Is Globalization Tenable?

Embed from Getty Images

Globalization is here! Over the last couple of decades, the barriers to exploring and exploiting remote markets have continually eroded. Aided by the web and other factors, even small firms and individuals are able to create and tap clients the world over.

However, is this going to continue to flourish or even be tenable in the future? That, in my opinion, has become a good question over the last few years. The momentum is good, but the momentum arrestors have become quite active now.

Regulators! They are the ones playing spoil-sport. Local regulation has always been as much about populism as protection. Jingoism and parochialism have ruled the day. The topics have also run the gamut – one of the newer entrants being data”.

Regulations around data now abound. Under the labels of privacy and protection (worthy goals in themselves), various countries around the world have created a dis-balanced situation. Essentially, the story is going to “we welcome all your data and we will process it, but our data is not allowed to leave our borders”. In some cases, this is not only for data that can identify individuals, but also for transactional data. For highly regulated industries like banking and pharmaceuticals, this can create havoc. Can other data intensive industries, even e-tailing be far behind?

What is the impact?

  • If data cannot be transferred across borders for processing, global systems become a no-no. Local systems across the globe are not the most cost-effective or the most effective solutions
  • Home countries wish to/need to regulate organizations as a whole – evaluate risks as a whole, monitor for not-nice things, etc. If the data cannot leave individual country boundaries, this is simply not possible. A case of regulations ensuring violation of other regulations
  • The cost of conforming to different regulations in different countries reduces the motivation to globalize in the first place

So, what is going to happen? At some point, the global view will need to be restored. For this, the regulators might wake up and realize the cost that their parochialism is extracting (fat chance?). One other possibility is if enough organizations from an industry actually decide to move out of a country that becomes too heavily regulated threatening a paucity of services (not nice, but has happened before). Not sure what the action will be, but I am convinced that the globalization train will get over this bump.

Sure, 9-to-whatevers, feel free to call me an optimist…

Advertisements

My Internet of Things?

Embed from Getty Images

 

Welcome Apple! The Homekit is the latest entry into a crowded world of home automation. Along with big names like Google, Samsung, Comcast…, this market is full of small manufacturers who have their own controlling apps. In fact an acquaintance just created a device and an app using his own standards.

Given the projected size of the market (Gartner:$300B by 2020), the commercial interest is completely understandable. But will this market live up to it’s promise? In the home sector, it will depend upon it’s usability.

As a potential end user, I am starting to get confused. Should I buy every device from the same manufacturer based on the promise of integration? Should I buy what I want and use individual apps? Should I wait for Apple to release more information? Should I wait until standards start appearing? Should I just give up now?

As a potential end user, I would like to buy what I want and be able to plug it into whatever controlling application I choose to use. I can buy a mobile phone and choose any provider, right? I would like the device to be discovered and configured. I would like analysis on the data from the device (if appropriate) and I would like to be able to intuitively control it (again, if appropriate). And then, there is the issue of security, but let us leave aside for the purposes of this article.

I believe that the strength of the manufacturer comes from the work the device does and how well and efficiently it does it. I believe that the strength of the integrator comes from the usability of the controlling application. How easy is it for me to find a particular device, control it’s features. How well does the application perform the analysis and show me results. The strength of either does not lie in limiting my choices through control of the eco-system.

I understand that standardization is a difficult exercise. I understand that the commercial aspect should and will take precedence. But, my understanding also is that the long term commercial benefits will be better if standardization is achieved earlier.

I am sure Apple will blow me away with it’s usability. I hope it does. I hope it succeeds. But, I also hope it works with everybody else to create an open eco-system, not a closed one. Right now, it is way too hard for the end user to make sense of the Internet of Things.

What do the 9-to-whatevers think?

What Would You Like With Your WT?

Wearable Technologies

Image: WallpaperHDFree.com

“Wearable Technology” is coming! It is coming in all shapes and forms. Whether you are a gadgeteer, a technologist, a fashionista, a carbon saver, or just walk the streets, you have a stake in what happens here…

From my perspective, this is a chance for technology to do some things right, right from the start.

Technology

  • Don’t make my smartphone do ALL the work. It is the hub, but protect my battery and help my pants stay up by keeping mobiles light and avoiding multiple battery packs. Distributed? Peer to peer chats where needed?
  • Standards and interoperability? Please don’t create a closed ecosystem. I don’t want to have to change my pacemaker because my smartphone died
  • Integrate, integrate, integrate! Create a whole, not a sum of the parts. I want a solution and not an architecture to plug things into. I do enough of that at work

Usability

  • Make my experience soar. Make things clean, easy to connect and easy to use. Please don’t fry my brain
  • Make information readily available at the right-time. Don’t bombard me in real-time until I ask. I have trouble concentrating as it is
  • Talk to the fashion people. I may be a geek, but I don’t want to look like one all the time. I prefer the look and feel of the image on the left.
  • Allow a device to charge others. I have run out of USB ports, especially for anything that is inside my body
  • Please make the charging wireless. My desk is a mess of wires; not sure I want to replicate it on my body

Save The Earth

  • Make use of all the things that have been touted – solar, piezo, etc. If I have to move and be in the sun to make my gadgets work, I can avoid the couch potato experience

Security And Privacy

  • Please use biometric security or whatever it takes. While I will be delighted to know my pulse after running at top speed for 3 minutes, I am not sure I want the person on the park bench to know it
  • Please have a clear visual indicator that cannot be disabled. I REALLY want to know when I am being recorded in video or audio. I need to be very careful what I do online; please leave me some space in the offline world
  • I am interested in spying on myself and myself alone. Help me not spy on other people and protect me when somebody else wants to spy on me. Difficult? Well, the size of this market with and without this feature would be an interesting clue…

There are choices in front of all the firms looking to get into this field, and believe me, there are a lot of them. The successful ones should be the ones that care about what we want. The question is if we care enough about what we want to make it a reality.

What do the 9-to-whatevers think?