HardCopy Issue 66

Issue 66 – Summer 2015

Editorial Intro – Matt Nicholson

It seems inevitable that the next bandwagon coming our way has ‘Internet of Things’ written on it in very large letters, just as the previous one proclaimed ‘The Cloud’ as the universal solution, and the one before insisted that ‘Services’ were the answer to everything. Once again, we can expect every new product and service to boast an association with the new buzzword, even if it’s just a humble cable-tie.

Which is, of course, not to say that we shouldn’t take the Internet of Things (IoT) seriously. After all, considering our servers to be deliverers of services, and then delivering them through the Internet, did open up new possibilities not only in terms of technology but also in transformative business models. Regardless of the hype, IoT does represent a major paradigm shift, in that it invites a new way of thinking about the Internet, and opens up whole new worlds of both possibilities and considerations.

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In a 1991 article for Scientific American, Mark Weiser of Xerox PARC suggested we were about to enter a time of ‘ubiquitous computing’, which he described as the Third Wave: “The First Wave was many people per computer. The Second Wave was one person per computer. The Third Wave is many computers per person.” Today, some 24 years after the article appeared, it is common for people to be regularly accessing the Internet from at least two, and sometimes three or four, devices. Continuing the analogy, it would seem we are about to enter a Fourth Wave in which computers extend beyond people and into the very things that make up the real world.

The most obvious manifestation of this paradigm shift is in the things themselves – the sensors and the motors, and the tiny computer systems that connect them. For many, this is the most exciting area, reminiscent of the Golden Age with ‘maker boards’ such as the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi or Intel’s Galileo, Edison and the tiny button-like Curie taking the place of the Altair 8800, the MK14 and the UK101 of 40 years ago. Pioneers are literally tying such things to model cars and drones, while companies like Intel dream up new ways to power and communicate with such devices.

Meanwhile, out in the Cloud, Big Data is wondering how it is going to cope with the truly immense amount of data that is going to be flowing back from all these Things. As James Reinders points out on page 13, this is essentially a problem in distributed computing, and as such will require developer tools that can cope with applications that span platforms ranging from a Raspberry Pi to Microsoft Azure, taking in perhaps Windows 10, Android and iOS on the way. Over the coming issues we will be examining such subjects in more depth, but in the meantime, check out Simon Bisson’s introduction.

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Articles for this issue

The Internet of Things

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Simon Bisson

The coming revolution will transform our world. Simon Bisson introduces a major new series.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Matt Nicholson

How much do you know about your customers? We look at the tools that can help you make the most of each interaction.

Enterprise Mobility Management

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Mary Branscombe

Managing IT systems nowadays means coping with devices on both sides of the organisation’s firewall.

Build apps for Windows 10

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Tim Anderson

Windows 10 is coming and with it a new app platform that will run on everything from desktops to phones, Xbox consoles and IoT devices.

Inside Data 66

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Graham Keitch

The Internet of Things will need new tools and technologies for handling data, as Graham Keitch explains.

Straight talking 66

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Tim Anderson

Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are natural choices for the back end of an IoT solution. Tim Anderson delves deeper.

And another thing 66

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Jon Honeyball

Jon Honeyball gets wound up about the Internet of Things.

Short Cuts 66

Published: June 1, 2015 | Author: Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens takes a sideways look at the world of IT.