Saturday, February 14, 2015

IT's 10 Steps to IoT Success

IT organizations must help their business units shift their solution orientation from building standalone products to delivering ongoing, subscription services. Given that IoT solutions require continuous connections to end-units in order to be of value, it is also true that the best way to package, price and position these solutions is as subscription services. 

This past week's International CES brought even greater attention to the seemingly infinite opportunities being created by the rapidly evolving Internet of Things. However, it also created plenty of hype that can become pitfalls for companies that are not properly prepared to achieve the promise of the IoT.
There are 10 steps IT organizations must take to help their corporate counterparts convert their IoT dreams into successful initiatives that produce measurable and meaningful business benefits.

1. Embrace the Cloud
IT organizations have to become comfortable working with a variety of public and private cloud services. Deploying IoT solutions doesn't make economic sense unless they employ low-cost, highly scalable cloud services to ensure economical connectivity, compute power and storage capabilities.
2. Get a Grip on Security
IT organizations must become intimately familiar with the real versus perceived security risks associated with an increasingly connected world. They also must recognize their limitations in combating the security risks on their own, and identify third-party skills and resources that can augment their in-house security capabilities.
3. Study the Supply Chain
IT organizations must become aware of the integration issues associated with IoT. Since deploying an IoT solution entails a myriad of piece-parts that come from various sources, pulling them all together requires specialized integration skills. Becoming expert in the IoT supply-chain is essential to success.
4. Weigh In on Standards
IT organizations must become aware and involved in the IoT standards processes and bodies. Today's IoT landscape is being divided among a widening array of players all seeking to win a share of the emerging marketplace. Although no one standard will prevail to bring order to all of the chaos, a series of formal and de facto standards will emerge to govern how various pieces of the IoT supply chain are designed and deployed so they ensure interoperability in certain segments of the market.
5. Engage in Product Development
IT organizations must become a part of their corporate product development processes. Building IoT solutions entails a combination of hardware, software and connectivity ingredients, and will require IT organizations' input and continuous monitoring to ensure their success.
6. Wrangle Big Data
IT organizations must develop the right data acquisition, compilation and analytics systems to make IoT solutions worthwhile. The primary value of IoT deployments is the ability to capture data and properly convert that data into useable information and insight to continuously improve products and better serve customers.
7. Protect Privacy
IT organizations must work with their business counterparts to determine the appropriate data collection and utilization parameters to safeguard customer privacy and mitigate the risks of security infringements, and regulatory and compliance issues.
8. Adopt a Subscription Mentality
IT organizations must help their business units shift their solution orientation from building standalone products to delivering ongoing, subscription services. Given that IoT solutions require continuous connections to end-units in order to be of value, it is also true that the best way to package, price and position these solutions is as subscription services.
9. Target and Test
IT organizations must work with their business counterparts to properly target and successfully pilot their initial IoT deployments before they roll them out to wide audience. Too much is at stake for companies to prematurely launch new IoT solutions that are plagued with connectivity, security or other technical issues.
10. Contribute to Strategic Vision
IT organizations must work with their corporate leaders to create a realistic strategic vision so their initial IoT deployments can serve as essential building blocks for creating long-term competitive advantage.

IT Job Seekers Back in the Driver's Seat

CompTIA forecasts worldwide IT industry growth will reach 5 percent with upside potential of 7.3 percent. This is an increase over last year's prediction of 3.4 percent. Growth in Canada and the UK is projected to lag slightly. Business executives interviewed for this study expect the U.S. growth rate to otherwise mirror the global rate.

Fast-paced growth in the Information Technology (IT) industry and low unemployment rates for technology workers are making it difficult for corporate executives to find qualified hires.
Add to that a bullish frenzy of investor support and corporate acquisitions as key factors driving the continued growth of the technology industry.
The global IT market totaled more than US$3.7 trillion in 2014 -- and the U.S. market accounts for approximately 28 percent of that total, according to research firm IDC. The U.S. portion of $1 trillion includes hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications.
Nearly 70 percent of IT executives expect to face a very challenging hiring environment this year, according to CompTIA's Industry Outlook 2015 report. That study also found that 43 percent of IT companies are currently understaffed.
More so, 36 percent of the companies in the study are fully staffed, but are looking to hire to support business expansion and growth. Another one in five companies has postponed or canceled projects due to understaffing.
Meanwhile, technology mergers and acquisition spending in 2015 are likely to continue at the record pace set last year, according to a new report from 451 Research.
"For a while now the IT industry has outperformed other industries and the general economy. I think the trends we are seeing are also starting to happen in other industries as well. But IT and Technology are still leading those," Seth Robinson, Vice President of technology Analysis at CompTIA, told TechNewsWorld.

IT Employment Outlook

The national unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent in December 2014. That rate dropped 14 percent from 6.6 percent during the same period in 2013. The unemployment rate for the IT industry continues to remain far lower than the national rate, according to the CompTIA report.
A strong demand for certain skill sets coupled with the low unemployment rate for IT workers can create a challenging hiring environment. The study found that 68 percent of IT company executives say they expect to face a challenging or very challenging hiring environment for technical positions this year.
Labor reports cite U.S. businesses posted job notices for some 580,000 core IT jobs during the last quarter of 2014. This showed a slight increase over the third quarter.

Growth Factors

Some of the hiring increase reflects companies that may be expanding or moving into new areas and need to employ more workers. Other factors include workforce turnover caused by retirement as well as employees leaving to pursue other work opportunities, according to CompTIA.
Worldwide IT industry growth will reach 5 percent with upside potential of 7.3 percent, predicted CompTIA. This is an increase over last year's forecast of 3.4 percent.
The growth in Canada and the UK is projected to lag slightly. Business executives interviewed for this study expect the U.S. growth rate to otherwise mirror the global rate, according to the report.
"It has been a rosy picture for a while. It is warming up this year after a slight dip. So this is good news," Robinson said.

'Aqui-Hire' Trend

Technology mergers and acquisitions reflect the hiring impact for IT workers, agreed Brenon Daly, Research Director for Financials at 451 Research. His M&A Outlook Report cites bullish sentiment from bankers and acquirers among the factors that could propel M&A to meet or exceed records.
Security, mobility and cloud computing are among the sectors likely to see intense interest from growth-hungry strategic and financial acquirers.
"This M&A outlook is far more employee driven than it has ever been before," Daly told TechNewsWorld.
"Keep in mind the change that happened among large-cap technology buyers. You see large transactions and the aqui-hires," said Daly.
"That is a new development. You cannot hire en mass. You run your HR departments through M&A. That is new. This is something we have not seen among large-cap buyers like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Box," he added.
Those companies are well capitalized and have the resources through record levels of cash flow. In many cases they also have equity prices and traffic currency to recruit.
"They also have unfilled positions. You put that together, and you have the resources and the need," Daly said about the technology industry and the M&A outlook.

Open Source Cloud Foundry Foundation Gets Its First CEO!

 The open source Cloud Foundry Foundation has its first leader on its board now with the newly appointed CEO, Sam Ramji. On 9 December, the Foundation was officially launched and its back-end operations have been looked after by the Linux Foundation until now.

When the Foundation was launched, executive director of the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin announced that the new group's leadership will be named in the coming days. In a conversation with Datamation, Zemlin told that Ramji is the best choice when it comes to application development, cloud and open source space. Ramji is a popular figure in the open source community. He worked with Microsoft from 2004 to 2009 and he had immense contribution to build a relationship between Microsoft and the open source community.

To deliver a keynote address at OSCON 2008 conference, Ramji was dressed in a Firefox t-shirt and was greeted with applause by the audience. Ramji is the CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation and not the executive director, while the latter is most common in such Foundations. Ramji has told Datamation that their aim is to drive the Foundation as the fastest growing software startup in the world. Ramji will look after growing the ecosystem of developers and apps as well as expansion of membership. The Cloud Foundry PaaS project started as an open source project at VMware in 2011 and was later handed over to Pivotal, its sister company.

Cloud Foundry Foundation has already some big names in its membership list including EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP and Vmware, and all of these companies are platinum members. The Foundation already has more than 40 member companies on the board. Ramji also aims to demonstrate commercial success for the Cloud Foundry community. The Foundation's board of directors include John Roese from EMC, Bill Hilf from HP, Ajay Patel from VMware, Christopher Ferris from IBM, Sanjay Patil from SAP, Nicholas Weaver from Intel, Rob Mee from Pivotal, Marco Hochstrasser from Swisscomm and Bart Copeland from ActiveState.

Courtesy: Datamation 

You Can Now Play With The New Zyro Droneball That Runs On Linux!

 Zyro, a “Droneball” quadcopter that runs on Linux and Gumstix COMs, is a Kickstarter project. It also acts like a smart aerial ball which can be useful in multi-player games too. Well, Zyro Droneball doesn't even look like a usual ball and neither it acts like other normal balls.

It's a quadcopter which can hover, zig-zag and copy a hockey puck or a soccer ball. There are variety of games around Zyro which are activated through a mobile app and the list includes multi-droneball contests too. In these contests, a Droneball acts like an extra player on the field. Zyro is a project by Gumstix engineers and its Droneball runs on Linux on the open source AeroCore 2 micro-aerial vehicle (MAV) controller board, equipped with Gumstix computer-on-module and a WiFi module.

Gumstix engineers have developed Zyro out of their love for drones and gaming. This quadcopter is physically controlled with a wireless-enabled wand device which incorporates AeroCore 2 board. Zyro is asking for for ideas from Kickstarter backers to design the wand and other components for final release. If you are already owning a drone, you can buy a DroneBall Remote autopilot and attach the remote to your own drone of a different make, then it will start functioning like a Droneball.

You can play games with up to four DroneBalls and combinations of DroneBalls as well as other remote-enabled drones in multi-player games. The Zyro DroneBall along with one Zyro Wand is available for $449 as the basic Kickstarter package. Additional Zyro Wands are available for $129 and there is a $159 package too with a Drone Remote autopilot for attaching to a third-party drone.

The AeroCore 2 can be fitted with various WiFi options. AeroCore 2 runs Nuttx RTOS for real-time control tasks and its real-time-task-oriented microcontroller is an ST Microelectronics STM32F427 MCU, based on a 180MHz Cortex-M4 core. The DroneBall is available for funding on Kickstarter through 14 March and shipments are due in June.

You can find more information on the Droneball Kickstarter page and the Zyro website. For the time being, have a look at the introductory video below: