Session from InterConnect – IoT In The Enterprise

Firstly I’d like to thank Chris Miller from Connectria who wrote and submitted the original abstract then kindly let me have the session when he had a scheduling conflict.  Any issues or problems with the content are down to me not Chris so please don’t hold him responsible 🙂

The original abstract was

Enabling Internet of Things (IoT) so your employees and your customers can have a simplified experience with new services and products sounds exciting. In this session, we will dig into the top ten risks that come with the IoT experience. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of IoT and associated threats, there are risks in allowing access to your enterprise resources. Custom firmware, embedded operating systems and wi-fi connectivity of IoT devices offer many possible areas for exploits and misuse. Come explore current security offerings and get a first look at best practices. Walk away with an immediate checklist to benefit your enterprise as it deploys and offers IoT access.

There are several aspects to IoT in the Enterprise which are important to the world of collaborative working

  1. IoT devices generate a huge amount of data. That data has to be analysed and actioned.  In a presentation at InterConnect IBM made the point that 80% of data analysts’ time is spent on cleanup and scrubbing not analysis.  Although we have had access to big data for many years, most companies simply haven’t gotten their heads around how to work with it.  That’s going to become more and more critical as IoT devices start to appear in companies.
  2. Security is a huge issue with IoT devices that are still primarily designed for consumer use.  Most devices still transfer data over HTTP (even authentication data) and security has not been a priority.  The introduction of blockchain technologies such as the one IBM has developed is the best chance for having secure IoT devices but we’re not there yet.
  3. IoT is really the beginning of Industry 4.0 with 3.0 being “the internet” 2.0 being “the conveyor belt” and 1.0 being “steampower”.  Consider that your company is on the precipice of the beginning of the internet. You’ve heard of it, you wonder where it’s going to take you, you might be considering something called email.  Well IoT is going to change your business and give you the same kind of opportunities to leap ahead of your competitors as the Internet did.  This isn’t something you can choose to ignore.
  4. The technology might not yet be there but now is the time to consider how you would change your business processes if you could access any data and use it in any way.  Again, consider the changes in processes pre Internet and now.
  5. Being able to analyse data , redesign business processes on the fly and take action is all in the DNA of those of us who have worked for years in the ICS community.
    Data Analysis = WATSON
    Business Process Action = WATSON APIs

I will be presenting (hopefully with Chris) on this at Engage in Antwerp on May 9th. You can register for that here

My InterConnect & Where To Now

The post is purely my opinion.  It comes from love for my ICS community and excitement about what the future offers.  Your opinion may differ 🙂

InterConnect isn’t quite over, there’s still tomorrow but I feel confident I can write this blog now and I want to share it whilst the ideas are still bouncing around my head. At least some of the ideas. I don’t want to write pages here and I could.

A bit of background.  I went to Orlando as part of the ICS (IBM Collaboration Solution) conference for over 20 years and this year I went to Connect in San Francisco.  Then 4 weeks later three of us flew from London to Las Vegas to attend Interconnect.

I didn’t expect InterConnect to be anything like Connect.  Looking at the website and sessions it was clear this was on a very different scale. The number I heard was 20k people at InterConnect which was held at the Mandalay Bay convention centre.  Much as I enjoy Connect I remember the Lotuspheres of the mid 90s when the numbers of people were overwhelming, when there were more sessions to see than I could possibly fit in, when I would wander the showfloor for an entire afternoon just absorbing what was happening in the industry.  If I’m honest that feeling of excitement, or leaving the conference with my head bursting with things to learn had been missing the past few years.

I will say I left Connect this year more excited by the technology than I have been in years but it didn’t have the energy – the feeling of rushing along at the head of technological innovation and change that I remember from its heyday.  I have missed that.

What did I want from  InterConnect ?

I wanted to be inspired.  And maybe a bit overwhelmed.  I wanted my brain to spark with ideas.

I got all of that.

The first thing to realise is that sessions at InterConnect almost exclusively do not teach you how to do things, no how to write code or how to install or maintain things.  The sessions (IMO) are more intended to show you what can be done, what’s happening with different divisions of IBM and technologies.  Oh, and no-one knows who ICS is or cares about email or Domino or Collaboration.  I didn’t see , speak or hear about any of the ICS products all week.  So this isn’t about “our” technology directly and that’s fine – I know about that and there are many many great user groups every year I can attend for free that have sessions telling me “how’.   I will leave InterConnect having learnt about technologies and parts of IBM I had no idea existed and with a plan to go learn more.

None of those things move me away from ICS in fact I couldn’t help thinking how well our ICS community would understand and be able to bring value to these technologies.  I would see sessions on NoSQL and wish Mark Myers were there or on Blockchain and security and wish Andrew Pollack was there so I’d have someone to talk to about it, on data analysis and even storage.  I attended 6 sessions on Monday alone and not once, not once, was I bored. I could sit here right now and write abstracts for friends I know are amazing presenters on technologies that not only belong at InterConnect/WOW but that our community has a unique perspective on.  A best practices track at InterConnect is missing and we would rock that.

There’s also the issue of perspective. The ICS community in my opinion has closed in on itself in many ways, has become insular and narrow focused but being at InterConnect you can’t help see how small that world is compared to the rest of IBM. It’s just waiting for us to arrive and bring our skills, expertise and understanding of customers and collaboration. If you have left ICS to go work with other technologies in the past 5 years, those technologies are there at InterConnect/WOW and you don’t have to choose, you can combine existing knowledge with new knowledge in a way that I think is unique to those coming from a collaborative software background.

So where to now?  Well I can tell you that I’ll be at the next InterConnect (possibly World of Watson) and from discussions I had and heard this week, it’s unlikely Connect will be repeated as a standalone conference.  The general consensus is that Connect will be “rolled” into a large IBM Vegas based conference but possibly as a standalone pocket conference at its own hotel and with its own agenda just running alongside and with access to the larger conference.

I hate that idea.

HATE it 🙂

If it’s not clear from this long blog, I got so much out of InterConnect which gave me a chance to learn and hear about new things. I spent 4 hrs wandering the Concourse (show floor) talking to vendors, getting demos and visiting labs. So what would happen if ICS and all the ICS sessions were at say Caesers with InterConnect or WOW and only the keynotes at the Mandalay.

I’d never go to the Mandalay.  I’d miss all the InterConnect sessions.  And so would you.

If you have never been to Vegas it’s hard to understand scale but I averaged 7.5 miles walking a day just from my room at the Mandalay and around the conference centre.  It was only 4 mins from my room to the main reception but the size is Dolphin  + Swan.  Getting from Caesers to the front door of the Mandalay is at least 1.5miles. You could walk it or get in the queue for a taxi – either way you aren’t doing it to go to one session. Especially if all your friends are hanging out in the lobby or a bar at Caesers.

I think my ICS friends integrating into the existing InterConnect or WOW conference at the same location as everyone else could not only reinvigorate the community but save it.  

Don’t let IBM isolate ICS, let’s have a best practices “how to” track in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay and bring your skills, smarts and enthusiasm to a wider audience.

 

 

 

 

Watson Work Services – Connect Review #4

I know it’s a bit late in the day but I have a couple more things I want to talk about post Connect and with preparations for Interconnect and trying to tie up work before I go away – well these got pushed back.

Watson Work Services, what is it?  WWS (not sure if anyone else is using that acronym but let’s go with it) is not a product, it’s a platform. It is designed to connect to Watson’s APIs and leverage those for language, search, and data. The results can then be fed back to your application and used to trigger actions.  If you’ve seen Watson Workspace (formerly known as “Toscana”) then you might know that it is underpinned by Watson Work Services.   I stole this screenshot from Marc Pagnier’s presentation which I think explains the role WWS is intended to play.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 23.37.37

So why is this good news? Well most of us have heard of IBM’s Watson efforts and understand some of the things Watson can do but for the majority the idea of accessing Watson’s APIs or applying its intelligence to our data appeared out of reach. I mean it’s not like you’re going to install Watson on site.  WWS gives any size company or even single developer access to those Watson APIs without installing anything on site and without investing a lot of money.  In fact WWS works within Bluemix and so your application, whether on premises or in the cloud, can call a query to WWS to feed it data and get results back you can then store and act on.  The cost is calculated in pennies each time you run a WWS query so , as an application designer, that is entirely within your control.   With that model you can easily and quickly experiment with integrating cognitive logic and intelligent behaviour into your applications.

To get started with WWS go to https://developer.watsonwork.ibm.com and to access example applications visit http://github.com/watsonwork . To stimulate  your creative brain here’s another screenshot I stole that shows some of Watson’s APIs and you can find out more about what they can do here Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 23.53.36

For a start we already have several ideas for our customers who generate a lot of data and would benefit from integrating  intelligent analysis and action triggers into their applications.

 

 

So What About Domino @ IBM Connect? Review Post #2

Domino was very visible at Connect this year, not only in both of the opening sessions but in about 40% of the sessions overall.   The ones I picked to attend were talking about strategy and futures so that’s what I wanted to talk about here.

Verse on premises which shipped at the end of Dec 2016 is a very nice browser mail client right now which is easy to install on your Domino server (and you should) but it’s missing an updated calendar interface,  so I was pleased to hear the commitment to deliver that and other functionality to bring on premises in line with Verse in the cloud.  If you don’t have Verse installed on premises now on your Domino servers you need to be looking at it as your path forward.

Feature packs continue to be the strategic path with updates coming via FP installers but with template updates slipstreamed in optionally and separately downloadable through Fix Central.  I wouldn’t look for the templates to ship in step with the feature packs so you’re going to have to plan to subscribe to fix central for updates if you aren’t already.

From Barry Rosen’s strategy presentation here are a couple of snapshots showing planned feature pack features including those for FP8 which should ship soon.

Notes Feature Pack highlights screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-20-51-26

Domino Application Development feature pack highlights (FP8 shipping soon)screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-20-51-41

 

For application design the path IBM appear to be on is one we and many other Business Partners have been pursuing for some time with Domino as a back end data store and a web based UI on whatever platform you choose.  To that end the really good news is that we will finally be getting some extensions to the existing REST APIs including ones for

  • Directory
  • Mail Contacts
  • Mail File Search
  • Polling for changes in databases

In addition the application modernisation story at the conference was focused around partner solutions.  Of particular interest is Panagenda’s ApplicationInsights tool coming in a freemium model to all maintenace customers in Q2.  That version I believe will allow you to analyse your most prominent existing applications and instances to see what is being used by who and how. More information about it can be found here.

So lots of Domino sessions, lots of talk of future client and server developments, lots of confirmation of support at least to 2021.  For a nearly 30 year old product that’s not bad going.  With the investment in Verse and the introduction of cognitive features in on premises applications as well as a cognitive plugin for Notes, I’m feeling positive about where we are and the support IBM are offering.

Oh and my watch word for 2017 continues to be “Hybrid”

 

 

IBM Connect 2017 – Review Post #1 The Good & Not So Good

So here I am still in San Francisco, it’s Friday morning and IBM Connect officially finished its last session at 3.15 yesterday but we all know sessions are only part of the story, there was then the on stage photo, the post conference Penumbra meeting (in the bar of course) the post meeting drinks, the post post drinks early evening drinks with people who left last night and then the wrap up celebratory drinks.  I’ve drunk a lot of water overnight.

So – how was it?  I’ll summarise here but I want to go into more details on further posts today and over the weekend. I didn’t want to make this too big.  Someone asked me last weekend what would I consider a successful Connect for me.  It was a good question and my answer goes to the core of what any conference is about for me, did I learn new things and find new things to learn.  The answer this year was yes, I most definitely did.

In fact I would say it delivered the best content in an IBM conference for years.  

(going all in on the formatting there to make sure the point isn’t missed).

So what worked and what didn’t?  I’m a positive person and I came out of this conference on a high and excited about the future of what the products are delivering for customers and how IBM are entirely changing (at least in one area first)  their development process. Oh and I have lots of shiny new things to learn. I was told that not everyone likes to learn new things but I refuse to believe that.  So I’m starting with the good. If you want to see the not so good scroll to the bottom and maybe question why you want to do that 🙂

  • The engagement sessions on the expo floor were a great idea. 30 minute sessions that were held in a cubed area within the show floor with lots of interesting side topics given by industry presenters.  My favourite being “The Internet of You” given by Linden Tibbets the CEO of IFTTT.
  • Friends and champions were there. Seeing people in person, talking honestly about what we think is good and bad and where we go from here, is a huge part of why I attend
  • The content and breadth of topics was better than I’ve seen in years and in fact I went to more sessions than I have probably been to in a decade, and learnt more too.
  • Having the design studio as well as the research lab on the show floor accessible in an open area
  • The format of both Opening General Sessions
  • The speaker at the closing general session (Eric Whitacre) – who spoke about music, creativity and collaborative choirs.  This is the piece he finished with which was accompanied by an onstage choir as well.  I think most of us found it hard to speak afterwards. Go watch this http://ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir/history/vc4-flytoparadise
  • The IBM team who were not only available but seemed genuinely positive about the products’ future, their own initiatives and the conference. Everyone was keen to both hear our feedback and ask questions.
  • The Nerd Girl session on The Imposter Syndrome which was I believe our most successful yet.  I’ll be posting slides and more
  • My own session on Single Identity including risk and the Internet of Things. I was nervous but I think it went well.  I want to add some more words to the slides for anyone downloading and once i’ve done that i’ll post it.
  • Being able to say “see you in three weeks at Interconnect” or “see you in Antwerp in May” to friends as we parted 🙂

There were a lot of sessions about new technologies and strategies and I want to talk about each of these in separate posts but briefly…

Domino, Cognitive and REST APIs

Several good news items from the Domino side but I think IBM “buried the lead” somewhat in the OGS with only a brief mention of the new REST APIs that are coming out for Domino including those for directories and calendar.  I also spoke to several IBM engineers about Domino and they are very pleased about the move to feature packs because it allows them to roll out new features sooner.  There was no downplaying of Domino or its future and some interesting updates coming in FP9.

Connections and Connections Pink

Take a deep breath – this is exciting and speaks to a complete change in how IBM are approaching product development and engagement with partners/customers during development.  If you are using Connections on premises then Connections 6 with all its new features is due early in Q2 and you want Connections 6 not just for itself (Orient Me and custom Community design to name only two) but also because that’s how you will then get to Connections Pink.

So what is Pink?

Imagine IBM has thrown out the current Connections architecture, no more WebSphere, DB2, SQL, Oracle, Cognos, J2EE applications all gone.  Imagine they have a single code stream for Connections so that whether you’re in the cloud or on premises the features are identical.  Imagine all of this is deployed inside docker containers – basically a way of packaging and deploying applications that don’t require you to understand how the applications themselves work, only how to install the containers (think VMs yet not VMs but like VMs but not).  Now imagine you can choose where your data is stored by service, maybe you are happy to have your blog content stored in the cloud but want your profiles data stored on premises.  Imagine you will have a proxy service that allows you to not only “skin” Connections to look how you want but also to place your own elements like buttons and actions “floating” on top of an activity page for instance. Now imagine all of that without any data or system migration to get there.

It’s a magical world and there are a lot of very very smart people who are working hard to get you there.  Much more on this on my next blog post.

Livegrid

A new development platform for Connections Pink (led by the work of the amazing Maureen Leland) to allow you to write your own applications (in addition to all the extensibility stuff). Intended for use by everyone from power users up to hardcore developers.  Very promising ideas still in early days but working in real life and with a big shining light directed on it.

Watson Work Services

You’ve heard the jokes about how will on premises customers get access to Watson right? I mean it’s a huge giant brain and you can’t just install that in your offices. It’s also been presented as a solution to big problems within big industries, healthcare for instance, so exciting as Watson is conceptually it was hard to see how most businesses could access it. What if I want to use the intelligence of Watson in my applications or even for development – how do I do that?  Watson Work Services is the answer as it allows you to write code that calls on Watson in the cloud and delivers back data in response to queries. It’s charged by the number of calls you make to the service so, as the designer of the application, the cost is entirely within your control.  Even better, as application developers our cost of entry to introduce Watson services into our applications is potentially pennies. IBM confirmed that Verse on premises will have cognitive services and that there will even be a cognitive plugin for the Notes client.

Sametime 9.0.1 Fixpack 5

Not just any old fixpack but one that includes lots of new features for on premises that bring it more inline with Sametime in the cloud.

Onto The “Not So Good”

Let me start this by saying I’m not someone who lives in the past, I believe in what’s in front of me having as much potential as what’s behind me.  This isn’t Lotusphere and I’m not just saying that because the name changed. Or the month. Or the location.  It just isn’t that conference. It has a very different feel and focus.  Having said that, I missed the Dolphin Rotunda. I’d take any single place where you can sit and see people as they walk through and bump into friends and just hang out. With everyone staying at different hotels (7 or 8 different ones) there was no chance of bumping into people, nowhere to retreat and watch the conference pass by and a lot of effort required to arrange meet ups each evening.  Wherever Connect ends up or whatever it ends up being we need to fix that next time.

My second biggest problem with the event was the attempt to hang onto the past and still move into the future, at least that’s what it felt like.  Things like Gurupalooza and references to the “nifty fifty” are meant to be comforting to us old schoolers but to me they are just a depressing reminder of a time that has past.  It was great, I loved it for 20+ years but it’s gone now and let’s not pretend otherwise.  We don’t need pandering to and we don’t need a pretzel cookie.  Those of us that are there are there because we have moved forwards and we do believe what’s in front of us is better to focus on than what’s behind us. YMMV

I hated the location. The Moscone West is fine as a conference site but it was a bit soulless and there wasn’t really anywhere to hang out. The surrounding area was ‘let me walk you back to your hotel” sketchy as well.  And the food. Oh dear. Universally cheap and terrible and I’m not usually bothered by that kind of thing. Cold sandwiches, plastic cutlery. Cheap cheap cheap.

The low energy crowd in the OGS was a bit disconcerting.  There were several places I would have applauded but it didn’t feel the room was with me.  Interested yes.  Enthused no. The pocket of Champions in the room were giving it the old school energy but I realised this conference had a very difference audience and they weren’t responding as “we” used to.  It’s OK. In every technical session I went to that didn’t happen and people were clapping all the way through.

So that’s my initial wrap up.  Lots of good.  Enough so that if it had been held somewhere else I would have said it was better even than last year.  Let’s do it again soon, just maybe not here.

 

 

Connect 2017 Plans & Presentations

I’m very excited to confirm that three of us from The Turtle Partnership will be at Connect 2017 in San Francisco in February.  Between us there is some overlap in what we hope to get out of a conference but our interests are very different. My fellow IBM Champion Mike Smith will be attending strategy briefings, client stories and anything to do with futures.  Tim who looks after the development side of Turtle is keen on Monday’s hackathon and the new technology sessions as well as the Workspace and Watson APIs.  For me, as well as technical sessions about new products, I’m working a lot in the hybrid and security spaces so those sessions (including my own) are of interest to me. I also always enjoy the expo and this year the pop up and theater sessions that fall outside the traditional breakouts are something very different I’m suspect I’ll get a lot out of.

I am presenting and hosting three sessions this year:

On Wednesday at 12pm in Moscone West, Level 2 – Room 2009 I am presenting

Benefits and Risks of a Single Identity

What is valuable about a single identity, why is that something people want and how achievable is it? As people work across multiple systems they encounter an equal number of barriers where they must authenticate or otherwise prove their identity in order to gain access. Ideally we always want to be showing the same information about ourselves regardless of where someone searches or how we are found. In this session we’ll discuss the issues behind both creating a single identity and simplifying authentication. We’ll also review the risks you need to be aware of, the technologies available to you and the importance of good and current personal information.

On both Wednesday and Thursday in the Expo Engagement Theaters on the Expo floor we are doing Nerd Girl sessions.  On Wednesday we will have sparks talks around the topic of The Imposter Syndrome and on Thursday around the topic of Relationships IRL.   

The Imposter Syndrome is about the feeling of being unqualified in a situation.  We are looking for only four speakers who can talk to that, either because they live it, have been through it and have lessons to share or have experience of working with or managing people who have it.

Relationships IRL is about how we build and maintain connections with people when many of us work alone, attend web meetings that have no time for small talk or spend the majority of our time looking down at devices and not out into the world.  Again we are looking for 4 people who can speak to those issues or even if you don’t consider it an issue and why.

The Sparks talks do not have to be about your work or career, both the Imposter Syndrome and Relationships IRL can refer to any aspect of your day to day life.

If you are going to be in San Francisco, would be interested in joining us or would consider speaking then please reach out to me or any of the Nerd Girls to discuss.

The really great news is that since both sessions are in a theater room on the Expo floor, anyone with a $89 USD Discover Connect pass can attend.

The Imposter Syndrome is on  Wednesday at 12pm EXPO Engagement Theater # 750

Relationships IRL is on Thursday at 9.20am EXPO Engagement Theater # 300

A Tip For Submitting A Best Practices Session

If you go to submit a session for Connect 2017 (which you can do here )- you’ll notice there is no specific Best Practices track like we’ve had in the past.   In fact all the tracks have changed and been grouped under themes

Emerging Technologies
Strategy & Business
Development, Design & Tools etc

So how do you submit what you consider a Best Practices session and more importantly how do attendees find those sessions on the agenda considering they have always been the most popular by far at any conference.  Well the way to do it is to use a session tag.

On the session submission form you have a field for “New Tag” where you can categorise your own session.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-17-38-27

In that field make sure you enter the word “BestPractices” (all one word) and your session will appear as a Best Practices session in the agenda so everyone can find it easily.