Autodesk, Inc. has announced that it intends to invest up to $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Spark Investment Fund, which will
Autodesk, Inc. has announced that it intends to invest up to $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Spark Investment Fund, which will
Google, Apple, Samsung and Amazon – the leading tech companies of the world would have you believe that designing devices and software for the internet of things is technically challenging, expensive, and requires great expertise. How else could they justify charging some of the sky-high prices for their latest products?
A twenty three year old is now challenging that notion with ‘SAM’ – dubbed as being the ‘lego of the internet’. Its aim is to offer an electronics kit made up of wireless, rechargeable, Bluetooth-connected modules that enable kids – along with anyone else without coding knowledge – to build everything from smart doorbells to intelligent home appliances.
Its developer – an entrepreneur called Joachim Horn – hopes to encourage budding engineers and inventors to create games, products and apps for the ‘Internet of Things’, where everyday objects can send and receive data through the web. “I was always scared of the dark magic of electrical engineering,” he said. “Stuff never works, there’s always a bug, and you can’t duct tape it into correctness… I wanted to find a way to make it fun for people to learn circuitry and coding. [I wanted to build a] human-centred model that would be easy to use and that taught you while you worked with it”.
By using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Horn has easily smashed his £50,000 target, eventually closing with 817 backers and £125,546 when the investment window closed. He plans to use the raised capital to make SAM networks accessible from smartphone, and design more aesthetically pleasing casings for the components. Ultimately he hopes to add another round of funding that will be in the region of £1 million – thus allowing him to develop more advanced components such as accelerometers, LCD screens, and camera modules.
Currently SAM is only three months old, and while Horn thinks it will help “level the playing field” to allow more people and start-ups to enter the sector with low levels of investment, easy prototypes, and increased autonomy, it has already seen some impressive products developed by enthusiasts and early adopters.
An eight-year-old used the SAM app, two motors, and three proximity sensors to build a self-driven car that moves round his room and dodges obstacles, a British man in a long distance relationship with a woman in Rome made a mailbox flag that is raised whenever he gets an email from her, and SAMs were used to create glasses that tell a blind person where to walk to depending on their surroundings.
Given how much can be designed and stylised with Lego, the possibilities for SAM appear endless at this stage. What do you think? What would you design if you had a SAM kit? Let us know in the comments below.
By Daniel Price
Many years ago I was introduced to the concepts that comprise the visual architecture process. During the process of learning about the concepts and process of visual architecture, I adopted many of the concepts, ideas and tools to use in my own processes.
In particular, there was a component that has resonated for me all these years later. To create a positive vision statement about a solution by looking forward 5 years after a successful implementation of the overall solution and reviewing the what and how of success.
I’ve been talking and arguing quite a bit about the need for a unifying theory related to the overall concept of a cloud transformation framework. The loosely coupled solutions companies, governments and even individuals could use to securely and happily move their solution to a cloud service provider. The Rosetta Stone for cloud migrations.
How did we end up with a flexible vendor-neutral cloud transformation framework?
First off it wasn’t easy. A number of CSP’s built their own cloud transformation frameworks (CTF) so the initial work we had to do was sort through all the different frameworks to find the right mix of components to have a rationalized framework.
The creation of a standards body that was comprised of CSP’s, SI’s, interested organizations and members from various leading cloud standards groups was the next step. That took some time more because of all the different CTF’s that were out there and because of the overall politics. Luckily there were the cloud neutral sites such as CloudTweaks, that kept us on track. See the whole cloud not just the part you are considering.
The biggest hurdle ended up being the move. We had to push CTF programs to governance within the various architectural groups that were out there. CTF’s weren’t just moving data and applications from on premise solutions to cloud solutions they were about shifting governance to a new model.
Getting people to see in the end that it was about governance and shifting governance to a new cloud-based solution brought the whole thing together. The last hurdle that we cleared recently, in fact, was the terminology. That was a kettle of fish to open. Different parts of the industry (customer, provider, support) had different views of words and their meaning.
Developing building and in the end agreeing to the common taxonomy of cloud transformation terms was the fun part. We agreed that the term migration meant you were moving the user’s security information, the application, the data and in the end any connections and interfaces to any other system. We agreed that a cloud transition could have steps but for the most part should be an automated move of resources from one system to another. A cloud transformation was the concept of improving the processes, procedures and the application itself.
We got there. We developed common data standards, common definitions of terms and words and finally we had a great party. The first successful cloud transitions happened within weeks. The first big cloud transformations began happening almost right away.
It’s how we built the Cloud Transformation and Transition Framework.
By Scott Andersen
A new report from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech reveals that huge iPhone 6 demand helped Apple last quarter, with the company seeing market share increases in various European markets. However, Apple’s market share actually dropped in Apple’s home country during the period, hitting 32.6% in the September quarter, a 3.3% drop compared to last year. FROM EARLIER: You might not be able to find an …
Since users of Fitbit have unwittingly shared their ‘sexual workouts’ with the whole of the world wide web, the reasons why 8 out of 10 people have privacy concerns over wearable devices become apparent rather quickly. As wearables surround us, the things they measure — and potentially make public– become more important to us, in the sense of us not willing to share them with the rest of the world.
Users of wearables want not only control over their data, but also, as in the case of Fitbit, expect the handlers of data not to expose such information that may embarrass or harm the user.
After taking a quick look at some random user profiles at Endomondo, a popular app with mobile tracking software, I was positively disenchanted with the way they handle data. The default policy seems to be that the duration and time, along with the actual route (in the case of activities for which GPS tracking is used) of the workout is shared publicly with the users of Endomondo. At least that it was so for a dozen or so accounts I checked.
It goes without saying that the data I saw is only important for me as I write this article. I can only guess what someone would do with my Endomondo stats–the best conclusion would be that I’m terrible at schedules and am a lazy runner. On the other hand, thieves (or someone worse) can use a user’s statistics as ‘data leverage’ for their misdeeds. It becomes a matter of waiting for the victim’s long weekend run before burglarizing their home once you know at what times and for how long someone exercises.
Similarly, Adam Tanner of Forbes chronicled the debates within the company of Yale Zhang, a medical device entrepreneur in Atlanta. The data his company’s health trackers collect, like the blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and perfusion index, is interesting not only to their users. It potentially appeals to data buyers and marketers as well, especially if coupled with the possibility to advertise directly to or identify the users.
Zhang is wondering whether or not, and if so — in what way — to monetize that data. One might say what the article lacked was an image of Zhang holding the proverbial skull, but the question still lingers. It is clear that it’s not the responsibility of the carrier to merely wipe their legal hands clean with lengthy Terms & Conditions. They have to make sure that, if users do want to share their data, they are given direct control over how it gets shared and with whom. Otherwise, things are bound to get ugly, or embarrassing, quick.
(Image Source: Shutterstock)
By Lauris Veips
Over the last two days we’ve looked at whether or not Shadow IT is a opportunity or a threat, and the security risks that unapproved apps pose to businesses and organisations. To conclude the mini-series, today we look at a new report that’s been released by Netskope. The ‘Netskope Cloud Report’ typically compiles the most interesting trends on cloud app adoption and usage based on aggregated, anonymised data from the Netskope Active Platform.
The key theme in the Q3 report for 2014 is how mobile devices have been using the cloud. They note that more than half of all ‘send’ or ‘approve’ activities occur on mobile, and a shockingly high number of activity-based policy violations also occur on the platform. The most frequent offenders aren’t social, but largely “prosumer” apps – demonstrating that IT departments are still finding it difficult to move employees on to a single, approved app for a single, specific purpose.
In total, businesses are using on average a mammoth 579 cloud apps, of which a worryingly high 88.7 percent are not enterprise ready – failing to meet standards in either security, auditability, or business continuity. To reinforce the belief that Shadow IT is spiralling out of control, Netskope cite one business which used more than 3,000 apps. As we discussed on Monday, this is a huge problem for IT departments, especially given more than one-third of all policy violations are currently occurring via mobile apps.
With the exception of ubiquitous apps such as Dropbox and Evernote, line-of-business apps are the most common. Marketing apps are the most common (60 per business), then human resources (36), finance/accounting (29), and CRM (24). Of those apps, the threat posed to an organisation’s security is vast – 98 percent of marketing apps are not enterprise ready, 96 percent of HR, 98 percent of finance and 91 percent of CRM.
Policy violations can take many forms – ranging from downloading personally-identifiable information from an HR app to a mobile device, to alerting when users share documents in cloud storage apps with someone outside of the company. With 44 percent of all download activities occurring on mobile devices, and with 40 percent of all sharing happening via mobile, it’s quickly apparent why IT departments struggle to track, update and manage the Shadow IT within an organisation.
In terms of the apps with the largest volume of policy violations, the top five categories which offend most frequently are cloud storage, CRM, collaboration, HR, and finance. From these categories, the five activities which most frequently constitute policy violations are logins, views, downloads, edits and uploads.
The top ten apps that violate IT policy were also highlighted in the report. The high usage of these apps by employees should provide yet another serious concern for IT departments.
What do you think? Do you use these apps at work? Perhaps your employer has banned them? Let us know in the comments below.
By Dan Price
Gartner’s top 10 strategy technology trends cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.
Since starting in March as head of Ericsson’s newly created cloud unit, Jason Hoffman, 42, has helped orchestrate a takeover of a California software provider and struck a partnership with a security company to bolster his division and differentiate its offering. While information-technology giants such as International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp.
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