Enterprise social networking providers are trying ever so hard to turn a hairpin corner, and finally break the stigma of utter uselessness that has long-plagued the purported social technology revolution. In the aftermath of so many smoldering train wrecks and flawed hypotheses, many underlying truths have emerged. The details of these lessons have been previously chronicled in Antisocial Enterprise, Part II The Wrath of the Engineer, and Part III The Search for Users. Here’s the short, short version: social networks are about people, business is about products and decisions. Up to now, the flawed assumption was that if social networks are so super-awesome for groups of people, and business is naturally just chock full of people, then social networking must, logically, also be super-awesome in the enterprise, Q.E.D. Zathras try to warn, but no one ever listen to poor Zathras.
Innovation in the enterprise often seems like the cruelest exhibit in the hall of oxymorons, despite the transforming technological landscape. Whether it’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) the patterns are all too familiar. Tech conscious C-level executives, increasingly overlay far-reaching abstract requirements over the usual implementation planning activities. The fact that innovation and cloud solutions are trending lately should be a surprise to exactly no one. In some ways it’s a bit of enterprise buzzword bingo. At the heart of it, however, is a sincere desire to architect forward-looking solutions using the best available technologies. But typical corporate solution planning methodology is dependent on case studies to justify certain technology choices. Here’s a pro-tip to all you wanna-be solution pioneers: you’re not going to find case studies to justify a truly innovative technology plan. You will have to dispense with the idea of the human shield, turned corporate style. Stay in front of me where it’s safe.
3D printing is certainly a manufacturing revolution in the making. Early success in technologies like stereolithography has paved the way for an additive manufacturing future, posed to completely turn conventional manufacturing on its head. Industrial application of 3D printing seems limitless, though there are many hurdles still regarding cost, speed, and available materials. Yet hopes for the consumer side of the equation, built on the momentum of early success like the Makerbot enthusiast community, paints a future where everyone and their dog will own a 3D printer to print all kinds of fantastic magical crap for the home. Provided, of course, your concept of fantastic magical crap is mostly rejects from the land of misfit toys. 3D printers are capable of so much more, yet the opportunity is largely wasted. While 3D printing certainly has garnered a dedicated enthusiast community, mainstream traction has been lacking. After all, consumers are already kicking conventional paper printers (and copiers) to the curb with extreme prejudice. Perhaps hanging a new market on the word “print” may not be the best idea right now. But, hey, that’s how this is going to roll.
In our rush to be crushed in the infinite singularity that is the Amazon cloud, where super-connectivity and collaboration reach densities previously unimaginable, there’s a bit of a problem on the event horizon. What was once often a design consideration is now becoming the exception, and among the elite who are always within the confines of a 4G warp bubble universe 705 meters in diameter, the mere thought of it might seem ridiculous. Yes, we’re talking about that place that is not continually basking in the warm embrace of the internet, where real-time collaboration and synchronization are crushed under their own weight: the offline hole. You might want to look behind you, and ping engineering for an update on Palomino’s engine status, because the hole is getting bigger. In order to avoid a Neil Degrasse Tyson-style bifurcated death, we need to start paying attention to the offline event horizon. It’s a monster, all right.
Last time on E(E) in Part 1 of Cloudfusion, we outlined how the ongoing cloud bombardment is certainly creating plenty of disruption and confusion in the Computer Aided Design (CAD) market. If you missed Part 1, catch yourself up right here. Tired of the word cloud already? You’ll have to endure a few more invocations, I’m afraid. In an attempt to diffuse the ongoing cloudfusion, we’ll dive right into defining the various cloud technologies that are relevant for CAD. Here we go. In no particular order:
Cloud this. Cloud that. Cloud applications, cloud delivery, cloud sharing, cloud processing, cloud in your pocket, cloud at your company, cloud in your breakfast cereal. These days the momentum of The Amazon Cloud is overwhelming. Yet, the avalanche of cloud solutions is only just beginning for Computer Aided Design (CAD). The wide range of future possibilities have some people very, very excited. Others are not quite so keen to cheer, concerned about intellectual property protection and costly licensing models, among other conundrums about control, ownership, and obsolescence. Despite all the excitement and dread, there’s a more prevalent reaction that overwhelms both the enthusiastic early adopters and the despondent naysayers: confusion. With the relentless bombardment of cloud marketing for just about everything, it’s easy to mistake the cloud as one monolithic approach. There’s a horrendous amount of confusion that everything deemed cloud must necessarily be a subscription based, remotely-hosted, platform independent, socially collaborative, virtualized elastic computing platform dependent on the internet. It’s all cloud, right? Cloud, cloud, cloud. Just say cloud one more time. I double dare you.
It’s just three weeks into 2014, and we have yet another sobering reminder of the sad state of password security. Ars Technica was quick on the draw with the perfect response to a newly revised list of common passwords posted by SplashData, a popular password manager provider. Seems the ultimate stupidity of using the word password as a password, has been quite literally replaced with what more or less an idiot would use on their luggage. Except with a whole extra digit thrown in for good measure. Of course, this isn’t a revelation of any sort – prior security breaches such as RockYou way back in 2010 revealed similar conclusions. So there’s a healthy population of idiots with plenty of luggage out there, along with quite a few devout fans of monkeys and princesses, or perhaps monkey princesses. With the explosion of cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) and the geometric growth of credentials across personal and work for any given individual, the problem no doubt will get worse before it gets better. It’s the challenge of Enterprise Single Sign On (SSO) all over again. Or is it?
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