The Hidden Prediction for 2015

Those crystal balls have to be getting tired.

It’s a New Year’s tradition that has become as commonplace as the midnight smooch: extravagant tech predictions for next year. It’s a time when analysts compete with meteorologists for the title of “most-mocked” when their predictions turn out to be incorrect and Nostradamus for “certified soothsayer” if they were right.

Just take a look at the forecast for 2014. The Washington Post famously wrote that we would all be wearing Google Glass and playing on VR headsets by now. While they are both fun to read and courageous, bold predictions that largely fail set you up for ridicule.Read more

Democratizing the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things. Just saying the words conjures up these amazing images of a Hollywood-esque future. Your car talks to your air conditioner, letting it know when you will be home so your house is at the perfect temperature at the perfect time. Your fridge talks to your bathroom scale and (annoyingly) tells you what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

But consumer products are only part of the picture. And, surprisingly, a relatively small part. According to a recent article in Business Insider, “The manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and information sectors will invest the most in IoT systems and devices in the next five years, we estimate. Manufacturers are currently the leading industry to use IoT devices and we estimate there (sic) total investment will reach $140 billion over the next five years” (bolded type in original.)Read more

Farm Data: Using Operational Intelligence In A New Way

Sometimes I think we limit ourselves on how we define operational intelligence. I mean, who says it can only apply to things like call centers or fleet management? Let’s break down those words and see what they actually mean. Operational, in this sense, refers to routine functions. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Operational intelligence, then, should be any activity that acquires and applies knowledge related to routine functions. Anyone can do this, and they should. How are we supposed to improve those daily routines if we can’t measure them?

Take this recent article in the NY Times- “Working the Land and the Data.” The article describes how modern farmer Kip Tom uses data to improve the function of his farm in Iowa. He said “we’ve got sensors on the combine, GPS data from satellites, cellular modems on self-driving tractors, apps for irrigation on iPhones.” Mr. Tom dreams of a day when drones with infrared cameras will tell him which crops are in trouble while other farmers are currently take readings from combines every three seconds on a 60,000 acre plot- just imagine the amount of data that is. Real, operational data.Read more