Augmented And Virtual Reality Are Ready For Prime Time

JP Gownder

I've just released a major new report on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented And Virtual Reality Should Be Part Of The Innovator's Toolkit. My research finds that it's time to give AR and VR their due consideration when solving business problems involving either workers or for customer interactions.

AR and VR technologies aren't new. Virtual reality first experienced a boom of interest in the early 1990s, spurred by the 1991 book Virtual Reality by Howard Rheingold. In 1995, Angelina Jolie starred in the movie Hackers, which introduced mass audiences to head-mounted VR display technology. But the early promise of the technology fell apart due to underperforming graphics, attention-jarring lag times, outlandish hardware requirements, and the lack of an application ecosystem. No VR market emerged (outside of niche categories like military usage) until Facebook acquired the Kickstarter startup Oculus for $2 billion in March, 2014.

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Global Tablet Forecast: Consumer Is Volatile But Business Tablets Are Resilient

JP Gownder

Tablets, once the darling of the consumer electronics industry, have hit hard times -- if you measure by shipments and sales. While the installed user base continues to grow -- Forrester forecasts that 580 million people will be using tablets globally by the end of 2015 -- shipment numbers have been disappointing, even looking at Apple's iPad. In Q2, 2015, Apple sold 12.62 million iPads, a whopping 23% drop compared with Q2, 2014 when the company sold 16.35 million. Clearly, all is not well in tablet-land.

We lay out the reasons for this generalized market volatility in our major new forecast report, Global Tablet Forecast 2015 to 2018: Despite Market Volatility, Tablets Are Big In Business. Some important factors? A lack of replacement behavior, whereby many consumers hold on to older tablet models, has persisted due to a lack of genuine new innovations (and the fact that, say, an iPad 3 still works well). We present other factors in the full report.

But there's a bright spot in the tablet industry -- the company-purchased segment. Our forecast shows that enterprise tablets are growing as a percentage of the market, from 6% in 2010 to 20% by 2018. These tablets can be Apple iPads, Windows-based tablets, or Android devices, and they are generally purchased and managed by the company on behalf of employees, who might receive them individually or, in other use cases, share the devices.

The enterprise segment is being driven by a variety of factors.

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IBM Pushes Chip Technology with Stunning 7 nm Chip Demonstration

Richard Fichera

In the world of CMOS semiconductor process, the fundamental heartbeat that drives the continuing evolution of all the devices and computers we use and governs at a fundamantal level hte services we can layer on top of them is the continual shrinkage of the transistors we build upon, and we are used to the regular cadence of miniaturization, generally led by Intel, as we progress from one generation to the next. 32nm logic is so old-fashioned, 22nm parts are in volume production across the entire CPU spectrum, 14 nm parts have started to appear, and the rumor mill is active with reports of initial shipments of 10 nm parts in mid-2016. But there is a collective nervousness about the transition to 7 nm, the next step in the industry process roadmap, with industry leader Intel commenting at the recent 2015 International Solid State Circuit conference that it may have to move away from conventional silicon materials for the transition to 7 nm parts, and that there were many obstacles to mass production beyond the 10 nm threshold.

But there are other players in the game, and some of them are anxious to demonstrate that Intel may not have the commanding lead that many observers assume they have. In a surprise move that hints at the future of some of its own products and that will certainly galvanize both partners and competitors, IBM, discounted by many as a spent force in the semiconductor world with its recent divestiture of its manufacturing business, has just made a real jaw-dropper of an announcement – the existence of working 7nm semiconductors.

What was announced?

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The Quantified Workforce Drives Improved Productivity And Safety

JP Gownder

You've probably heard about the Quantified Self (QS), a movement that aims to capture, analyze, and act upon data from the human body in the interest of better health, fitter athletes, and sharper minds. Today, QS is giving way to QW -- Quantified Workforce. A variety of technologies -- devices, software, services -- can quantify the health, fitness, mental acuity, timeliness, and collaboration of workers. Many of these services are ready for prime time, but present some challenges in implementing. These challenges aren't primarily technological; they're related to privacy, workers' rights, and human resources policies. Done right, though, quantifying the workforce can drive both top- and bottom- line growth in your company's business.

I've analyzed this trend in a new report, Smart Body, Smarter Workforce. Here are just a couple of examples of how quantifying the workforce can drive better business outcomes:

  • Lower the company's insurance rates. In January, 2014, Forrester predicted that insurance companies would offer lower rates to individuals who donned wearables -- and we are now seeing that response. In April, 2015, John Hancock announced an opportunity for buyers of its term and life insurance policies to earn up to 15% discount on their insurance rates by wearing a Fitbit, sharing the data with the company, and meeting certain activity levels.  
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Red Hat Summit – Can you say OpenStack and Containers?

Richard Fichera

In a world where OS and low-level platform software is considered unfashionable, it was refreshing to see the Linux glitterati and cognoscenti descended on Boston for the last three days, 5000 strong and genuinely passionate about Linux. I spent a day there mingling with the crowds in the eshibit halls, attending some sessions and meeting with Red Hat management. Overall, the breadth of Red Hat’s offerings are overwhelming and way too much to comprehend ina single day or a handful of days, but I focused my attention on two big issues for the emerging software-defined data center – containers and the inexorable march of OpenStack.

Containers are all the rage, and Red Hat is firmly behind them, with its currently shipping RHEL Atomic release optimized to support them. The news at the Summit was the release of RHEL Atomic Enterprise, which extends the ability to execute and manage containers over a cluster as opposed to a single system. In conjunction with a tool stack such as Docker and Kubernates, this paves the way for very powerful distributed deployments that take advantage of the failure isolation and performance potential of clusters in the enterprise. While all the IP in RHEL Atomic, Docker and Kubernates are available to the community and competitors, it appears that RH has stolen at least a temporary early lead in bolstering the usability of this increasingly central virtualization abstraction for the next generation data center.

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Is ITIL Fit For Purpose For DevOps?

Amy DeMartine

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about ITIL and whether or not it is fit for purpose for DevOps.  The logic I keep hearing goes like this - you shouldn't confuse the ITIL approach with the implementation; the ITIL approach is building blocks; these building blocks are easily applied to DevOps.  I’m not convinced.  First, ITIL is fundamentally time bound.  For example, ITIL v1 was primarily around applying mainframe disciplines into the emerging world of Client/Server, ITIL v2 was more about ensuring quality of output across complex operations environments and ITIL v3 was more about consolidating established operations principles and shifting the focus to “how does IT contribute to business value?”  Isn’t it a stretch to make best practices for previous waves of technology apply to DevOps whereby infrastructure and operations professionals are not silo’d but play an active part in delivering customer products and services along with application developers?  Second, ITIL zealots are convinced that these ITIL “best practices” are some kind of complex baking recipe and if all steps are not followed to the letter, the end result will be a failure.  This means that for many, the approach and the implementation of ITIL is tied.  This leads me to my question:  Is ITIL fit for purpose for DevOps?  To return to the analogy of building blocks, let’s use the ultimate of building blocks – Legos.  When I think about ITIL and service management, what most enterprises have implemented, looks like this:

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Houston We Have A Problem . . . In The Networking Community

Andre Kindness

I noticed an interesting phenomenon at Interop which sparked my theory on new network technologies. New network technology maturity and its adoption correlate directly to the five stages of loss: 1) denial; 2) anger; 3) bargaining; 4) depression; and 5) acceptance. For example, Interop break-out sessions on cloud and bring your own device (BYOD) now mostly seemed to be mainstream initiatives compared to other technologies, such as software defined network or network functions virtualized. In the mainstream initiative sessions, an aura of acceptance and even tinges of optimism reverberated throughout the room. Presenters spoke passionately and positively about their topics and reinforced the importance of: 

  • Teamwork. Courtney Kissler, Vice President of E-Commerce & Store Technologies at Nordstrom, shared with the audience that the new world is made up of a team of business product managers and mobile app and networking professionals, to name just a few groups working together under the initiative. There was the mentality that everyone is accountable and must work together as a team, helping each other to roll out a great application that will benefit the business.
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What is DevOps?

Amy DeMartine

Everywhere I turn, I hear about how some product or service is geared towards DevOps.  It feels like the “cloud washing” we all just went through.  “Cloud washing” continues to cause problems as even today it remains difficult to understand how products and services really affect our ability to create and manage clouds and applications in the cloud.  This “DevOps washing” is causing the same problems and it becomes harder and harder to understand what DevOps really is and how it applies.  I spent a morning breakfast presentation just talking about the definition of DevOps with a group of technology management folks for over an hour! 

 

I’ve spent the past year being the Ops part of the Forrester DevOps story.  We have been hard at work and released a playbook called Modern Service Delivery (to match the Modern Application Delivery playbook coming from my Dev partner Kurt Bittner) and we are approaching the end of creating the foundation of the DevOps story from planning to optimization.  We define DevOps as:

 

“DevOps is a set of practices and cultural changes — supported by the right tools — that creates an automated software delivery pipeline, enabling organizations to win, serve, and retain customers.”

 

If you are serious about DevOps, you can cut through the noise of the “DevOps washing” and start with several practical tips to get you moving in the right direction:

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Thoughts on Huawei 2015 – The Juggernaut Continues to Build

Richard Fichera

In late April I once again attended Huawei’s annual analyst meeting in Shenzen, China. As with my last trip to this event, I approached it with a mix of dread and curiosity – dread because it is a long tiring trip and doing business in China if you are dependent on Google services is at best a delicate juggling act, and curiosity because Huawei is one of the most interesting and poorly understood of the large technology companies in the world, especially here in North America.

I came away with reinforcement of my previous impressions that Huawei is an unapologetically Chinese company. Not a global company that happens to be Chinese, as Lenovo presents itself, but a Chinese company that is intent upon and is making progress toward becoming a major global competitor in multiple arenas where it is not dominant now while continuing to maximize its success in its strong domestic market. A year later, all the programs that were in motion at the end of 2014 are still in operation, and Y/Y results indicate that the overall momentum in areas where Huawei is building its franchise, particularly mobile and enterprise IT, are, If anything, doing even better than promised.

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Is Your Company A Place Where Employees Grow And Thrive, Or Wither And Leave?

David Johnson

As Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) proves, the key determiner of a company's success is customer satisfaction. We can also prove that there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer perception and opinion, which is more pronounced with those employees who have a greater impact on your customers. To improve customer satisfaction, these employees have to feel that they can succeed. If they can’t succeed, they will burn out, and burned out employees aren’t going to help your company win, serve and retain customers. Forrester believes that you as an I&O leader can play the decisive role in customer satisfaction, if you choose to.

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