SOGETI UK BLOG

19thoct

Change in the IT industry does not only come quickly; it is accelerating. We have reached a point in the IT industry where technology is not only revolutionizing what is possible, it is completely re-designing industries from the bottom up. We have discussed disruptive design a lot in the past (see our research on the topic here), but that is not the focus of this article. In this article, I will discuss how the IT change impacts today’s industries, and how those industries must move towards a data-centric model to continue being prosperous in tomorrow’s world.

Why Data?

Today’s buzzwords largely originate from the introduction of the cloud. The cloud gave the power of huge server warehouses to small- and mid-level companies, by introducing a pay-by-use model. To build a large data center, for example, a company only has to pay for what they use, as opposed to paying for a collection of machines (physical or virtual). Because of the introduction of cloud, everyone is now able to create cutting-edge, intensive, and scalable solutions with relative ease.

As a result of this accessibility, we begin to see huge interest in highly scalable technologies. Just analyze today’s buzzwords. The Internet of Things is notorious for providing huge quantities of data about an environment. Predictive and prescriptive analytics allow us to attempt to predict the future and make the best decisions based on those predictions. Artificial Intelligence learns from massive data sets, and applies that knowledge to never before seen problems.

Tomorrow’s world is all about data, and today’s companies should consider becoming data-centric to remain relevant.

Becoming Data-Centric

When we discuss data centricity, there are two primary approaches that can be taken.

Data Providers

On one hand, a company may specialize in data that is proprietary, or otherwise hard to acquire. An automotive manufacturer, for example, may put sensors in their cars that detect driving habits. Such data would be very lucrative to automotive insurance companies, who would use that data to better understand what driving habits indicate risky driving, or correlate with more frequent insurance claims. Another example is social networks like Facebook, which turns user data into advertising profit.

Data Consumers

Data consumers are companies that take large data sets and extract value from them. Healthcare companies, for example, can use health statistics and data to better respond to patient needs. Cities and governments can use social data to monitor, predict, and prevent increased crime by analyzing factors that lead to increased crime rates.

The IT industry continues to give us reason to reconsider how we approach our business models. Being successful in tomorrow’s world no longer  means having the best product at the best price. Instead, being able to provide robust data or turn big data sets into value will be a very lucrative business model. Companies looking to stay relevant will need to consider the importance of data centricity moving forward, or risk being left behind.

Michael Pumper AUTHOR:
Mike Pumper started his career with Sogeti in 2011. Since then, his career has rapidly accelerated both internally within Sogeti and at his clients. Through working with clients, Mike has gained experience in a variety of topics at many levels of expertise. He started his career at Baxter Healthcare as a Java / Spring developer, working closely with the business to develop a portal application. Mike started at National Merit Scholarship Corporation late in 2011 as a technical lead and solution architect, overseeing a small team that created a critical internal Java / Spring application that is still in use by the business today. After the completion of the Java / Spring application, National Merit embarked on an ambitious modernization project utilizing Microsoft technologies, including C# and WCF. The project is done in service oriented architecture, which Mike is in charge of managing and designing. Mike also continues to act as the technical lead, mentoring and leading a team of on-shore and off-shore resources as the project progresses. Internally, Mike has been committed to contributing to Sogeti’s excellence in any way he can. Mike took charge of reforming the technical interviewing process in Chicago in 2013, which gave interviewers more tools to ensure that recruits meet the Sogeti standard of quality. Mike has also given talks and lectures for Sogeti consultants and his clients on a variety of topics, including JavaScript, MVC, MVP, and MVVM, dependency injection, design patterns, N-Tier architecture, service oriented architecture, and continuous integration.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Data structure, Digital strategy, Innovation, Internet of Things, Technology Outlook      
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Artificial intelligence is making a lot of promises for even the near future. We already have access to digital assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. It has already made great improvements in the healthcare industry. AI can even compose music, dream, and beat us at complex games like Go. All of these advancements are incredible, but why did they start appearing recently, and how far will we be able to push AI?

michaelpumperblog-image

Coming to Modern AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t new concepts. Modern AI has been a thought since the first digital computer was created around the 1940s. The recent excitement about AI has been escalating since the 1990s, leading up to today. In the modern era, we’ve watched Deep Blue defeat Gary Kasparov at chess and IBM’s Watson beat Ken Jennings at the trivia game Jeopardy! Even in our everyday lives, we interact with AI systems that correct our grammar in the context of a text message, or respond to questions we ask simply by asking them out loud.

Many companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, and others, are investing heavily in the continued growth of AI, and three key recent technologies are driving that investment.

  • Cloud Computing services make high infrastructure needs far more cost effective, meaning small AI teams can scale their projects much larger for a much smaller price.
  • Advancements in Big Data and Analytics have made huge data sets far more meaningful.
  • The advent of the Internet of Things acts as a source for big data, and also enables AI systems to interact with the real world, vastly increasing the possibilities for AI systems.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

The future of AI in the long term is difficult to predict. Much will depend on it and when we break many of the barriers standing in the way of technological leaps (creating an AI that fully understands natural language is still out of reach, for example).

We do know that things like self-driving cars, digital assistants, and autonomous robots are very close to being a reality. We will continue to see disruptive design in many industries as a result of AI research and development. It is not difficult to imagine delivery services run by autonomous drones, taxi services that have no drivers, or offices run by digital assistants.

All of the right pieces have fallen into place. The future of AI is only bounded by our own ability to innovate and disrupt.

Michael Pumper AUTHOR:
Mike Pumper started his career with Sogeti in 2011. Since then, his career has rapidly accelerated both internally within Sogeti and at his clients. Through working with clients, Mike has gained experience in a variety of topics at many levels of expertise. He started his career at Baxter Healthcare as a Java / Spring developer, working closely with the business to develop a portal application. Mike started at National Merit Scholarship Corporation late in 2011 as a technical lead and solution architect, overseeing a small team that created a critical internal Java / Spring application that is still in use by the business today. After the completion of the Java / Spring application, National Merit embarked on an ambitious modernization project utilizing Microsoft technologies, including C# and WCF. The project is done in service oriented architecture, which Mike is in charge of managing and designing. Mike also continues to act as the technical lead, mentoring and leading a team of on-shore and off-shore resources as the project progresses. Internally, Mike has been committed to contributing to Sogeti’s excellence in any way he can. Mike took charge of reforming the technical interviewing process in Chicago in 2013, which gave interviewers more tools to ensure that recruits meet the Sogeti standard of quality. Mike has also given talks and lectures for Sogeti consultants and his clients on a variety of topics, including JavaScript, MVC, MVP, and MVVM, dependency injection, design patterns, N-Tier architecture, service oriented architecture, and continuous integration.

Posted in: Big data, Business Intelligence, Cloud, communication, Developers, Digital strategy, High Performance Analytics, High Tech, Technology Outlook      
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“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” – George Orwell, 1984

Presentation1

On the surface, the Internet of Things brings with it an enormous potential  to  improve our quality of life. For one, IoT can bring simple luxuries, like  being able to  see who’s at the door from your smartphone or sending you a  notification when your  refrigerator detects that you are low on milk. For  another, IoT can help those who  truly need it, with smart  pacemakers helping regulate heartbeats and smart pill  bottles that monitor  medication usage. While these advancements are only the  beginning of  what IoT can bring, there are those who claim that we buy into these  advances at the hefty cost of our personal privacy.

 

Consider the brick-and-mortar fashion retailer Nordstrom. They recently experimented with customer tracking and image processing software, which they used to track customers as they walked around their stores. By triangulating cell phone Wi-Fi signals, Nordstrom was able to uniquely identify customers and track where they walked, what they looked at, and how long they looked. Additionally, they utilized image processing software to identify things like customers’ gender and mood. Several other retailers have also begun investing in similar technology.

This level of tracking may sound scary, but brick-and-mortar stores are actually late to the data mining scene. It of course sounds like a violation of privacy when you hear of a retailer tracking your physical movement, but consider what an eCommerce company like Amazon is capable of in comparison. Amazon can track you as you click around their website, in the same way Nordstrom was tracking customers walking around their stores. Amazon can create a profile on you, deducing your age, gender, interests, and other information. Using that information, they can launch targeted marketing campaigns, encouraging you to purchase an item you looked at but didn’t buy on your last visit, for example. How else could a company like Nordstrom compete, other than tracking you physically in the same way eCommerce sites like Amazon already do electronically?

In the case of Nordstrom, Amazon, and other companies, the big question is how much privacy we are willing to give up for the benefit that these technologies bring? Or, taking from the George Orwell quote, do we always want to prefer happiness over our freedom? It would seem that in general, Orwell is right, but only to a certain point. When considering investing in these data-rich technologies, there are three critical components for making sure customers are as comfortable and willing to engage as possible.

  • Be transparent. Notify your customers if they are being tracked, and be clear about what that data is being used for.
  • Anonymize Customer Data. Know where to draw the line. Storing generalized demographic data may be acceptable, but linking it identifiable information is not.
  • Offer an opt-out option. Making data sharing mandatory can make customers feel as though they’re under forced surveillance. Knowing they can opt out at any time will put minds at ease.

 

Michael Pumper AUTHOR:
Mike Pumper started his career with Sogeti in 2011. Since then, his career has rapidly accelerated both internally within Sogeti and at his clients. Through working with clients, Mike has gained experience in a variety of topics at many levels of expertise. He started his career at Baxter Healthcare as a Java / Spring developer, working closely with the business to develop a portal application. Mike started at National Merit Scholarship Corporation late in 2011 as a technical lead and solution architect, overseeing a small team that created a critical internal Java / Spring application that is still in use by the business today. After the completion of the Java / Spring application, National Merit embarked on an ambitious modernization project utilizing Microsoft technologies, including C# and WCF. The project is done in service oriented architecture, which Mike is in charge of managing and designing. Mike also continues to act as the technical lead, mentoring and leading a team of on-shore and off-shore resources as the project progresses. Internally, Mike has been committed to contributing to Sogeti’s excellence in any way he can. Mike took charge of reforming the technical interviewing process in Chicago in 2013, which gave interviewers more tools to ensure that recruits meet the Sogeti standard of quality. Mike has also given talks and lectures for Sogeti consultants and his clients on a variety of topics, including JavaScript, MVC, MVP, and MVVM, dependency injection, design patterns, N-Tier architecture, service oriented architecture, and continuous integration.

Posted in: Big data, e-Commerce, IBM, Internet of Things, privacy, Quality Assurance, Research, Technology Outlook, User Experience      
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28thjan

It can seem as though many tech articles focus on ways in which cutting-edge businesses can become even more cutting-edge. They describe how you should implement or approach new technology, as your company has bottomless funding, endless amounts of time, and limitless tolerance for risk. It is easy and understandable to immediately conclude that moving to cutting-edge technology is costly in reality, and that there is an inherent risk that you end up investing in nothing more than a passing fad. That assumption is an easy one to make, but it’s simply wrong.

Here are three reasons to invest in cutting-edge technology, even if you’re not on the cutting-edge now.

1.Reduce Future Costs of Cutting-Edge Upgrades

If you look at the landscape of cutting-edge technology over the last few years, one thing is abundantly clear – you can’t really know what the next generation of technology will look like. Moving to cutting-edge technology like mobile applications, cloud, and the Internet of Things means your infrastructure must become interoperable, using those same open standards. Even if you choose the wrong tech to invest in, your infrastructure will evolve to match best practices and standards, making the down payment on your next investment far smaller.

2. Re-Invent Core Business Offerings by Inspiring Innovation

New technology brings excitement and thrill. Introducing cutting-edge initiatives will encourage your people to come up with innovative solutions to old problems. By doing so, your team is encouraged to think outside of the box, and question old inefficient processes thought impossible to fix. Old processes that have been around for decades can be completely re-thought. For example:

  • How can you leverage mobile applications to grant sales associates real-time interaction with your data?
  • How can you leverage Internet connected sensors to increase efficiency of machine technicians?
  • How can GPS help fleet managers track and make adjustments in real time?

Re-think the basics, re-invent your business, and stay ahead of the curve.

3. Continue to be Relevant in a Diverse and Evolving Market

Of course there is risk in investing in new technology, but there is also a risk in not investing in it. Swiftly changing technology also means swift changes in every market. Look at the impact that Web 2.0 had on print media, or the impact that e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay had on brick-and-mortar stores. It’s very easy to look back on a time when Blockbuster declined to buy Netflix and laugh knowing what we know now, but the reality is that the same story happens every single year, just with different names.

Related Posts:

 

Michael Pumper AUTHOR:
Mike Pumper started his career with Sogeti in 2011. Since then, his career has rapidly accelerated both internally within Sogeti and at his clients. Through working with clients, Mike has gained experience in a variety of topics at many levels of expertise. He started his career at Baxter Healthcare as a Java / Spring developer, working closely with the business to develop a portal application. Mike started at National Merit Scholarship Corporation late in 2011 as a technical lead and solution architect, overseeing a small team that created a critical internal Java / Spring application that is still in use by the business today. After the completion of the Java / Spring application, National Merit embarked on an ambitious modernization project utilizing Microsoft technologies, including C# and WCF. The project is done in service oriented architecture, which Mike is in charge of managing and designing. Mike also continues to act as the technical lead, mentoring and leading a team of on-shore and off-shore resources as the project progresses. Internally, Mike has been committed to contributing to Sogeti’s excellence in any way he can. Mike took charge of reforming the technical interviewing process in Chicago in 2013, which gave interviewers more tools to ensure that recruits meet the Sogeti standard of quality. Mike has also given talks and lectures for Sogeti consultants and his clients on a variety of topics, including JavaScript, MVC, MVP, and MVVM, dependency injection, design patterns, N-Tier architecture, service oriented architecture, and continuous integration.

Posted in: Cloud, Data structure, e-Commerce, GPS, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, mobile applications, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Research, Social Aspects, Wearable technology, wearable technoloy      
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Enterprise-Security-300x200Security is critical to any successful software implementation. Especially recently, security breaches have received more and more press, and major data breaches have become PR nightmares for the companies involved. If there’s anything that these high profile security breaches have taught us, it’s that security cannot be an afterthought for your organisation. So what do you need to know before launching an IoT initiative? Below is a list of the top four security problems in IoT and their potential solutions.

Problem 1: IoT may increase your attack surface. Any device you add is another potential entry-point for a hacker. A hacker could potentially compromise / seize control of one of your devices, and could attempt to use it to access your systems.

The Solution: Use a pessimistic security strategy. All devices and service accounts need to be configured to have the minimum amount of permissions possible to perform their tasks. Only allow access for what is necessary. This can be configured in device-to-device firewalls, in your service account security settings, and in on-device firewalls.

Problem 2: Devices cannot always be stored in secure facilities. In some cases, you may need an IoT device to monitor something outside of your secure buildings. How do you prevent physical tampering? How do you stop someone from walking up to your devices and plugging in a USB drive to install malicious software?

The Solution: Monitoring, logging, and operating system-level security. Any actions that the device takes can be logged. Device up-time, down-time, and overall health should be monitored. Device operating systems should be configured for secure boot, which will require all software to be signed and validated when starting up to ensure authenticity. Any software that cannot be validated should not be allowed to run, which will prevent malicious programs from running.

Problem 3: IoT devices are autonomous – nobody is present to enter credentials. IoT devices might be asked to execute commands on demand. Since they are designed to be autonomous and not require user interaction, the devices need to decide whether a command should actually be executed or not.

The Solution: Treat devices like external users. All devices should be required to connect to your network just like any external user – with an authentication method that can prove that the device is who / what it claims that it is. Be careful not to share one account for all of your devices however; the goal is to establish accountability or traceability. Pair this with a pessimistic security strategy as discussed above.

Problem 4: Not many standards exist in IoT. As an emerging technology, many devices and their packaged software use their own ports and protocols. How do you deal with all of these different approaches in your IoT implementation in a secure manner?

The Solution: Use accepted standards where possible, and add device-level security. Sending data from a device to your infrastructure can be done using standards that have emerged from service orientation (REST for example). For non-standard protocols or non-standard ports, the software itself is the only thing that really knows how to detect suspicious packets / data. IoT devices need to have their own security layer to identify and reject suspicious or abnormal requests. Server-to-server firewalls will be required as well, but an on-device firewall will also be a must.

Security cannot be an afterthought. IoT is an emerging technology, which means security will not be guaranteed with out-of-the-box enterprise implementations. Remember to consider security early on in the process of launching an IoT implementation, and always consider your “what if?” scenarios. Emerging technology does not have to be frightening, but it does need to be strategic.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: Security in Emerging IoT: The Top 4 Problems and their Solutions

Related Posts:

  1. Cloud Security is a Shared Responsibility
  2. Internet of things: Interconnection means new security and testing capabilities
  3. The Winds of Change in Cloud Security
  4. The Smart City Needs To Deal With The Same Problems As The Internet

Michael Pumper AUTHOR:
Mike Pumper started his career with Sogeti in 2011. Since then, his career has rapidly accelerated both internally within Sogeti and at his clients. Through working with clients, Mike has gained experience in a variety of topics at many levels of expertise. He started his career at Baxter Healthcare as a Java / Spring developer, working closely with the business to develop a portal application. Mike started at National Merit Scholarship Corporation late in 2011 as a technical lead and solution architect, overseeing a small team that created a critical internal Java / Spring application that is still in use by the business today. After the completion of the Java / Spring application, National Merit embarked on an ambitious modernization project utilizing Microsoft technologies, including C# and WCF. The project is done in service oriented architecture, which Mike is in charge of managing and designing. Mike also continues to act as the technical lead, mentoring and leading a team of on-shore and off-shore resources as the project progresses. Internally, Mike has been committed to contributing to Sogeti’s excellence in any way he can. Mike took charge of reforming the technical interviewing process in Chicago in 2013, which gave interviewers more tools to ensure that recruits meet the Sogeti standard of quality. Mike has also given talks and lectures for Sogeti consultants and his clients on a variety of topics, including JavaScript, MVC, MVP, and MVVM, dependency injection, design patterns, N-Tier architecture, service oriented architecture, and continuous integration.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Business Intelligence, communication, Developers, Digital strategy, integration tests, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Security, Technology Outlook, Transformation      
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