Wearable Computing For Enterprises Could Be Bigger Than For Consumers

JP Gownder

Wearable computing devices (like Google Glass, Jawbone Up, Nike+ FuelBand, iHealth, and Samsung Galaxy Gear, among others) have made a big splash in the consumer market. My colleague Sarah Rotman Epps’ analysis shows that Google Glass could be the next big App Platform. Fitness wearables might be a bit overhyped, but it’s nevertheless becoming common to see people sporting Nike+ FuelBand devices everywhere you go. No less a tech industry luminary than Mary Meeker recently declared wearables the next wave of computing (see slide 49).

Exciting as the consumer wearable space is becoming, I’d like you to turn your attention for a moment to an example from the enterprise space -- specifically, the Connected Law Enforcement Officer Of The Future, as posited by Motorola Solutions.

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Incremental Improvements Make Microsoft Surface Better, But Go-To-Market Strategy Will Determine Success

JP Gownder

On September 23rd, Microsoft launched its next generation Surface and Surface Pro devices with a splashy media event in New York City. The improvements to the hardware and software of both models are largely incremental – though that doesn’t obviate the value of these releases, since gradual innovation has long been an industry hallmark, particularly for Microsoft.

WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN:

Let's start by looking at what didn't happen: 

  • First, the struggling Surface (which runs Windows RT 8.1, though this fact is downplayed) hasn’t disappeared from the lineup, despite poor uptake and Microsoft’s $900 million financial write-down last quarter. It's been given a sucessor, the Surface 2.
  • Second, despite the hype around 7" and 8" Windows 8.1 devices (for example, from Acer today... and many other OEMs in coming months), Microsoft hasn't chosen to enter this market. Given the popularity of smaller tablets, this qualifies as a bit of a surprise.
  • Third, there was no radical rethinking. No crazy, innovative, out-of-the-box disruption. That's not necessarily bad, but it's noteworthy.
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Iceland: Gearing Up To Supply The World With Green IT Solutions

Sophia Vargas

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the remote and beautiful country of Iceland. After a 5-hour flight and a brief history lesson, I was amazed to learn that in addition to its unique local attractions — geothermal springs, volcanos, aurora borealis — Iceland possesses a wealth of natural resources.

View of the run off from Ljósafoss Hydro-Power Station, located on the River Sog by Lake Úlfljótsvatn’s outflow

View of the run off from Ljósafoss Hydro-Power Station, located on the River Sog by Lake Úlfljótsvatn’s outflow

Straddling the North American and European tectonic plates, Iceland’s geological conditions supply its inhabitants with an abundance of natural resources ideal for renewable energy generation. Over the last century, locals have learned how to harvest these resources, constructing geothermal and hydroelectric power generation facilities and providing the country with 100% renewable, carbon-free electricity. With the current cost-prohibitive, technologically limited methods of electrical interconnection, Iceland’s public utilities have been investigating alternative ways to export their energy surplus in the form of finished products.

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Transform Tablets Into The Ultimate Sales Tool With Augmented Reality Apps

JP Gownder

I recently spoke with metaio, an augmented reality solutions provider based in Munich, Germany. The company develops both enterprise- and consumer-oriented augmented reality solutions for smartphones, tablets, and -- increasingly -- for Google Glass.

Although metaio creates augmented reality applications for a wide variety of usage scenarios – enterprise tools to assist assembly lines, factory floors, design studios, and consumer shopping experiences for IKEA and Macy’s – I’m particularly struck by the potential of augmented reality for use by sales reps.

SCENARIO 1: AUGMENTED REALITY AS A SALES ENABLEMENT TOOL

At their best, augmented reality tablet applications can reshape the entire sales process. Metaio created an app for Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating to create a new interaction model between salesperson and homeowner. Prospective buyers considering Mitsubishi’s mini-split, ductless central air systems must install wall-mounted units in various rooms of their home. “The number one question prospective buyers ask is, ‘what is that unit going to look like on my wall’?” said Sudhanshu Kapoor, Business Development Manager at metaio.

Using the augmented reality app with an Apple iPad, homeowners receive a vivid representation of what the unit will look like, as this video demonstrates.

 

Results:  (1) A richer customer experience during the sales cycle. (2) Allayed fears among buyers who worry what the units will look like. (3) A faster sales cycle, performed on site. (4) Higher close rates and revenues. (5) Lower printing costs for sales collateral.

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Cloud Collaboration Services Adoption Is Highest In Asia Pacific

Nupur Singh Andley

According to Forrester’s Forrsights Combined Budgets and Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012, 61% of Asia Pacific (AP) organizations are currently using or actively planning to implement software-as-a-service (SaaS) for collaboration, which puts AP adoption ahead of both North America and Europe (see the figure below). I believe that the increased rate of adoption of cloud-based collaboration services is mainly due to three key factors:

  • The consumerization of IT, changing social behaviors, and AP end user communication preferences are compelling organizations to consider deploying enterprise collaboration solutions. To this end, cloud collaboration services are gaining traction among organizations seeking to extend collaboration capabilities to their employees, while also minimizing the costs associated with both hardware and operational expenditures.
  • The easy provisioning and simplified maintenance of cloud-based collaboration services allows organizations to quickly operationalize new sites and individual accounts with minimal IT effort.
  • The strong focus from service providers like Orange Business Services and Verizon Business in building and strengthening their regional capabilities in cloud collaboration services is leading to an abundance of service options for customers that are competitively priced and packaged to align with their requirements.
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Nirvanix's Demise Emphasizes The Need For Hybrid Clouds And Storage Mobility

Henry Baltazar

The untimely demise of Nirvanix has left over 1,000 customers scrambling to migrate data off of the cloud storage service provider and with a short two-week timeframe to save their data. While providers have gone to great lengths to make data import into the cloud easy by eliminating data ingest fees, large data sets in the cloud are difficult to retrieve or migrate to a new target. The recent example with Nirvanix highlights why customers should also consider exit and migration strategies as they formulate their cloud storage deployments.

One of the most significant challenges in cloud storage is related to how difficult it is to move large amounts of data from a cloud. While bandwidth has increased significantly over the years, even over large network links it could take days or even weeks to retrieve terabytes or petabytes of data from a cloud. For example, on a 1 Gbps link, it would take close to 13 days to retrieve 150 TB of data from a cloud storage service over a WAN link.

To minimize risks in cloud storage deployments and facilitate a graceful exit strategy (just in case things go sour), I recommend customers take the following steps:

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Google Is Poised To Revolutionize Consumer Retail

JP Gownder

Infrastructure professionals are now all too familiar with the dynamics of bring-your-own (BYO) technology and devices: Their workers walk into the office with consumer technology all the time. This post is one in a continuing series on how consumer retail stores act as de facto extensions of the IT department in today's BYO world.

The rumors have abounded for more than six months: unconfirmed whispers that Google will open up its own major chain of consumer retail stores. The company has dipped its toes into the retail waters with Chromebook-focused kiosks in the U.S. and the U.K. over the past few years, with installations inside larger retailers like Best Buy, Dixons, and Currys.

A Google Kiosk in the U.K.: Not Yet Reaching Revolutionary Heights

Yet while kiosks – particularly those staffed by Google employees – offer some value in promoting Google’s products and services, the company has a much greater opportunity for late 2013 into 2014. Kiosks aren't going to foment a retail revolution. To quote the popular Star Wars geek meme, "these aren't the droids you're looking for."

No, it's time for Google to think big  to go gangbusters. To do something nobody has done as well previously. Why is this imperative?

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Revive Your Oracle Database Consolidation Program

Sudhanshu Bhandari

Oracle launched the new Oracle Database 12c in July of this year. This release is intended to address the needs of infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals for faster infrastructure provisioning and higher consolidation densities to lower overall support costs. In the past, Oracle Database consolidation initiatives were hindered by product limitations in areas like data isolation, privileges, resource allocation, and naming conventions. However, with Oracle Database 12c, enterprises can consolidate databases more efficiently, without the need to worry about data isolation or application code changes.

Based on Oracle’s published pricing sheet, we estimate that existing Oracle Database customers can potentially save up to $27,500 per year on Oracle support fees and free up licenses worth an additional $125,000 by consolidating four Oracle databases (for a single processor license). We did not include Oracle’s Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) or any discount in this calculation.

The potential cost savings are clearly compelling to many I&O professionals across Asia Pacific. However, before deciding whether Oracle Database 12c is right for your organization, consider some key recommendations:

  • Take another look at your database consolidation opportunities. Do this before purchasing new Oracle Database licenses or renewing the annual support contract with Oracle. The best place to start is by consolidating databases hosted on the same server. Consolidate these databases before buying a new Oracle Database license, as there are additional license and annual support fees associated with enabling the multitenancy feature within 12c. Your annual support fees will keep increasing if you do not act.
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Build Or Colocate? The ROI Of Data Center Facilities In India

Manish Bahl

Many Indian CIOs and their infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams are in the market for a new data center as their existing data centers are running low on space, power, and cooling capacity. Forrester finds that data growth, virtualization, and consolidation are the main culprits behind these capacity challenges in India. For instance:

  • Data growth increases data center storage investments. Forrester estimates that storage consumes somewhere between 5% and 15% of the total power consumed in the data center and that the volume of data is growing by 30% to 50% per year.
  • Virtualization drives higher-density infrastructure architecture. Organizations face pressure to support more extreme compute densities and experiment with new infrastructure architectures.
  • Data center consolidation puts more pressure on centralized facilities. Per Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2012, consolidating IT infrastructure was a critical or high priority for nearly 70% of Indian IT decision-makers. This means more power, cooling, and space for centralized sites.
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The Coming Wave of PC Industry Consolidation

JP Gownder

Microsoft’s recent purchase of Nokia affirmed the company’s entry into the hardware business, which now forms a core component of its “devices and services” strategy. That journey began with entertainment devices (like the market-leading Xbox and the now-defunct Zune), continued with the Surface and Surface Pro Windows 8 devices, and reaches its logical conclusion with all of Nokia’s smartphones.

Microsoft’s move cements and validates a number of trends in the computing industry:

  • All the major platform players have gotten into hardware. Apple is of course the most vertically integrated platform player, creating hardware, operating systems, and software for its ecosystem. Google is in the hardware game too, having acquired Motorola in 2011, partnering to produce Nexus 4, 7, and 10 devices, and, most tantalizingly for the future, selling Google Glass. Amazon makes its Kindle and Kindle Fire HD devices, which are tightly coupled with its content and services. Even Facebook tentatively experimented with hardware in its collaboration with HTC on a Facebook Home phone.
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