is even an emulator that allows developers to develop holographic apps for HoleLens without a device. HoloLens could drastically change the way people work, live or even think, we are all very eager to see if the first wave of HoleLens products will successfully establish an ecosystem that can sustain mass market deployments and future growth.
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OpenStack Returns To Austin, Stressing Evolution Over Revolution

Paul Miller

(Austin. Source: Paul Miller)
My very first report for Forrester, last summer, explored the ways in which the open source OpenStack cloud project has grown up. Once a science project for those interested in exploring the technologies or celebrating open source, OpenStack now runs key enterprise workloads for the likes of AT&T, BMW, Best Buy, and Volkswagen. They are choosing OpenStack because it gets the job done, not because they have some affinity for it, its community, its components, or its philosophy.

Last week, OpenStack returned to the scene of the very first community Summit - Austin - for an event that drew over 7,500 attendees from around the world.

There was little to wow, there was little that was truly new, there was little that deserved a headline. But there was a lot that demonstrated the steady, difficult, important slog to improve, to harden, to simplify. OpenStack continues to grow up.

A few Forrester analysts where there, and we prepared this summary of our immediate impressions. Take a look, and let us know what you think.