Another step toward gesture based computing

You may have seen some on the analysis that is taking place related to Google Soli, which is being viewed with a great deal of excitement (even though it will not be out until next year).

There has been significant work in this space over the years with Leap Motion (focused on hand based gestures) and Microsoft Kinect (addressing whole body or room scale sensing) with numerous examples of special application interfaces.

The first time I recall writing about gesture-based interfaces was back in 2007, although the Wii came out in 2006 (hard to believe that was almost a decade ago). The excitement about Soli did surprise me since the Leap Motion technology is available today (version 2.2.6 was released this week) and can do many of the same levels of gesture sensing (although it doesn’t have the same range as Soli).

In any case, I think we’ll see a whole new level of experimentation in how computers and humans can interface in a more intuitive fashion – and that’s a great thing.

New approach to power #IoT

plug in economyOne of the great things about Moore’s law that is sometimes overlooked is that even though computing capabilities have expanded at a tremendous rate, the power consumption for those same transistors that are being packed together have gone down at an even faster rate.

This announcement from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign of the demonstration of a high-performance 3D micro-battery suitable for large-scale, on-chip integration may have long-lasting impact to the Internet of Things.

“Due to the complexity of 3D electrodes, it is generally difficult to realize such batteries, let alone the possibility of on-chip integration and scaling. In this project, we developed an effective method to make high-performance 3D lithium-ion microbatteries using processes that are highly compatible with the fabrication of microelectronics,” – Hailong Ning, a MatSE graduate student

If this technology can be produced reliably, I’d expect it to show up in many ways quickly, since access to a power source is critical to any sensing or distributed computing approach, allowing for greater flexibility in where to place ‘things’. Having the manufacturing process compatible with the chip making process should make for rapid adoption.

Expect more from IoT

planningRecently there was a post in Forbes titled In Search of the True Value in The Internet of Things. This post narrowed down the value statement to:

The real value lies in being able to capture and analyze the data that comes from the sensors at the endpoints of IoT — and that needs to be the few nuggets of data that are of material value to the business.

It does make me wonder if the author overlooked the new business model possibilities. It is not just about capturing and analyzing, it also include the action taken by which actors for the company and its entire ecosystem. As everything ‘gets smarter’ there should be more options available and more time to execute those options. At the same time we see larger and more powerful arrays of processors, we also see them moving into more places and processes.

One of the great questions that remains is what should ‘we’ be doing differently now that computing’s impact moves both deeper and broader into the business?

The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. -William Pollard

And not Or

and not or (logic)I was in an exchange the other day with some folks talking about their perspective that all companies need to be using cloud computing. I agree, but my view is slightly different. My perspective is that depending on the company’s size, needs and applications they will likely continue to have in house systems. It’s not a choice between things, but a choice among things and an acceptance of the way things are and one answer doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. You can’t look at it as: clouds the answer, now what’s the question?

Mobile computing is similar. It is the future interface of the enterprise, not really something special anymore. Embracing mobile devices and cloud computing will have a game changing effect, but it is not about the infrastructure but what we do with them and people want to do those things everywhere.

There are a number of other trends taking place like the IoT that are also shifting how organizations think about computing. It is interesting how this term is changing and how various organizations are trying to name it. It used to be ubiquitous computing, some call it ambient computing, but most still use the Internet of Things.

In any case the aggregation of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents will shift how organizations generate value and shift IT to focus on systems of action.

Internet of Things Units Installed Base by Category (in Millions)

 Category 2013 2014 2015 2020
Automotive 96.0 189.6 372.3 3,511.1
Consumer 1,842.1 2,244.5 2.874.9 13,172.5
Generic Business 395.2 479.4 623.9 5,158.6
Vertical Business 698.7 836.5 1,009.4 3,164.4
Grand Total 3,032.0 3,750.0 4,880.6 25,006.6

Source: Gartner (November 2014)

Many still look at these opportunities primarily from an infrastructure perspective, but I definitely do not. It is about the business and the hardware side is a small (but necessary) part. Organizations that will compete effectively in the coming years are going to shift their thinking to “and” and not “or” foundation. It is not all about IT, but IT has a role in enabling this flexibility.

By the way the output of the And not Or logic circuit illustration is always a one –> true.