Why history matters. Even to tech leaders

When looking at the challenges that the fast-moving tech landscape throws up, it is often tempting to think that these problems are new to the 21st century and consequently need completely novel approaches. While the mechanics, business process and technologies may well be new, the underlying problem is very likely to be one that has been around for centuries. Just as the Roman Republic can provide a casebook of the entire gamut of political mechanations and intrigue, similarly, history books can provide invaluable advice on … Read more…

Comparing the Cloud giants – Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure

Last month saw a number of number of the tech giants provide their most recent quarterly earnings. For both Amazon and Microsoft, their cloud activities gained a lot of headlines and column-inches in both the technical and business press. Although adopting different growth and technology strategy, their cloud computing offerings represent a significant engine of growth going forward, and is becoming an area of ever-more intense competition. Here we take a brief look at how they compare and what the … Read more…

Bringing Artificial Intelligence to the Internet of Things – with the help of the Cloud

We have already touched on the role that machine learning and artificial intelligence plays in building smart systems that provide value to customers and companies. From predicting when elevators will require maintenance and service to the advanced voice control functions used in iPhones, artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. This blog however has not yet done justice to the extent to which the entry bar has been lowered for advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to be incorporated into … Read more…

Amazon still king of the Cloud, though Microsoft is catching up

You can’t go far in reading the tech press before coming across the term ‘cloud’, a term that causes no end of confusion. In the enterprise IT world, the public cloud refers to the setup where IT applications and capabilities are provided to a company by an external provider via Internet connections on a shared infrastructure. This means that the company can benefit from shared economies of scale as other customers use the same infrastructure, and the same scale also provides the … Read more…

Digital Health Platforms – A look at Apple HealthKit’s early lead

A Reuters report last week claimed that Apple’s HealthKit is being trialled by more hospitals in the US than Google Fit. Fourteen out of twenty-three ‘top’ (no info on how they were selected) hospitals contacted had already rolled out a pilot programme with Apple, way ahead of where they are with other significant personal health platforms. This clearly indicates that the convergence between personal devices and real medical healthcare, is beginning to move beyond the somewhat narcissistic counting of steps, fitness goals etc, … Read more…

Microsoft surprise many by accepting bitcoin payments

This week Microsoft announced that it was opening up to accept Bitcoin payments for its Xbox Live platform and Windows and Windows Phone stores through an integration with BitPay, a firm that provides bitcoin payment processing. Initially, bitcoin will be used to top-up Microsoft accounts, rather than to pay directly for a service or payment. Nevertheless, this move makes sense for Microsoft and aligns well with the younger demographic of Xbox Live. It definitely adds a serious dose of credibility … Read more…

Internet of Things and Big Data – The concept of Data Gravity

A number of posts in this blog have dealt with the increasing variety and sheer number of ‘things’, be they sensors, wearables, appliances, actuators, industrial components etc. that will gain connectivity over the coming few years. There will however be no point adding connectivity to these items if they do not produce meaningful data, and in turn there will be no point collating this data unless insights are obtained that can be acted upon. This is why the ‘Internet of Things’ is invariably coupled with its close relative in the family of hyped buzzwords –  Mr ‘Big Data’.

To give an example of the scale of data being produced, Cisco estimates that by 2018, connected devices will generate 400 zettabytes of data annually. (I too needed to look that up. Apparently a zettabyte is 1021 bytes or 1 billion terabytes).

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Digital Health gets real

Health & fitness is often touted as being one of the most promising segments of wearable devices. Evolved from the humble pedometer, these now boast an impressive range of sensors, capable of monitoring heart rate, stress levels, sweat, quality of sleep as well as physical activity to quantify in great detail every waking (and sleeping moment), creating a true ‘datafication’ of the self . Two of the most advanced proponents of this class of solution are the Jawbone Up3 and … Read more…