Ash Ball, a young person in Australia, is working to end cyberbullying as part of the Project Rockit team. Ball, one of the Internet Society’s 25 Under 25 awardees, says he believes that it’s important to empower the younger generation to step in when they see someone being harassed online.
That message is especially important today, which is Safer Internet Day, a call to action to make the Internet safer for everyone.
Linda Patiño is another 25 Under 25 awardee leading the charge. “I was a victim of online harassment, receiving kidnapping and rape threats,” she says. Patiño’s work with the Colombia-based organization Colnodo uses ICTs to promote Internet safety and gender equality. “A tool can be so harmful. I enter this world [of activism] so other girls know they are not alone, that we are creating things to help them get through this. Even though these tools have serious impacts, we are doing good change” in the world.
We all have the power to help make the Internet a more welcoming and accessible place, but Ash Ball and Linda Patiño show that it’s a community effort to do so. No one person can do everything, but we can all do something.
If there’s one business leader on TV you shouldn’t model yourself after, it’s Michael Scott, the clueless boss from NBC’s “The Office.”
From the insensitive way he handles employees to his utter lack of self-awareness, he’s demonstrated time and time again how a manager shouldn’t behave.
In the season-four episode “Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” he offers yet another reason you would never want to follow his lead: his strong opposition to adopting the latest technology.
When former temp and current corporate executive Ryan Howard visits his old Scranton, Penn., office to show his colleagues how the new Dunder Mifflin website will help the company increase agility and adapt to the marketplace, Michael balks.
“Technology helps business, OK?” Ryan tells Michael. “You should not resist it. This is the way the world is moving.”
“I happen to think the old ways of doing business are better,” Michael says.
Two ways technology can help deliver business value
As usual, Michael Scott is dead wrong. In today’s digital world, companies must reimagine how they do business. They need to adopt the latest cutting-edge innovations in order to stay competitive.
It’s particularly crucial for chief operating officers and other executives within supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, asset management, and R&D to embrace technology – for two primary reasons:
Technological advancements, including the Internet of Things (IoT), can help you better connect your systems, assets, and people. With wireless, IoT-enabled sensors, your employees have access to all the data they need to streamline their efforts, increase asset efficiency, and develop smarter products.
Innovative technology enables businesses to operate in real time – so you can seize opportunities and resolve problems immediately. “It’s no longer large companies that crush small,” says author Jim Harris. “It’s the fast that crush the slow.” Your business needs an innovation engine that allows you to harness the full power of machine learning, Big Data, analytics, and IoT to take action and scale quickly in today’s digital age.
Unleash the future of your business
By the end of “Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” Michael acknowledges, “Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology.” But he’s still got reservations.
The companies that embrace the latest innovations and remain on the cutting edge of their industries will not only survive, they’ll thrive. Organizations with technology-averse leaders like Michael Scott at the helm? They’ll face a long, uphill battle – and probably a losing one.
Discover how you can adopt a digital innovation system that can empower your enterprise to take advantage of today’s leading technologies. Register now to attend SAP Leonardo Live at Kap Europa Congress Center in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on July 11–12, 2017, and unleash the future of your business.
This week Amazon introduced the Echo Show, an Echo device that adds a screen and video-calling to Alexa. It also looks a lot like the Nucleus intercom system, which was launched less than a year ago, and counted the Alexa Voice Fund as an investor.
Jonathan Frankel, the CEO of Nucleus, said when it launched on Tuesday, “Hey that looks like a product I know and love!” However, he insists that he’s not mad because he understands why Amazon made a calculated business decision to add features that competed with his.
“Why would they show the marketplace that they can’t be trusted as a partner?” he asks. His answer is that the opportunity was simply too great. “[Amazon] grasped what we have grasped, which is using communications is the path to get normal, everyday people to put devices throughout their homes, and then to connect their homes to other peoples’ homes. So Amazon has this once-in-a-generation opportunity to literally get their shopping cart into every room in millions of homes.”
For Frankel, the real question is what the telcos, retailers and other tech giants decide to do. While he’s clearly threatened, he points out that so are the Googles, Targets, Wal-Marts, and Comcasts of the world that now have seen Amazon potentially sever their relationship with the customer. To hear more on how that happens and how Nucleus plans to respond, download this week’s podcast. (iTunes, Android)
You’ll also hear Kevin Tofel and I explaining how to call people using your Echo, some Industrial Internet stats and a deep dive into the economics of serverless computing that explains why it’s the hottest IoT architecture around.
A few months ago I wrote about how every company is becoming a tech firm as a growing number of companies have to contend with digital information about their business or have to produce connected products and services.
Maybe I was wrong.
While every company does have to deal in tech, the idea that every business has to understand and manage the challenges of operating as a tech firm might put us all in danger. Nowhere is this becoming more apparent than in the area of security.
Expecting companies that have made physical products for hundreds of years to suddenly understand and build digital competence in their organization feels like expecting a restaurateur to grow its own food. Sure, for some special and expensive circumstances it might work, but for most, it’s ridiculous.
Instead, non-tech companies should take advantage of the work that has occurred in the technology industry to abstract the hard aspects of building a connected device and the associated infrastructure that goes with it.
Others seem to be coming around to this way of thinking, which is why Microsoft on Thursday said it would create a new IoT offering for companies.
Microsoft’s IoT Central is basically a layer above its Azure platform. Instead of having to piece together storage, computing and various database and analytics services for a connected product, Microsoft now offers everything pre-packaged for companies.
“Customers are interested in the business value of IoT, and we make it easy for them,” says Microsoft’s Director of IoT Sam George.
George says Microsoft will sell IoT Central to customers building connected products but also to systems integrators that might offer it as part of their own suite of products to get things online.
Microsoft isn’t the only one trying to make something that is difficult much, much easier. Last week when discussing the challenges of IoT security with Electric Imp’s Hugo Fiennes, he convinced me that securing connected devices was probably better done through an outside expert that manages a platform whenever possible.
His argument is that it is inefficient for each individual maker of a connected device to pay the ongoing cost of maintaining and patching their products. Instead of a medical device company and an appliance maker footing the bill, why not invest in a platform that handles those complexities and spreads the costs of security around to all of its customers?
In the case of Electric Imp, that means a customer puts an Imp module in their end product and pays a service fee each year.
As hacks related to inexpertly configured databases and unpatched older devices hit the news, I’m beginning to think relying on an expert that’s only dedicated to security is a smarter plan. Yes, then the platform becomes a larger target, but it is prepared to accept and face that risk.
If we accept this view of the world, then the question is really what aspects of building a connected product get outsourced. If security is hired from a platform provider which may or may not provide the connectivity and even underlying management and tech infrastructure, then what does the non-tech business offer? Another question is how the tech firms create alliances to offer these abstracted services to customers without compromising security or creating bottlenecks.
Right now, everyone is lurching toward the internet of things with varying stages of understanding about what it takes to offer a connected product over the long term. For most manufacturers used to producing cars or appliances, for example, connectivity offers a way to create an ongoing relationship with the customer and valuable data that can improve their products and services.
But it also offers them a chance to become big news if their products get hacked and an opportunity to spend chunks of money competing with the best in the tech industry for engineering talent. Those are chances most firms would probably rather not take. Why become a tech company if you don’t have to?