Now Is The Time For CIOs To Tune Into 3D Printing

Sophia Vargas

While the basic technology behind 3D printing has been around for decades, recent hype and coverage has recast a spotlight on the industry. Over the last few years, incumbent and emerging vendors have been rapidly developing 3D printers, each more productive than the last, with an ever expanding variety of printable materials and possible use cases. 

Outside of consumer hobbyists, 3D printing will have the greatest impact on businesses that design and manufacture discrete products, introducing rapid prototyping to speed up development cycles and an alternative production method for customized finished objects.

What does this mean for CIOs and technology management departments?

As the resident technology expert, you may be called upon to evaluate the hardware and feasibility of 3D printing for your business. Beyond assessment, businesses may demand:

  • Technology support and management. If your business decides to incorporate 3D printers, as a new networked device, support could entail adapting and integrating the 3D printing ecosystem into current product lifecycle management platforms and processes, not to mention troubleshooting hardware and software issues.
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Leading Networking Companies Are Helping Improve Your Business’ Customer Experience

Andre Kindness

Ten years ago, if I had stood up in front of IT professionals and said that their company would allow employees to bring their own devices to work in lieu of corporate-owned devices, I would have been heckled out of the room, but look at where we are today. Well, I am here to say that it won’t stop at personal devices or applications. The user edge of the network (where users and mobile devices connect, not servers or storage) is slowly shifting under the control of business and is an integral part of the ecosystem that shapes a customer’s experience. Already, non-IT employees are doing traditional networking tasks like:

  • Granting wireless network access. Controlling who gets on the network had always been an IT function, until wireless came out. Assistants, business greeters, and other employees can give guests Internet access with all the wireless solutions on the market today.
  • Setting up networks. Today, manufacturing engineers design manufacturing lines and deploy automation equipment with built-in Ethernet/IP capabilities, such as motion sensors, energy monitors, and logic boards. The design and management of that part of the network falls under their domain.
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Intel Bumps up High-End Servers with New Xeon E7 V2 - A Long Awaited and Timely Leap

Richard Fichera

The long draught at the high-end

It’s been a long wait, about four years if memory serves me well, since Intel introduced the Xeon E7, a high-end server CPU targeted at the highest performance per-socket x86, from high-end two socket servers to 8-socket servers with tons of memory and lots of I/O. In the ensuing four years (an eternity in a world where annual product cycles are considered the norm), subsequent generations of lesser Xeons, most recently culminating in the latest generation 22 nm Xeon E5 V2 Ivy Bridge server CPUs, have somewhat diluted the value proposition of the original E7.

So what is the poor high-end server user with really demanding single-image workloads to do? The answer was to wait for the Xeon E7 V2, and at first glance, it appears that the wait was worth it. High-end CPUs take longer to develop than lower-end products, and in my opinion Intel made the right decision to skip the previous generation 22nm Sandy Bridge architecture and go to Ivy Bridge, it’s architectural successor in the Intel “Tick-Tock” cycle of new process, then new architecture.

What was announced?

The announcement was the formal unveiling of the Xeon E7 V2 CPU, available in multiple performance bins with anywhere from 8 to 15 cores per socket. Critical specifications include:

  • Up to 15 cores per socket
  • 24 DIMM slots, allowing up to 1.5 TB of memory with 64 GB DIMMs
  • Approximately 4X I/O bandwidth improvement
  • New RAS features, including low-level memory controller modes optimized for either high-availability or performance mode (BIOS option), enhanced error recovery and soft-error reporting
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How to Build the Perfect Smartwatch

JP Gownder

It’s time for vendors to step up and build the perfect smartwatch. It’s not really about the device at all, but the ecosystem around the device. Infrastructure & operations professionals have an opportunity here: to work with their business partners and vendors to construct next generation experiences around smartwatches.

For example, retail marketers, always on the hunt for the perfect in-store experiences, and are increasingly turning to mobile technologies to create customized interactions. By opting in to a relationship with a store, a patron can be recognized by name by a sales associate, see the images on digital displays change as she walks by them (tailored to her), receive in-store targeted promotions as she picks up particular products, and even leave the store without handing over any overt form of payment. All of these things are possible with today's technologies.

Scenarios like this one are inherently mobile, but smartphones aren't actually the best vehicle for these experiences. Smartphones can be easily stolen, for one thing, making the retail scenario challenging. And retailers don't want the eyes of patrons who walk into their stores glued to a smartphone; they want those eyes looking around the store.

Smartwatches, on the other hand, can be the perfect enabler of scenarios like this one (and like others in healthcare and other verticals), so long as they have all the necessary components. There are in fact eight strategic pillars for smartwatches:

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Wearables Helping People With Disabilities – A SXSW Talk

JP Gownder

Readers of this blog and of my syndicated reports know that I’ve spent a great deal of time lately researching and analyzing the market for wearable devices and the emerging wearables ecosystem. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be co-presenting a talk at SXSW with Jen Quinlan (Twitter: @QuirkyInsider) about a specific sub-segment of the wearables market – how wearable devices, in concert with the Internet of Things, can help people overcome various sorts of disabilities.

Jen conceived of this talk, and was kind enough to invite me to collaborate with her. And I was thrilled, particularly when I heard about the topic she had proposed. Why? I’m interested – and hope you will be too – because:

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Build Mobile Systems Of Engagement To Thrive In The Age Of The Customer

Katyayan Gupta

Organizations in Asia Pacific (AP) have become cognizant of the fact that they have entered the age of the customer — an era in which they must systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. In the past two years, most AP firms have primarily focused on using mobile apps to connect their organizations with internal employees. However, in the age of the customer, this trend will reverse. Results from Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2013 show that 44% of AP technology decision-makers will prioritize building a mobile strategy for customers or partners, while only 39% will prioritize it for employees. Firms in Australia, Indonesia, India, and China will lead the region.

In order to compete and win in the age of the customer, organizations cannot be simply “customer-centric” anymore — they must become “customer-obsessed.” To do so, firms must embrace the mobile mindshift and build mobile systems of engagement. This can be done by leveraging social, cloud, and predictive analytics to deliver context-rich mobile applications and smart products that help users decide and act immediately in their moments of need. Such systems will focus on people and their immediate needs in context rather than processes, as is the case with traditional systems of record.

Building mobile systems of engagements is even more critical for firms in AP, because:

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Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring

John Rakowski

My new report went live this week for Forrester clients - Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring. Normally I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to predictions, especially in regards to technology, because while they are interesting to read they can cause confusion and unnecessary deliberation for a buyer/strategist if they are not in context. So my aim for this report was to provide some concrete advice for I&O professionals in 2014 in regards to their technology monitoring (user experience, applications and infrastructure) strategy or approach.

So my top level advice is that during 2014, I&O has to concentrate on monitoring business technology which serves external customers. In fact this is not just a call for I&O professionals but also the rest of the business including marketing and eBusiness professionals. Why? Well just take a look at the near weekly media reports on “computer glitches” during 2013. These glitches meant lost revenue but more seriously impacted the brand image. Technology fuels business and this means that monitoring has to be a strategic business concern. So to avoid your company being the next computer glitch headline you should:

  1. Make sure that your monitoring solutions cover mobile and web fueled business services. From a mobile perspective, your monitoring solutions should provide holistic insight in regards to mobile devices and applications in terms of availability and performance down to the network/carrier level. From a web perspective, in depth web application monitoring down to the code level is a must.
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Predictions For 2014: Private Cloud Management

Lauren Nelson

Every year Forrester publishes our overall cloud computing predictions which occasionally includes one or two private cloud predictions. With current private cloud self-reported adoption at 33% and 55% prioritizing building an internal private cloud in 2014, we thought it was time to create a report that focuses just on this deployment type. This year we published a separate report that features our private cloud predictions across pricate cloud management and infrastructure. The report covers the full descriptions and what I&O professionals should do about it. I covered the management predictions, while my colleague Rich Fichera, covered the infrastructure trends. This year we predict: 

1. Enhanced Virtualization Becomes A Separate Initiative From Private Cloud. Forrester predicts that in 2014, CIOs will bless the separation of these initiatives such that the firm can both use private cloud to embrace the age of the customer and work to advance back-end systems. 

2. OpenStack Becomes A Standard. Forrester predicts that by the end of 2014, OpenStack APIs will become the fourth standard. Over the past few years, OpenStack has grown in functionality and deployments.

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Wearables Require A New Kind Of Ecosystem

JP Gownder

In the fast-moving markets of wearables and IoT, it's easy to be dazzled by new technologies. But what's more impressive to Forrester is a coherent, disruptive business model. I've written that 2014 will be the year of wearables 2.0, when select vendors develop real wearable business models. To help that journey along, I'd like to offer up a hypothesis for a new industry axiom:

In the era of wearables and the Internet of Things, tech companies must create a new kind of ecosystem  an ecosystem not of developers, hardware makers, or services companies, but of brands, healthcare providers, retailers, financial services companies, and governments.

I'm still testing this hypothesis out, and will write about it in future research. In the meantime, I'd like to hear your examples. To give you a sense of what I'm talking about, it's an ecosystem comprised of companies in:

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Google Aims For More Eyeballs With VSP Deal

JP Gownder

Google, the online search superpower, has for years sought to maximize "eyeballs" -- in search marketing, a colloquial term for ad impressions viewed online.

Lately, though, Google's been going after a new kind of eyeballs. The literal kind.

Hot off of its announcement of a future product roadmap for smart contact lenses, Google today announced a partnership with VSP -- the largest optical health insurance provider in the United States -- for Google Glass. The New York Times quoted me saying, "the key business model of the year for wearables is becoming embedded into the health care system." By injecting wearables into health care:

  • The addressable market expands. VSP serves 59 million members with vision care insurance. 
  • Costs go down. VSP will offer subsidized frames and prescription lenses tailored to Google Glass. Some VSP members save additional money on purchases with pre-tax payroll deductions for the money they spend on optical care.
  • Credibility goes up. By coordinating with opticians and opthamologists, Google Glass can be recognized as consistent with healthy optical practices.
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