Is Your Business Ready for the Third Platform?

tech office

According to the IT, telecom, and consumer technology analyst International Data Corporation (IDC), we are now entering the age of the Third Platform of computing. This current era of IT evolution is characterized by an environment built on four technological pillars: the cloud, mobility, social business, and big data and analytics. It is distinguishable from the Second Platform of the evolution, which began in the 1980s and featured computing environments developed around the client-server model, and from the earlier, First Platform era of mainframe computers, which emerged in the 1950s.

As early as 2007, the IDC has investigated and predicted the global paradigm shift toward the Third Platform. Now, they are predicting that virtually all of businesses’ new strategic IT investments through the year 2020 will revolve around Third Platform technologies and solutions.

An era of significant market opportunity

The move to the Third Platform is ushering in significant and far-reaching changes in the way enterprises are leveraging technology. Not only is it transforming the way businesses engage with their customers, it is also facilitating the delivery of products and services in ways never before possible. With the tools available to them, enterprises also have increasing capacity to innovate and to make their operations more reliable and more resilient.

The rise of the Third Platform also represents the coming of the actual Information Age. It will see the stagnation of legacy computing environments, even as markets within the four pillars of the Third Platform grow. The IDC estimates that by 2020, the worldwide industry spending on Third Platform solutions will be worth as much as $5.3 trillion dollars, up from just $3.8 trillion in 2015.

The increased spending will also be accompanied by the emergence of a new wave of core technologies that rely on the Third Platform and will serve as accelerators of innovation. These include the Internet of things (IoT), robotics, natural interfaces, cognitive systems, 3D printing, and next generation security.

Preparing for the big shift

As you can imagine, the Third Platform will not just revolutionize computing technologies, it will also transform customer experience on a grand scale. Organizations that are reluctant to embrace the big shift are certain to lag behind their competitors. Unable to keep up, they will fail to respond to the changes in the way customers want to do business with them.

One important area in which IT-reliant businesses and organizations should pay particular focus on is the blitzkrieg of data and traffic that the age of the Third Platform will bring. The network infrastructure of many organizations are still not prepared to tackle expected evolutions in capacity and complexity, making them ill-equipped for the future.

Both storage and security will have to be bolstered so that enterprises can keep pace with the rapid rate of change in IT environments. This is important especially because more and more of them are embracing both private and public cloud computing, not only as a way to minimize their hardware footprint and maintenance costs, but also in order to benefit from associated on-demand compute and storage resources.

It is important to note, however that traditional models of safeguarding business data simply does not translate satisfactorily to the cloud computing model. It is therefore reassuring that more companies today are beginning to realize the benefit of relying on robust, multi-feature security platforms that can help them secure their users, data, and computing environments.

The infrastructure monitoring and control platform Halo, for instance, helps enterprises protect their assets by delivering both security and compliance in a way that makes scaling automatically and being orchestrated across hybrid environments possible. The platform provides comprehensive infrastructure visibility, microsegmentation, automated compliance, and security at DevOps speed.

If your organization has not yet taken the necessary steps that will enable it to handle all the expected changes that the Third Platform will bring, now is the time to adopt a forward-thinking mindset and to explore the solutions that will make your enterprise all geared up for the future.

Americans Addicted To Mobile Phones

americans addicated

New research has revealed that more and more of us are becoming addicted to our cell phones – and one in five (23%) would prefer to give up sex than be parted from their phone.

A cell phone addiction quiz commissioned by Decluttr, an online service that offers cash for unwanted electronics, DVDs, CDs, video games and Blu-rays,  discovered that the majority of us check our cell phones compulsively.

Over half of the quiz respondents (59%) admitted that checking their phone is the first thing they do after waking up and is the last thing they do before sleeping. 43% of people would never leave their house without their cell phone.

The research also revealed what people would give up to stay within arm’s length of their cell phone, a shocking 23% of people said they would give up sex for their cell phone, while 20% would give up sports and 18% would sacrifice alcohol.

The study also looked into personal cell phone usage and found that Americans use their cell phones primarily for calling/texting (11%) and listening to music (11%) followed by taking photos/videos (10%). Over a fifth of respondents admitted that taking a selfie was the first thing they do before a night out (24%).

Liam Howley, group marketing director at Decluttr, said: “Over recent years, cell phones have become psychologically addictive for many users, and not just the younger generation. While they can be an extremely useful communication tool and source of information, they can also lead to users switching off from reality, missing out on what’s actually going on around them. The fear of missing out is huge with 60% of people admitting to checking their phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night. With people checking their phones on average 150 times a day*, the problem only looks to be getting worse.

“Even when we stop using our old phones because they’ve been replaced by a newer model, we still can’t bear to part with them, as each house on average has three unused phones lying around.”

The study discovered that over half of respondents (69%) prefer their cell phones to have a sufficient amount of charge before leaving the house, as a result 29% of people said they are left feeling stressed when they realise their phone is at 5% battery.

The results also found that 45% of people would use their cell phone on a date night, but only in case of an emergency, however this is the one occasion when a fifth of respondents would never use their cell phone and will give their date 100% of their attention.

To help people test their cell phone addiction Decluttr has created an online quiz

Decluttr’s tips for weaning yourself off your cell phone.

1. Gradually leave bigger gaps between checking your messages or social media posts. If you normally check every 15 minutes, make it once an hour, if every hour, leave it for 2-3 hours etc. Build up to only checking two or three times a day. You can let friends/work colleagues know in advance that you’re going to be doing this and that if there’s an emergency where they need an urgent response from you, they can call you.

2. If you think you’ll get bored without your phone to turn to, think of ways you can fill your time instead. Read a book or listen to music when you’re travelling on public transport or waiting around. You could also make better use of your time learning a new skill or doing some exercise.

3. In social situations, only use your phone if you’re sharing something with the people you’re with – looking up information or posting a social media post that includes your friends.

4. Don’t check your phone when you’re on a date, or with someone you’re meant to be spending one to one time with. Focus on whoever you are with and give them your full attention.

5. Be fully present and start to appreciate being in the ‘here and now’. Take notice of what’s going on around you, connecting with real people in the real world.

Creating a Better 911 Emergency System for the Wireless Age

wireless connection

Ever since the first U.S. 911 system was established in Haleyville, Alabama, in 1968, the emergency number has grown to become an important component of the overall public safety framework. This system was made more hardworking in 1999, when the Congress passed the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act on 1999, which designated 9-1-1 as the universal emergency number in the United States and decreed the use of an Enhanced 911 (E911) system.

The E911 system automatically associates locations with the origins of the calls by using an Automatic Location Identification (ALI) database, allowing the 911 operators at the public-safety answering points to quickly dispatch police, fire, and emergency medical personnel to those who need them.

Aging technological infrastructure

Today, however, the 911 emergency response system is facing a difficulty, and it’s going to take comprehensive government and private sector action to address it. The challenge? An aging technological infrastructure that is unable to keep up with the communication technologies being used by the public. In particular, people who rely on newer technologies like mobile devices, data networks, and Wi-Fi to communicate are finding that the current 911 system is unable to support capabilities that these technologies employ. There is also the challenge of getting emergency response to places that are hard to reach or not connected to traditional communication networks, something that could be addressed by ensuring constant connectivity through the use of appropriate wireless broadband solutions.

The problem was recognized as early as 2010 in a research paper submitted to the Congressional Research Service. It noted that that the existing 911 system at that time was developed around an infrastructure of analog technology that doesn’t support many of the newer technologies that Americans use and expect to be part of an emergency response system. The researcher noted that “efforts to splice newer, digital technologies onto this aging infrastructure have created points of failure where a call can be dropped or misdirected, sometimes with tragic consequences.”

Prone to failure

Five years later, in 2015, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reiterated the need for a system upgrade. In an op-ed for the New York Times, he noted that the communication technology behind “911 is dangerously out of date.”

He said that 911 centers now handle over 240 million calls every year, many of them from mobile devices. However, many of these centers don’t have basic capabilities like receiving text messages, images, or video, which could be vital in the emergency response action. Even worse, so many 911 call centers today rely on very old telephone technology that is prone to failure and no longer being supported by commercial vendors.

Next generation 911

The good news is that now, something is finally being done in order to make the necessary system overhaul possible. Next Generation 911, as the nationwide upgrading initiative is known, is creating a faster, more robust, and more flexible and scalable emergency response system through the use of internet protocol-based networks. It will make use of mapping databases and software to direct calls and to identify the location of callers, and it will also support the handling of digital information like voice, text messages, photos, and videos.

Although for now, only some parts of the country are able to take advantage of this upgraded system, the aim is to eventually make the changes across the board. This requires the cooperation and coordinated efforts of a great number of people from the government and the telecom and wireless broadband industries. Already, the FCC is adopting new rules and pushing for the modernization of the 911 governance structure to ensure that communication and emergency response action remain dependable as technologies and providers supporting these technologies transform over time.

Insights Into Today’s Technology Trends in Education

technology education

Today students of almost all ages seem to have access to an Internet-enabled device. That statement is more than just perception. Technology is now commonplace in education, and it’s not a bad thing. Speak Up is an ongoing survey was started in 2003. It studies the responses of teachers, students, parents, school administrators and community members in order to provide valuable data on the adoption of technology in education.

The Reality of Students and Technology

The reality of technology use amongst students is that it is now the norm, as is their access to personal mobile devices. The Speak Up Survey from 2013 showed that almost 90% of high schoolers and 50% of upper elementary students (grades 3-5) have smartphones. Personal access to laptops and tablets is also over 50%. And these numbers are certainly higher today than they were 3 years ago.

The good news is that this generation that has grown up with technology surrounding them have a sophisticated attitude when it comes to its use.

  • One-third of students use video content that they seek out themselves as a resource to help with homework. This is deemed the “Khan Academy effect.”
  • Students are using their mobile devices to help increase their efficiency. They use them for alerts and reminders, taking pictures of assignments, and even texting questions to instructors.
  • Students are enriching their learning by accessing anytime research, playing educational games, and collaborating with peers.
  • Today’s students are savvy enough to opt for the best-fit technology choice for different needs. They use e-readers for reading online content. They communicate via social media, video, and cell phones. For writing papers, doing research, and taking notes, they opt for laptops.
  • Students care about and are aware of their digital footprint. The 2013 survey showed that almost two-thirds of students were careful about posting online. Many of them will also advise friends about inappropriate content and even stop associating with those who post such things. 44% of high schoolers are cognizant of the importance of a positive digital profile to their future.
  • Students who have never taken online courses are very interested in doing so, and have the expectation of a higher level of support from online teachers.
  • Gaming is being used to help grasp challenging concepts, and to delve into career opportunities.

The Reality of Teachers and Technology

While teachers are also big users of technology, the rate of adoption is not as high as that of students. Only a little more than 45% of teachers use video in class as part of instruction. Teachers also have not kept up with students in terms of the importance of social media. Students view social media as an intricate part of daily life and would like it to be a part of the classroom. Teachers, and other adults surveyed are not there yet.

The Surprises

While many of the findings of this study were as you would expect, there were still some surprising findings.

  • Most students – 64% – are settling for 3G/4G enabled devices as their most-used Internet connection at home, because the household demand for traditional broadband connected devices was too high.
  • Tablets don’t top the list of devices to use for research, reading or communications.
  • Students choose laptops as a gaming device over cell phones, game consoles, and tablets.
  • Gaming is still growing in popularity, with gender differences disappearing and younger girls participating more than boys their age.

As increasing numbers of schools adopt bring your own device policies, these numbers will only increase. Technology and education are interconnected from this point forward. The more teachers, parents, and administrators understand about students and technology, the smoother the inevitable transition will be.

Author: Larry Nolen is a freelance blogger, digital analyst and aspiring marketing guru who loves technology, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He works as an Digital Analyst for Feel free to follow him on Twitter @larrynolen74