Thursday, October 12, 2017

Choose the Cover to My New Book

Which cover option do you like? Option #1, #2, or #3? The cover is for my new book coming out later this year.

Post your vote below in the comments section.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Could The Need for Human Connectivity be Driving the Age of Digital Transformation?

Regardless of the many drivers, adding billions of new devices will require automation to meet these connectivity requirements.

Gartner predicts that connected devices will increase 31% in 2017 from the number of devices in 2016. According to their calculations, the consumer segment should grow to 12.8 Billion. Consumer, plus business verticals are predicted to rise to 20 Billion. The projected increase from 2016 to 2018 is much greater, with devices expected to increase by almost 220%.
What’s driving the increase of IoT devices?

Healthcare - do you go to the Dr.?
According to a Sbwire report; “(IoT) in the healthcare market, which comprises systems and software, medical devices, and services, has had a significant impact on the overall healthcare sector.” The sector now heavily relies on remote monitoring to add value by; “lowering costs, improving efficiency, and bringing the focus back to quality patient care.” Healthcare is going Digital.

Security - been out in public lately?
On a daily basis you are likely to be recorded on video at least 75 times (if American) and up to 300 times (if from the UK) according to a crime feed report. Today, people have only a 5% chance of not being recorded on video. Security is going Digital, cameras, and sensors are at the forefront.

Human Connectivity - do you connect with others?
Pew research suggests that human connectivity is one of the biggest drivers of this digital age. In a Pew research study, one reason for the growth is; “People crave connection and convenience, and a tech-linked world serves both goals well.” The Human condition is pushing digital and is one of the most powerful drivers.
These are only a few of the industries and drivers of IoT that are fueling the digital movement. Just think about the other applications, and you will find more use-cases for IoT device growth. This high demand will create an interesting problem statement.

Problem statement: Can the cloud platforms scale enough to support exponential growth?
To enable digital transformation, we need to ask the question. What technically will it take for us to connect 20 Billion devices or more? If all devices were the same, then the answer is easier, but this is not the case. Just take a look at the various types of devices you might use or see on a daily basis, and more importantly all the hidden devices, that we don’t see.

Could growth of device be higher?
Given the drivers, I think it is possible that the number might be even greater than the projected 20 Billion. If there were 7.3B people in 2015 (when Gartner predicted the 20 Billion) then what might the number of future devices be? Wouldn't all people benefit from core services? Calculating future devices becomes a math problem, based on what the percent of the population that is currently connected, and the number of devices required per person. For argument’s sake; let’s say we grow to ten devices (per person on the planet) - then it's simple math; we can multiply 10 (projected devices/sensors) times 7.3 Billion (Number of individuals) this would be 73 Billion devices. I don’t know if 73 Billion is even realistic, but based on the power of the need for human connection and just core services like health care and security, we have enormous growth potential.

Regardless, Standardization and Automation are necessary to support the digital growth.
Based purely on mathematical and physics constructs we must accept that manual configuration and connectivity of these devices would require more resources and time effort than plausible. Archimedes, who lived from 287 to 212 BCE, was credited as saying;

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

History tells us Archimedes had limited access to technology, but his words still apply to this day. Today we use people, process, and technology to solve this larger problem. Technology and automation are our lever and fulcrum.

Technically it’s simpler to connect similar devices than connecting different platforms, assuming, of course, they all have interfaces. As the number of devices increases, we must rely more heavily on standardization of device interfaces, that can simplify the connectivity. We should also look to automation to help us meet the scale. Think about Archimedes lever and fulcrum.

The human need for connection is a big reason behind the need for digital information and in large part the driver for all these devices. Based on the laws of physics and mathematical principles, we must start thinking about the IoT ‘end state’ and accept that the only way to network and connect all the various permutations is by applying standardization of interfaces of the devices and implement automation to connect all these devices. Which may sound straightforward enough, the hard part is getting folks to agree on the ‘best technical direction,’ which isn’t always evident. But when we come together and agree on the future benefits, then debate, test, and agree on the optimal technical direction we can then move forward.

Please post comments below; I would love to get your perspective on IoT drivers and also your ideas for device growth projections.

John M. Hawkins is the author of Coached to Greatness (expected 2017), Building a Strategic Plan for Your Life and Business, and Affinity. John writes about strategy, goal setting, personal development, business, and technology. Follow him by subscribing, on twitter @hawkinsjohn.

Do you want to grow your social network but are unsure about how to go about doing it?

I built my Twitter following to 48K+, and it wasn’t as difficult as you might imagine, here are some tips you can use to grow your ‘following.’
One frequent question I get asked regarding my social media usage is; “How did you get so many twitter followers?” Sometimes I joke with the person asking me, I’ll say; “It will cost you, how much will you pay for this valuable information?” Although, no one has taken me up on my offer, nor would I charge someone.

There are lots of benefits of having a strong social network, such as creating a platform to give you credibility, share knowledge, communicate, do business, entertainment, and even the good feeling you get after tweeting. And an even better feeling when you get a positive response from a tweet. Having a good 'reason' will keep you motivated to work on your goal. Since I have been asked the question many times, I figured I would share my experience.
Developing good twitter habits can help ensure your success by providing a simple easy to follow ‘process.’ Basics include, for every tweet make sure the tweet is ‘relevant’ to your audience, tweet at least 3 to 5 times a week during the hours your audience is active on Twitter.

Three Tweet Styles to get you started.
Tweet Style #1 - Content, share information you find interesting.
Tweet Style #2 - Engage with others, mention them in a tweet, or comment on a post they shared.
Tweet Style #3 - Share something personal about you, this way you won't be mistaken for a robot.
For starters, create three tweets based on each of the three styles. Try those out, then create three more based on the styles and tweet those, continue until you get the hang of it. You will soon figure out what’s working and is not, with experience you can change your strategy accordingly.

7 Tips to Sharpen Your Twitter Strategy
  1. Topics: Focus on 3 to 5 topics at most, if you have too many you’ll have a hard time keeping up with it all.
  2. Twitter Mentors - Find twitter mentors (people who you might aspire to be like). Follow, and interact with them. Search and follow individuals with keywords that match your focus areas (they are more likely to retweet).
  3. Content -  Content is King. As you go through your day and look up information, perhaps others would also enjoy the information, share it socially.
  4. Sharing Tactics - To have a friend you must be a friend, this means that you should be engaging with your like-minded mentors and followers.
  5. Other social media sites - Share your thoughts in blog posts, articles, commenting and engaging with others.
  6. Tools to Automate - Use tools to help with grammar/spelling, automatically schedule tweets, and other tasks.
  7. Maintenance - Review the Twitter tweet rules, there are limits to how many people you can follow, and unfollow any time, check Twitter’s website for the latest.

I've only covered a few basics, what are some tactics that you use?

John M. Hawkins is the author of Coached to Greatness (expected 2017), Building a Strategic Plan for Your Life and Business, and Affinity. John writes about strategy, goal setting, personal development, business, and technology. Follow him by subscribing, on twitter @hawkinsjohn.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

IoT Event Causes Alarm Police Investigate

IoT Data, Risks, Liability all identified from an IoT Device

IoT Data, Risks, Liability all identified from an IoT Device
As devices shift to 'the edge' there are many new and unforeseen implications concerning data, security, legal liability, and overall management of IoT devices. My recent experience with an IoT Vacuum got me thinking about some of the unintended consequences from the IoT epoch we are now living in. These implications go beyond just IoT and could also apply to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices as well. One thing for sure, the Internet-of-Things will not only change the tools we use but will also how we think about and use them, forcing us to think ahead to think about risks just as much as we reflect on the benefits. And while this little vacuum is one of the many devices, it among other devices will be a forcing function for IoT thought leaders to take into consideration when developing their solutions.
One weekday after finishing up a morning meeting I pulled out my smartphone to check for messages, to my surprise found that I had multiple missed calls, voicemail messages, and dozens of text messages. One of the missed call phone numbers of particular interest was the Burglar Alarm Company - theirs was the first phone call I returned. I dialed the number and immediately got an agent on the phone.
Agent: "Based on the number you are calling from is this Mr. Hawkins?"
Me: "Yes, this is he, what's going on? I've received multiple calls from you."
Agent: "There was a glass break alarm that went off at your house this morning, we have notified the Police - they are on their way."
Fearing the worst I did what any rational person would do, I quickly repacked my work bag, which I had unpacked only a short time ago. I shouted down the hall to my coworkers; “I have to leave, my home alarm went off, and need to take care of this, bye,” I rushed to my car and headed back home.
At about the halfway point on my drive, I called the alarm company back and got another agent back on the phone.
Me: "What's the status of the Police probe, is everything ok?"
Agent: "Mr. Hawkins, the Police have been to your house, I am issuing an all-clear - I’ll reset the alarm, what’s the passcode?"
Me: “What does that mean?”
Agent: “It means that they have physically been on premise at your home and found nothing that looked suspicious, no broken windows, the doors were secure - so we reset the system.”
I had a decision to make, do I proceed home or head back to work? My overactive imagination had gotten the best of me, and I was worried about the family dog - so I decided to proceed home and investigate what was going on.
As I entered the door the alarm rapidly chirped, this was much different noise than the typical one chirp, and there was no dog there to greet me. The chirping indicated to me that the event was real and that I needed to proceed with caution.
Stanley, as the children affectionately call him, is our IoT Vacuum and he was not in his charging station where he usually is. Every day he starts vacuuming at 8:00 AM, and by the vacancy, in the charging station I saw that Stanley most likely went out for his daily assignment - however, he did not return - this was not like him.
I proceeded to the living room, as I entered the room, everything became apparent and the chain of events that must have happened. I saw a glass vase laying on the floor with its contents scattered.  The crash of the glass vase must have set off the alarm. Stanley probably became tangled with the phone cord located adjacent to the glass vase that was sitting on a glass table. Oblivious to his circumstance he proceeded with his job - as he moved away from the table he pulled the phone cord, the phone and ultimately the glass vase off the table and onto the floor. I moved from the living room into my home office and saw Stanley stuck on an area rug only a few yards from the scene of the crime - case closed, I’ve caught the perpetrator!
I do enjoy the benefits of having a nicely vacuumed home, and I see some effects from the experience that got me thinking. What can I learn from this IoT device occurrence? For starters, Stanley was just doing as he was programmed, but something else dawned on me. I now see this seemingly good little helper in a new light, and I see that there is a much greater potential for him to do harm than I had first thought.
IoT Implications and Lessons Learned
Legal Liability
The alarm company summoned the police to my home, as the homeowner I know that I'm ultimately responsible for purchasing the device and programming the device. However am I liable as well? Was there a bright yellow WARNING label on the device that read not to use when no one is home? Raising an interesting question regarding the liability of the IoT-device, they automate and help, but should they be programmed to run without supervision?.
The Risk of Fire; What if the telephone cord was near a lighted lamp, and the light was pulled off the table and broken; this could have exposed hot electrical wires and potentially cause a fire. Should I be powering off lights before the IoT device moves throughout the house? And given this IoT device has a large battery, could it ignite itself? Now the thought of sending an IoT vacuum off seems riskier - almost as dangerous as leaving a simmering pot on the stove.
Data Security
The IoT device is 'smart,' according to the manufacturer, it captures, and stores information about which rooms it has vacuumed. In this case, the GPS coordinates are processed and stored in the cloud. The floor plan along with furniture placement is in the cloud, along with the vacuuming days and times. The Alarm company knows when my alarm is set, and can remotely reset it - there is a lot of data, any breach could give information that I may want to keep private.
IoT devices
Stanley is one IoT device, but what about the other devices that capture and send data to the cloud and elsewhere. My Alarm system with all its wireless sensors is IoT-enabled. What will become of all these sensors, how will we manage the devices? At some point, we could end up with IoT device proliferation? One takeaway for me is that while it’s good to have sensors, it’s just as important to be able to see what’s going on - perhaps a camera system would be beneficial as the next step.
At these devices go about doing their job who is going to do all the maintenance of these devices? In the vacuum's case, there is a dust collection bin that needs cleaning, a filter that requires cleaning and assists, get him unstuck when needed, software updates and more. The more IoT devices, the higher the maintenance toll.
IoT Service Costs;
The incident encouraged me to stop what I was doing and head back home to investigate; this means lack of productivity at work, it caused unnecessary work for emergency personnel and the alarm company. There is a cost to the IoT service, and this should be taken into consideration as well. The automation can help, but there may be hidden costs associated with it. Do the cost outweigh the benefits.
I am now more curious than ever about IoT devices, and I can see that there is much more work that needs to be done to ensure we are creating meaningful IoT devices that help us to reduce risk, automate the mundane, and in doing so provide a higher quality of life. And while I fully take responsibility for the programming of the device, leaving work early, and involving the police, this experience opens up some interesting complexities that I had not thought of before this incident.
I did reprogram Stanley not to run unless I am home, and hopefully, an event like this won’t happen again. As for my dog. The dog is safe; I found him sitting in a recliner chair in my office - he didn’t look too happy when he saw me. I’m sure the screeching alarm hurt his ears, and that’s probably the reason for his silent protest. I gave him a few treats, then he came and sat on the chair next to my desk - where I logged back into work and finished my day.
I’d love to hear your stories about the IoT and data at the edge, post comments below or share them directly with me on Twitter @hawkinsjohn.
John Hawkins is vice president, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Hawkins is an author, speaker, writer, strategist, and technologist with over 20 years of consulting experience to Fortune 25-500+ companies, where he provided services to many of the large cloud providers. Find John on LinkedIn John M. Hawkins (LinkedIn) or Twitter at @hawkinsjohn (Twitter).

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