Tag: Cisco

WoTD: Servitization

Monday, 1 August, 2016 0 Comments

“I spent the past week at the University of Birmingham in England with a group of 16 Operations and Economics Professors from across Europe,” wrote Rosemary Coates on 6 July in Supply Chain Management Review. She was there to lecture and to represent the Reshoring Institute, which provides “research and support for companies bringing manufacturing back to America.” As we know, manufacturing jobs will be one of the hottest topics in the so-called Rust Belt states during the US presidential campaign, and both candidates have made their positions on the subject clear.

In her blogpost, Ms Coates noted, “Some of the biggest buzz of the week was around the idea of Industry 4.0 (the Internet of Things) and Servitization.” What might appear to some as a misspelling there, “servitization,” is a real word. But what is it?

“This is the process of companies transforming from simply producing a product to including service in the total product offering. The complete product package includes field service, service level agreements and pricing for spares and replacement parts. European manufacturers are way ahead in Servitization.

Some American companies such as Cisco Systems have been including product services and consulting services in their product offerings for many years. But US companies like Cisco, that understand a fully integrated product offering and co-sell product and services, are few and far between.”

The etymology here involves creating a word from “service + -ization.” One assumes “serviceization” was considered unspellable and so we got “servitization” instead. In jargon-speak, “servitization is a transformation journey that involves firms developing the capabilities to provide solutions that supplement their traditional offerings.”


Cisco + Jasper = $1.4 billion IoT bet

Thursday, 4 February, 2016 0 Comments

Why has Cisco just spent $1.4 billion on acquiring Jasper Technologies, the developer of an Internet of Things cloud platform? $1.4 billion is an awful lot of money and an “Internet of Things cloud platform” sounds very nebulous, so what’s the big deal? Well, for its money Cisco is buying a company that really knows the booming Internet of Things (IoT) industry and that’s a big deal, indeed.

Terminology note: IoT means connected machines talking to one another via the internet. Example: a factory floor equipped with intelligent robots, a road filled with smart cars, a wind farm stocked with connected turbines or a home furnished with thinking thermostats.

Rob Salvagno, Cisco VP of Corporate Business Development, wrote a blog post yesterday stating that “Cisco’s Intent to Acquire Jasper is All About Making IoT Simple, Scalable and Interoperable.” Snippet:

“When I first met the CEO, Jahangir Mohammad, I was immediately impressed with his visionary approach to the opportunities available in IoT and his foresight in building a unique business to capture those opportunities. 10 years ago, when everyone was focused on flip phones and the early adoption of smartphones, Jahangir and team focused their energies on connecting everything else, including GPS units, cars, security systems and point of sale devices. This early insight has proved fruitful, and now many millions of ‘things’ are connected to the network and working on Jasper’s platform.”

IoT systems generate huge amounts of data and a platform is needed to process, manage and make sense of it all. The cloud is where the action is because companies can scale up as the IoT-generated data volume grows and grows and grows. Acquiring Jasper is a big bet, but a smart one from Cisco’s point of view because its core strength is networking and the IoT is all about the network.


As cities get smarter

Friday, 11 October, 2013 0 Comments

There will be nine billion people on this planet by 2050 and the number of mega cities — defined as those with more than 10 million residents — is set to rise from 24 at the moment to 100 by the middle of this century. As a result, IT that helps cities better manage their resources will be big business. Intel, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, GE, BMW, Siemens and many others are looking to use software and sensors to guide urban development by analyzing and visualizing the big data sets that will be amassed daily in cities. The goal is the “smart city,” where sustainability, technology, security and economic opportunity integrate, and the idea is to use water, power, transportation systems and communication networks much more efficiently.

To get to there from here, new thinking is needed and IBM’s “People for Smarter Cities” initiative is encouraging urban dwellers to think laterally. Take billboards. They’re ubiquitous, so why not have them do something practical along with selling stuff? How about adding a simple curve to the top or bottom of a billboard to create shelter or seating for passers by?

Enabling the future city with its smart grids, smart transport, smart waste management and smart building systems is going to be one of the major 21st century challenges, but the benefits will be enormous for the players — telcos, IT companies, utilities providers and property developers — who successfully harness the technologies needed to for the task. We’re still a long way from living in the data-driven cities that many have been envisioning, but the conversation has started.


If coding is the new black why are you wearing blue?

Monday, 6 May, 2013 0 Comments

One of the reasons the Mashable website is so popular is that it exudes positivity. Sure, there are viral cat videos, but it’s mostly tech optimism. Typical of the genre is the recent article by Adam Popescu, “Coding Is the Must-Have Job Skill of the Future.” Not content with that broad statement, he adds that “Coding is the new black,” and he quotes Hank Leber, CEO and cofounder of the data-sharing utility GonnaBe, who calls coding the new literacy. “Leber cites the growing unemployment rate and diminishing prospects for newly-minted college graduates as motivators,” writes Popescu.

But is that really true? If coding is so cool and it’s where the jobs really are, why are millions of Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Irish and lots of Americans signing on for welfare instead of learning MySQL or to how to administer Cisco and Linux? On the face of it, getting a job as a programmer appears easy as it doesn’t require a particular degree or training. Indeed, programming or system administration can be learned by anyone anywhere who has a personal computer and an internet connection. That being the case, it’s perplexing that millions of jobless Americans haven’t learned to code. And neither have millions of up-and-coming Chinese, Indians and Africans who could, theoretically, make fortunes if they learned the skills needed to turn First-World customer needs into working code. Here’s an e-commerce website that the government of California has spent $327 million upon, and it still isn’t finished. Coders from less wasteful cultures would surely have completed the job for less.

As it happens, there’s a good reason why everyone isn’t a good programmer. Simply, the job is not for everyone. Jeff Atwood, who runs the excellent Coding Horror blog, put up a post titled “So You Don’t Want to be a Programmer After All” last week and it contains some sobering insights for those dreaming of instant app riches. According to Atwood, it all comes down to one word: passion. If you don’t have a passion for software, you won’t be a good programmer and you would be better off doing something else. Coding may be cool in some quarters, and the software field does offer great opportunities, but according to Mashable’s rival, The Verge, Orange is the New Black. Talking of memes, Lucy Kellaway, management columnist with the Financial Times, is adamant that “White is not the new black.” She concludes, “Black is black, white is white.” Hard to argue with that. Punditry is, by a mile, the best job of all. Unlike coding, where logic counts, the pundit can say whatever she wants, no matter how obvious or vague.


City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

Thursday, 2 August, 2012

It is August after all, so it’s not too early to be thinking about things like the-book-of-the-year awards. Top of the list right now is City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age by PD Smith. The scope is vast and the writing is superb. Snippets: “Like so many aspects of urban life, infrastructure is not […]

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