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Last year I wrote about how Cloud redefines the platform we develop in It’s the platform, stupid. With the recent release of Windows 10, the platform vision becomes even more pronounced. Windows 10 is not just a new version of the Windows operating system; it’s the last version. There will be regular updates with new features and feature changes, to evolve Windows 10. It is not likely however that it will get a new version label like Windows 11. This idea is not new. Do you know the version number of Firefox or Chrome that you are running? And do you really care? These and many other applications areupdated (almost) silently to the latest “version”. Like services in the Cloud you benefit from improvements, without having to pay extra.

Windows 10 platform

Silent updates are not just for your benefit. For the vendor too, it means maintaining only one version. Microsoft currently needs to maintain five different versions of Windows, from Vista up to Windows 10. This means that if there’s any issue in one of them, Microsoft needs to check the other versions as well. If all five of them contain the issue, it needs to be fixed and tested five times!! As the older versions of Windows phase out, Microsoft will save on maintenance cost. On the other hand, no new version also means Microsoft can’t earn money from people upgrading. Microsoft needs the services around Windows to make money, which is also why Windows 10 is not just a new operating system, but rather a platform to build on.

By making Windows a universal platform across devices, Microsoft can leverage other services it provides and rely on Windows to sell these services. For developers, it means they can create a single App that works on any device. PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, and HoloLens are (mostly) the same, and silent updates ensure the features set across devices with Windows are the same. That alleviates developers from having to write software that takes into account the differences between versions of Windows, just the form factor. In a sense Windows becomes “just” another service to build on in the platform.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: It’s the Windows 10 Platform, Stupid!

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Michiel van Otegem AUTHOR:
Michiel van Otegem is Principal Architect for the Microsoft Business Line at Sogeti Netherlands. In that role he advises clients on strategy and architecture for the Microsoft platform in conjunction with other technologies, specifically focusing on Cloud and Integration. Although focused on Microsoft, Michiel has broad knowledge of other technologies and integration between technologies.

Posted in: architecture, Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Cloud, Developers, Digital strategy, Marketing, Microsoft, Opinion, Transformation      
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HoloLensLast month, Microsoft surprised us with the introduction of HoloLens, a ‘holographic’, augmented-reality headset. HoloLens is an extremely impressive piece of technology, but I was even more struck by the vision behind it (see the video). HoloLens, unlike Google Glass or a smart watch, is feeding you information that’s also available on your smart phone. It blends your physical surrounding with a digital world, changing the way you see the world, as Microsoft puts it.

The Good

I see enormous potential in HoloLens. Learning, design, exploration, communication, gaming, and entertainment can all benefit from this technology. As my 10-year old daughter put it: “cool!”

The Bad

My 11-year old, Minecraft-addicted son is less impressed. I expected him to dig the immersive Minecraft experience HoloLens can bring. Instead, he argued that you’d be walking through the Minecraft environment like a giant, totally ruining the experience. I reasoned with him that it would be a nice learning tool that could show you how to do something in 3D, so you’d only have to mimic it. He told me that you learn stuff better if you found out yourself how it worked, and he’s absolutely right. In other words: don’t change something that’s already great.

The Ugly

My wife thinks HoloLens is scary. The next step in disconnecting ourselves from the people around us. If a smart phone can already disrupt our attention from people in front of us (see our VINT Report “The Dark Side of Social Media”), what will happen with an immersive experience like HoloLens?

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To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: HoloLens: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Michiel van Otegem AUTHOR:
Michiel van Otegem is Principal Architect for the Microsoft Business Line at Sogeti Netherlands. In that role he advises clients on strategy and architecture for the Microsoft platform in conjunction with other technologies, specifically focusing on Cloud and Integration. Although focused on Microsoft, Michiel has broad knowledge of other technologies and integration between technologies.

Posted in: Innovation, Microsoft, Technology Outlook      
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WP_20141113_002I have a new car and I love it.

To achieve better fuel efficiency, it tells me when to shift and this has made me more aware on how much fuel I use. The display in my new car can show me this in real-time, however while driving home yesterday I noticed something odd.

When I drove 130 km/h, the car used the same amount of fuel when driving 100 km/h in the same gear (as suggested by the car). My assumption was that 100 km/h was too slow for that particular gear. I tested this assumption by shifting back a gear on the next 100 km/h stretch. Even though my car was telling me to shift to 6th gear, I found that in 5th gear the car used 0.3 l/100km less fuel. This morning I tried again, and found no difference between 5th and 6th gear. Apparently there are environmental factors (e.g wind, incline, engine temperature etc.) that influence which gear is most efficient. The algorithm in my car doesn’t take this into account. It just looks at speed and acceleration to determine the right gear.

We could try to make the algorithm smarter, but that is a flawed approach; the premise that we can create an algorithm upfront that makes the best calculation is fundamentally wrong. This is a perfect case for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning as through learning it can figure out when to use which gear based on telemetry data. This shouldn’t only be used in my car but all the cars worldwide; there are approximately 1 billion cars in the world and assuming these drive an average of 10,000 km a year, saving just 0.1 l/100km would save 1 trillion liters of fuel per year.

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To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: SAVE THE PLANET WITH MACHINE LEARNING

 

 

Michiel van Otegem AUTHOR:
Michiel van Otegem is Principal Architect for the Microsoft Business Line at Sogeti Netherlands. In that role he advises clients on strategy and architecture for the Microsoft platform in conjunction with other technologies, specifically focusing on Cloud and Integration. Although focused on Microsoft, Michiel has broad knowledge of other technologies and integration between technologies.

Posted in: Automation Testing, Azure, Business Intelligence      
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www.cdiscount.com/For years we’ve built applications that assume the system is only used from a single location. As a result most applications work with local time, with the local time set to the time zone the application lives in. So an application of one of our Dutch customers would run in UTC/GMT +1, whereas the reservation site of a Las Vegas hotel would run in Pacific Standard Time (UTC/GMT-8) or Pacific Daylight Time (UTC/GMT-7) depending on the time of the season. You could think that there is no problem, after all the systems work as they are supposed to. There are however at least two problems.

Applications are interconnected

Suppose the application of our Dutch customer would interact with the reservation system of the Las Vegas system, for instance to get information about the latest time a reservation can be cancelled. The systems would need to agree which time to use, and make a conversion when necessary. That is possible but cumbersome, for instance because Daylight Saving Time starts and end on different days.

Time zone is not the same on every machine

If we move an application to another machine, we have to be sure the time zone is the same on the new machine, otherwise the chance is pretty good the application runs into problems. Any operation comparing stored time data against local time would yield different results.

Cloud Platform Time

In Cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, all machines use the same time: UTC. And when using their PaaS instances, Microsoft recommends not changing that (see bit.ly/azuretimezone). The best solution is to use UTC anywhere where date/time stored, queried, or manipulated. Only format date/time as local time for input or output. UTC is the universal time zone: Cloud Standard Time (CST).

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: CLOUD STANDARD TIME (CST)

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Michiel van Otegem AUTHOR:
Michiel van Otegem is Principal Architect for the Microsoft Business Line at Sogeti Netherlands. In that role he advises clients on strategy and architecture for the Microsoft platform in conjunction with other technologies, specifically focusing on Cloud and Integration. Although focused on Microsoft, Michiel has broad knowledge of other technologies and integration between technologies.

Posted in: Business Intelligence, Cloud, communication, Digital, Microsoft      
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