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Technology

The Future Of Business – To The Cloud And Beyond!

We have to face the fact that the Cloud is where we will store our publicness, our legacy is going to live on forever, not through people, but through Kilobytes cached on servers all over the world. The Cloud is a fact of life, it is only going to grow up and be another reservoir of data, a deep well of information, unlike anything we’ve know to date. You think Wikipedia is awesome, wait till the Cloud matures. The Cloud is not connected computers in a closed network, they are outside, and can connect to any computing device.

Microsoft offers 25GB on Windows LIVE SkyDrive, Online Storage, Google allows you to run your entire business on their servers and with their services. I shared that this was going to happen in 2001 at a conference, I spoke to 500 I.T. Leaders, and they all said I was crazy, it will never happen. Businesses won’t stand for it, people won’t use it! As you can see they didn’t have the foresight an I.T. leader should have, they were closed minded executives, imagine that.

Everything is moving to the cloud for many, many reasons. Business is becoming more social and mobile, and the requires the cloud for that kind of environment to work properly. Location-based services are a perfect fit for the cloud, so going mobile means going to the cloud.

In a previous post I talked about the shift, we’re going from pages to streams, from PCs to the Cloud, Today to NOW, from Me to We, and Items to Data. Where everything will generate a stream everywhere. The cloud is full of storage, full of streams, and filled with the new oil, DATA!

The best way to take advantage of the cloud is to make everything in your business mobile, the cloud lets you access your data and the rest of the worlds data on the fly. Every business will become a platform to use, not unlike Google or Microsoft, people always come back to places they find useful. You can even build your own cloud, well sort of, you can connect an external drive to your router that is accessible from anywhere in the world. That in essence is a cloud, your external drive is where you store everything, so no matter where you are, you can reach your data, but the other options are better.

Almost all major technology corps are offering some form of cloud computing, even though the question of security is still on the table. Security is always going to be a problem, as long as there is humans on this planet, security will be paramount. Having said that, many are clamoring to put their data on the cloud, it just makes good sense for those who work from home / travel most of the time.

The jury is still out on who offers the best solution and I’m not sure it will matter if there is some kind of standard in this environment. Considering the security issue, will you put your data out there, Google has most if not all that you do on the NET anyway. The Cloud opens up new business models based on access, more so than today.

On a different perspective, when clicking the Like Button or Follow, to get access, the dollar value assigned to Likes & Follows will create a whole new metric to measure, one more thing to track, will all cloud environments or storage devices require engagement or just a Like or a Follow.

How will your business use the cloud?

The Future Of Business – Technology & Tourism

Seth Godin made the statement, While We Weren’t Paying Attention, The Industrial Age Just Ended. If that’s true, the masses of the world are in for change never experienced before. Although technology appears to be driving this change and new world of business, it’s more about how you and I think, to be more specific, how younger generations think.

In The Future Of Business series, I have been sharing insights on various industries, what we might expect to happen in the next 3 – 5 years. In this post I’m going to take a look at Tourism, this is an interesting topic because it is such a huge buisiness, somewhere around a 6 Billion dollar industry. But how will this shift from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age impact Tourism? It’s hard to tell at first glance but lets look at some obvious things that technology may introduce.

I can remember as a kid looking forward to summer, every summer my Mother & Father would take us someplace and it was always far enough away you couldn’t walk home. I could hear Mom & Dad discussing, planning and strategizing months in advance, we were going east or south, that meant Manitoba or the USA. My Dad would never stop either, if we were going from Calgary to Winnipeg (14 hours of driving) he was going to do it in a day, if we were lucky we might stop for potty breaks. The stops were never at a fancy restaurant or hotel, they were rest stops with smelly unclean outhouses. I know this sounds like abuse by todays standards, but that’s what it was like travelling with my family back in 60’s and early 70’s.

One of the saving grace’s on those trips were Tourism Offices, a place where we could pick up a map, a coffee or candy. More importantly, they had washrooms! Something I noticed in these kiosk like buildings was, you would find things there you couldn’t find anywhere else. Local artists would have paintings and or carvings, jewellery and what have you, interesting and talented people figured out it was a great place to sell their work.

Jumping ahead to today, and not much has changed in these groovy little Tourism Kiosks, why? Interestingly enough, the problems the Tourism Industry had back when I was a boy, they still have today. It’s always about funding and how these non-profit organizations have to conform to some very rigid groups and influencial people. I understand the problem all to well because, I used to be Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of  Tourism some 20 years ago. Tourism used ot be under the Chamber domain, today they are independant, out on they’re own.

Now the Canadian Tourism Commission (which is well funded) has culled some series data about where and why people come to visit Canada, it’s called Explorer Quotient, something to put in your toolbox. Here is the EQ presentation made by the CTC.

These groups have something we didn’t have 20 years ago, not even 15 years ago, we now have the Internet & Social Media. Tourism is struggling in this space because they don’t have the resources to create, invite or listen to what we all want. The opportunities are unlimited now for tourism and other non-profit organizations. I learned recently that the Green Bay Packers FootBall team is actually a non-profit organization!

There are a number of tools tourism could take advantage, they are already in place, like Foursquare and Gowalla, these are the low hanging fruit today, but in the next 5 years we will see some very interesting technologies that Tourism will leverage. In the future, we will be able to travel to far away places in the comfort of our own home via Virtual Reality. You may stop at a Tourism Rest Stop and sit down with a virtual reality headset and walk around the very community you are about to enter. You will be able to get key information on the top tourist stops while there, enjoy a cup of coffee at the same time. You will have the opportunity to get special deals you can’t get anywhere else in that town, only at the tourism office. You will have the opportunity to opt-in while touring the area digitally, yes the tourism will be able to track where you are via a smartphone, they will be able to forward information and real-time specials happening for a limited time.

Through your smartphone you could contact them on Twitter to make reservations at a restaurant or hotel. Most businesses will be on these social networks, they will over special deals and opportunities you find in the local paper. Maybe these businesses will accept FaceBook & Twitter Credits as payment. According to those two social networks credits will be offered July 1st, 2011. We’ll see how to roles out but it opens the door for local businesses and especially the tourism societies to partner with local or far away businesses for visitors in the tourism kiosks. We could help our local tourism by donating FaceBook & Twitter credits for them to use with local businesses, so many ideas can come from this topic alone. And these credits or points can be used anywhere in the world!

The sky is the limit here, if you can think it, you can probably do it. Technology is making it easier, what other ideas do you think Tourism could do to attract visitors?

The Future of Business – Visa & Mastercard Will Not Be Cards

Somethings just seem more and more obvious, I ask this question all the time, can you imagine a day when we will no longer use money? I mean coins & paper money. It’s coming and much sooner than you think, it’s all because of Chip Technology or whatever name you decide to give it. We….all of us, are being traced by our cell phones, by our Debt Cards, or Credit Cards, whether we like it or not, so why do we even need them?

The truth is, the smart phone is all we will ever need until technology and humans merge. Visa & MasterCard have already started changing they’re model to be accessed by smart phones for all purchases or payment methods. Smart phones will be the wireless Visa & MasterCard debit machine, it already is in some parts of the world. Imagine not carrying 15 plastic cards around in your wallet, no debt cards, no credit cards, no nothing cards! But also imagine if it became law that you had to have a smart phone in order to live, buy food, buy clothes, then what?

Some day we will merge with technology, but until then, we will still have to deal with these clunky systems to pay for our purchases, not too mention making deposits to our bank accounts. This shift is expected to begin in 2011, yep, it’s coming and coming fast….what’s interesting though, my bank hasn’t even released their debt card with a chip in it yet….that’s how fast this is happening, they may not have too!

Just think, Visa & MasterCard will no longer be plastic cards, they will be an application in your smart phone. That to me is progress I would like to see.

What do you think?

Far Too Many Thoughts From Owen

It is expected that by the year 2015, 50% of the worlds population will be over 50 years of age, the world population will reach almost 8 Billion. These numbers indicat more than population growth, they also reveal a great many challenges. I will be 75 in the year 2025, should I live that long, but most likely I will. In 2050 I will be 100 years old, I will have seen more radical exponential change than my Mother & Father.

The burden put upon those generations that have yet to be born is staggering in terms of what they will have to deal with, the medical system, the expected water shortage, the energy crisis, and so on. Nanotechnology will overcome some of these shortcomings but much of what I share has yet to be figured out. Having said that, I would like you to consider a few things about the increasing population and the burden it puts on we the people of the world.

Would you approve of being injected with Nanobots, these nanobots may cure you of diabetes, maybe certain types of Cancer and various other serious illnesses. The Pros & Con’s we don’t really know yet, but for the sake of this writing let’s say the Pro’s are, you get healed…permanently. Maybe one of the Pros might be that you are now able to be tracked through these blood cell sized nanobots. Or, these Nanobots connect you directly to the Internet, maybe they are the new Blue-Tooth Technology and you can be monitored remotely. We will become wireless devices, Ray Kurzweil believes it, we’ll be able to download our mind file too!

One of the Con’s, you can never hide, will will always be found. You could be turned off and be refused medical care, the ability to travel or for that matter buy groceries. You might not be able to drive, or to be real extreme, walk down the street because you are viewed as untrustworthy or guilty of some misdemeanor. I’m only touching one nerve ending right? Nanotechnology might bring these situations into our day-to-day lives, giving them life so to speak. I’m sure the list on both side’s could be long, and the case for each one be just as strong as the next.

Technology is one of the many problems we face in an area that is growing exponentially. The medical system we have in Canada is also not sustainable, in fact, I’m not convinced there is a medical system in the world as of this writing that is. Much needs to change, but it is and will be very slow, and it is mostly painful because we must address the fact that the world is growing older, and quickly. The workforce around the globe is shrinking, families are smaller, only 1.5 children per household, what used to be 3.4 per household. If 50% of the worlds population is over 30 years of age today, in another 5 years or so, the worlds population will be over 50.

The only way to fill the shortfall in the workforce, is through immigration, or do we try to advance Nanotechnology to the point of growing the perfect specimen called a human (android, no not the phone). Technology has it’s strong points, but I’m not convinced technology is serving as much good as we hope it will, it is not a silver bullet to life in any way shape or form. (weird sentence eh?)

I ask myself alot of questions and then try to find answer, the problem is, much of what I share has yet to be done or figured out. Well actually that’s an untruth, I just don’t have access to the real good data, the information that will let me tell you when and how. Well, that’s enough ranting for now, I’ll try to post something useful you can actually apply in your business next time.

Feel free to tell me I’m full of whatever you think I’m full of, better yet, leave your comments here for me to respond to if you have the guts : )

Until next time.

One Of The 1st Technological Revolutions In History

Much of what we know in Technology is sometimes shocking, and even down right revolutionary, but we have had many of these startling events long before you & I were born.

One of the greatest leaders in history is credited with introducing one of the very 1st technological revolutions of mankind, King David. He ruled over Judah c. 1010 – 1003 BC, and Israel from c.1003 – 970 BC, and was considered one of the worlds premier leaders in his day, and is still referred to as such today.

The real story is some 200 years before King David ruled over Judah & Israel, there was a tribe called the Hittites, and they knew how to combine minerals to make iron. They had more advanced knowledge and education, better weaponry, cooking utensils, and tools long before anyone else, they also won more battles because of it.

King David is credited with introducing the Iron Age, and iron today is used in much of the worlds most cherished structures. So all the technological change you and I have been experiencing, is not early advancements, but merely a maturing of technology over thousands of years. Technology has become exponential in it’s growth, you & I double our knowledge every year, but technology is not linear, it’s exponential, 2,4,8,16,32… and we can’t keep up.

In the next few years you will be able to buy a computer that computes faster than the human brain! This computing speed will birth products unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. Superior robotics will emerge and be much more life like because of it, a chance to actually have Artificial Intelligence will present itself. Virtual Reality will be so advanced we won’t be able to distinguish between real life & virtual life. we will spend more hours in virtual reality than we ever will on FaceBook or any other Social Network. Handheld devices will be so powerful, they will be able to do things we haven’t even thought of yet. There is so much to consider as we move forward in this century, technology is just one spoke in the wheel, we have bigger issues to face that technology may or may not be able to solve. Like the water shortage the world is starting to experience, I live in one of the rainiest places on this planet, and we have a shortage!

In 1998, Billy Graham shared at a TED Talk, that there are 3 things Technology has yet to solve.

The Big Three:

1.) Human evil

2.) Human Suffering

3. Death

The first one most likely will never be solved, it comes from you & I, we make bad decisions alot and we end up hurting mankind in the process. Human suffering is a puzzling one, there are 403 Billionaires in the USA alone, 40 of those billionaires have decided to give away 50% of their estates. If that’s true, why do we still have hunger? We live in the richest part of the world and yet we still have hunger, I hope someday we’ll right this injustice.

The third is Death, this has the potential to be solved by Technology, Nanotechnology to be more specific.

Nanobots will some day make it possible for you & I to live forever, and in perfect health, but that’s another blog post. I have written about it in my book The New Technology – The End of Mankind? You can download for FREE here on this blog.

Everything about our world is going through an upsetting industrial change, a paradigm shift, and it’s very real and very painful. Much of what we are experience in the business world, is not peace, harmony and quiet. These new social media environments disrupt closed systems, and most big business and corporations are fighting it tooth and nail. We are in a constant state of change and revolutionary thinking, but it scares wall street, because they can’t control a connected audience or consumer.

I also hope this post makes you appreciate the introduction to iron, more importantly, I hope your paying attention to what is really going on around you.