AWS Canada – Going local with the cloud

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Amazon Web Services launched today its first deployment of the infrastructure in Canada. After letting their clients wait a significant amount of time for launching the servers, Amazon finally delivered. It seems that having cloud computing as a service is possible, but for critical applications that heavily rely on latency, it is not the case. The cloud has countless advantages over having your own servers, but in several cases the cloud must be right next door to enable business applications which would not work over higher latency.
Current internet infrastructure connections allow to run many applications in the cloud, but this does not work for businesses which require millisecond response time. Most are aware the current system for fast inter-continental internet transfer relies on submarine cables which span across oceans.

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Because this is not the case between the United States and Canada as they are connected using direct lines, makes it interesting to understand why Amazon had to open local server centers to satisfy the needs of the businesses in Canada. It could be implied that it is necessary to open local servers in most countries that are not too far apart in terms of kilometers, this being dependent of the type of internet transfer infrastructure available. As this is the case for North America, it is highly likely that we will see Amazon opening more local server centers across Europe as the current offerings are quite limited and for specific use cases is not feasible.
In conclusion, it is interesting to note that companies which rely on low-latency operations and wish to outsource their computing to the cloud will require for the cloud to be right next door. This reduces the available options, as in some cases certain computing should be performed at the company and not in the cloud. A hybrid model is likely to emerge as organizations focus on minimizing costs and dependency on local servers.

 

Sources:

https://aws.amazon.com/

http://www.submarinecablemap.com/

Amazon debutes first AWS Region in Canada

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What Is IFTTT and How Can it Improve Your Digital Life?

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What is IFTTT?

IFTTT or “If This Then That” is a web service that launched in 2010 and has the slogan “Put the Internet to work for you”. The idea is that you use IFTTT to automate everything from your favorite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices. It’s an automation that will enable you to connect two services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. If something happens, Then perform an action.

It’s really easy! Here are some typical examples of something you can have IFTTT set up to do:

  • If you own the Philips Hue smart lighting system you could use IFTTT to automatically turn on a light every time you’re tagged in a Facebook photo.
  • If you like a photo on Instagram, a picture of that photograph will be saved in a folder on your Dropbox.
  • You could use IFTTT to automatically email readers when they comment on your WordPress blog.

It works like this: users are guided through a process to make simple combinations (also called “recipes”) where some type of event in one device or service automatically triggers an action in another. The best part about this website is that it is free to use and has a ton of popular web apps that you can set to trigger and perform an action. IFTTT currently supports more than 110 services including Android devices and Apple iOS apps, as well as websites like Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, WordPress, YouTube, and more.

How does IFTTT work?

Sign up for an account on the IFTTT website. It’s a one-step process that only requires an email, username, and password. Once finished, you will see that IFTTT has automatically created a recipe for you (this recipe will send a recommended recipe to your email inbox every day). From here, IFTTT should show your dashboard. On the dashboard, there is a brief explanation of how IFTTT and recipes work. The “This” in “If This, Then That” stands for a trigger, while the “That” stands for an action. These two linked events create an IFTTT recipe. Thus, referencing the Philips Hue example mentioned earlier, the trigger could be a Facebook photo tag and the action would be the Philips Hue light turning on. Also on the dashboard, you will see links to create custom recipes or browse (and then use) recipes already created by other IFTTT users. You can also share recipes and save recipes to a favorite section on your dashboard. If you’ve added a recipe to your dashboard, you will have options to turn off, delete, and edit that recipe.

 

And that’s it. You’re now a beginner IFTTT user and recipe creator so go have fun exploring the countless ways to automate and simplify your life. It’s only a matter of time before you become an expert. If you’re interested you can on https://ifttt.com/ for more information.

 

References

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/130082-ifttt-explained-how-does-it-work-and-what-are-the-new-do-apps

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/tech/web/what-is-ifttt-and-how-can-it-improve-your-digital-life?page=1

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/the-ultimate-ifttt-guide-use-the-webs-most-powerful-tool-like-a-pro/

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The elderly population in a fast growing digital world

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Digital capabilities are marked  essential for firms in order to stay alive in current society. This is not only applicable to firms, but also to human beings. Currently it is already hard for people that do not use digital technologies to stay “up to date”. This while the biggest technological growth is yet to come. Banking, public transport and governmental services are transforming from face-to-face services to do it yourself online.

The first Personal Computers (PC’s) were launched around 1980, the Internet as recently as 1996 (for private users). People born far before this era, are having trouble with the pace of the developments. New generations are learning digital skills already in primary school. As example we can look at the schools in Finland. Finnish students will no longer be taught handwriting at school, with typing lessons taking its place. “Fluent typing skills are an important national competence. The switch will be a major cultural change, but typing is more relevant to everyday life,” says Minna Harmanen from the National Board of Education. In contrast to the new generations, the older generations never had any form of educations on digital subjects. Given the rapid growth of the elderly in our population as well as the potential the Internet holds for them, this is something worth consideration (Eastman & Iyer, 2004).

What would be good for this group of people, is to set-up a program to provide them with the necessary digital skills. The government could cooperate with healthcare facilities and organizations, to reach out to elderly people. This seems to be a large expense, but it will decrease costs in the future as well. Also it will help to improve vitality of elderly people, giving them the feeling they can still contribute to society. With the growing human life expectancy in mind, this would be a good prospect for older generations.

 

References
Eastman, J. & Iyer, R. (2004). The elderly’s uses and attitudes towards the Internet. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 21 Iss: 3, pp.208 – 220
Griffiths, S. (2016). Virtual reality training can stop the elderly from taking a tumble. Available online at : http://www.wired.co.uk/article/falling-over-vr [Last viewed on December 4th 2016)

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What does a CIO actually do all day?

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In this blog post, I want to elaborate on the article ‘The future of the CIO in a Digital Economy’.  (Weill & Woerner, 2013)

The two research scientists from MIT conducted a study that is based on several years and several methods of research. They looked into how CIO’s spend their time, and not any less important, how their managers actually wanted them to spend their time. From this study, they found four main CIO types.

The first one is the IT services CIO, the focus of this CIO is to provide the firm with all the IT services that the firm needs to operate in a digital economy. The external customers CIO, the second type of CIO,  works with external customers or partners to sell and provide them with IT enabled products and services. The third type is the embedded CIO, this CIO is more focussed on the management of the company and is thinking about the strategy of the company together with other managers. The fourth type is the enterprise process CIO, this CIO manages and oversees key operational processes, including IT processes.

It depends on the company’s goals what is a more effective type of CIO. For example, when you focus on return on capital you should be an embedded CIO. However, focussing on innovation requires an external customer CIO, and profitability measures an enterprise process CIO. Firms with a mixed performance focus likely have IT services CIO’s.

The other managers want their CIO’s to be an IT service focussed CIO at first and then become an embedded CIO, working with non-IT colleagues as well. Once this is the case, they want the CIO to focus more on external customers.

The CIO’s themselves consider themselves mostly as an IT service CIO that wants to develop into one of the other types. In order to do so, CIO’s can do three things to save time that they can spend on other activities; mentoring, governance and partnering. The goal is to allocate time wisely, develop leadership strategies to save time and look at the future and anticipate on what type of CIO is needed.

I can conclude that CIO’s are much more than only managers of IT services. The want to do a lot more and other managers require them to add a broader business value to be able to keep up with the digital economy.

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Are Digital Partnerships the future?

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In the past years, companies like IBM and Box, Apple and IBM, and Blackberry and Samsung have all formed strategic partnerships or alliances to harness innovation, bring new capabilities to market quicker, increase profits and block the competition.

The form of these digital partnerships ranges from contract-based alliances between two or three players to cross-industry networks and large, loosely organized, ecosystems based on a dominant technology platform. The early adopters already have multiple digital partners and some belong to more than one form of partnership. Many others, meanwhile, are intent on catching up. Private-sector organizations tend to dominate these partnerships. The growing trend for digital partnerships is already having a measurable impact for the organizations involved in them.

The reason why companies want to be in digital partnerships is the fact that nowadays the digital environment is super competitive. They want to gain advantage of this competitive environment, but they are finding that it tough to do alone. That is why many are entering into partnerships of one form or another to develop digital capabilities. The digital partnerships range from formal alliances with two or three players to loose networks of dozens or more organisations.

In my opinion, the formation of digital partnerships will only have more digital partnerships as a result. When you are a company with no digital partnership and you have to compete with companies that are in digital partnerships, it will be a very hard battle to win. And even if you win your company is not safe from other companies which are in a digital partnership. It is obvious that companies that are in a partnership have a big advantage. To compete in a fair fight, companies are being forced to join the trend and enter a digital partnership.

I am interested in your opinion and if you agree with mine.

Sources:

Connecting  Companies: Strategic partnerships for the digital age, 2o16. A Telstra report written by The Economist Intelligence Unit

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/digital-leaders/future-series/2016-digital-partnerships/

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500256988/Partnerships-key-to-digital-innovation

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