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SCADA Syndrome and Lifelong Education

How many times have we encountered a situation where some part of the software industry starts small, in a closed environment, then grows and attracts a lot of attention before realising that things were not designed properly for this changed environment? On a large scale, I would say three times. It happened with the Internet, operating systems, and system and industrial control systems (also referred to as SCADA). This transition from a closed environment to an open environment inevitably exposes aspects that were overlooked during the development phase. The speed of this transition will only exacerbate the situation. Because SCADA systems are currently going through this transition I will call this a “SCADA Syndrome.”

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Cloud-Enabled Enhancements Can Fuel Adoption of Connected Life Services

These days, many people take it for granted that they can stay informed, connected, and entertained anytime and anywhere.

But as with any change, these new capabilities and new expectations bring new challenges.  With more devices, ubiquitous internet access, and content digitized at their finger tips, consumers now face new struggles-- from managing content libraries fragmented across devices to worrying that they’re paying again and again for the same song or movie in order to access it when and where they want.

As Connected Life continues to evolve, the advancing front is being driven by the cloud.  The cloud provides answers to the new challenges consumers face living their Connected Lives. Read More »

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Data Center Deconstructed Blogs Live Tomorrow

February 1, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

Data Center Deconstructed tries something new tomorrow – blogging live from the Technology Convergence Conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. 

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The Quest for Simplicity

A colleague of mine with close to 30 years experience in financial services recently returned from a business trip to Kuala Lumpur where he attended a financial services CIO summit.  One of the messages he heard again and again was the quest for simplicity.

The CIOs were looking for solutions that are not simplistic, but rather simple – simple to implement, simple to maintain and simple to use.

Not a new concept, but one we need to constantly remind ourselves of as we use technology as an enabler.  Key lessons learned to keep in-mind include:

  • It’s not about the technology, it’s about delivering improved capability and business value
  • Get the users involved early and often
  • Ensure both the business and the technology sides are aligned
  • It’s about people, process and technology

The list can go on, but let’s return to simplicity. When we look at today’s distributed computing environment, it harkens back to the early 1990s when the battle raged between OS2 and Windows.  We all know the result and now PCs, in a client-server architecture, rule the day. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the client-server environment is anything but simple which is why we are moving into a post PC era.  I would argue that a critical part of this shift is the need to drive to simplicity.

A brief example may help paint the picture for you. We recently worked with a large European bank that was facing a far-reaching desktop operating system upgrade. To replace the old with the new would not have solved one nagging problem:  it took over 20 minutes to boot up, sign in and start using a desktop. All the best intentions lead to increased complexity and a lot of lost productivity.

Do the math:  1,000 people signing in once a day lose a total of 333 hours of productivity every day. That’s 8 weeks of lost productivity in the first half hour of each work day. Transitioning to a virtual desktop environment, with Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure(V XI) and services, brought the sign-in time down to seconds, not minutes, while simplifying overall desktop management, which ultimately helped increase productivity.

The challenges we face in today’s post-PC era include overcoming complexity, but as Edward de Bono says, “Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple.” Now is the time to drive for simplicity.

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A Tale of Two Cities Pursuing One Common Vision: The story of how urban economics, urban energy, urban environment get greener, cleaner, smarter because they’re better connected (Part 1)

Two events on the North American west coast, set apart by two days, each helped to set the tone for this year’s big debate about the future of cities.

Where exactly is the big debate, you might ask? Looking at the Presidential election season The New York Times Op-Ed columnist, Tom Friedman, bemoaned in early January, the fact that he just doesn’t “remember any candidate being asked in those really entertaining G.O.P. debates, ‘How do you think smart cities can become the job engines of the future, and what is your plan to ensure that America has a strategic bandwidth advantage?’”

At IBSG we know some of the most important elements of that alternative future for US cities. And we are engaged in intensive projects with our customers — cities like Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver — to shape it. Read More »

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