Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Monday, 14 April 2014

SMAC technologies in 2014 and beyond

The increasing pace of change is rapidly driving customer, businesses and technology firms in a tight embrace, with the convergence of disruptive technologies eroding the boundaries separating them. Businesses are becoming more and more agile, and technologies such as social media, mobility, analytics and cloud computing are coming together to unleash unlimited opportunities for everyone involved. This convergence – also known as SMAC – will be the leading disruptor to the business-technology ecosystem over the next few years. 

Social media
A social media strategy has become a must for all enterprises, be it banks, retailers or the government. With over one billion individuals logged on to various social networks, people are now using social media for advice on what products to buy, where to shop and even regarding what firms they want to work with. While most enterprises use social media for their customer service function only, many firms have now started using social media in tandem with their sales and marketing functions. This in turn enables firms to use data generated by the customers effectively to service their larger pools of customers.

Mobile devices have changed the way people access digital content. Smartphones and tablets have brought rich, digital content to the fingertips of consumers. Mobile banking has emerged as one of the most innovative products in the financial services industry. Shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices for everything from browsing to comparing to buying products. Governments are also reaching out to their citizens, using mobile devices as an efficient channel. Enterprises must also jump on to the mobility bandwagon, and ensure that their applications are mobile ready.

Every year, companies and individuals generate billions of gigabytes of data. Data, which properly analyzed and used in time, can emerge as an unbeatable competitive advantage. Enterprises need to recognize the prospect analytics represents and should adapt their IT strategy to capture such opportunities’. Analytics can help retailers predict buying decisions of shoppers; it can help banks weed out fraudulent transactions; while governments can use analytics to provide services directly to their citizens. Predictive analytics has also been adopted across industries in various scenario building activities.

Cloud computing

The undeniable power of cloud computing to foster innovations and imprve productivity is now accepted by both IT vendors and their customers. While the financial services and government sectors are mostly moving to a private cloud model due to information security concerns, other industries like healthcare and retail have adopted public cloud. Moreover, their existing infrastructure has helped telecom players to emerge as providers of cloud computing, leading to erosion in boundaries between IT and telecom vendors.

Kevin Parikh Jan 14 Fig 1

Experts predict that the confluence of SMAC -- social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud computing -- will be a potent and leading business-technology enabler of the next decade. They agree that the SMAC ecosystem will have a huge rub-off on IT services. Gartner estimates that India-centric IT services vendors will witness an 8-10% annual revenue growth from SMAC. 

SMAC may provide the much-needed boost for India’s $108-billion IT sector, which has had a jagged growth in the last couple of years on account of global economic challenges, falling consumer spending, and a Eurozone crisis in their main markets. Industry body Nasscom foresees a 12-14% revenue growth in the ongoing fiscal year. The adoption of disruptive technologies could further impel client spending. 

Typical SMAC Stack

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Finally Microsoft is catching up to the Future: Big Thanks to Satya Nadella

"We started out as a company that was focused on developers…we’re again in that era now," proclaimed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Take free Windows on small devices, for example. Ten years ago, the concept of giving away the crown jewel of Microsoft’s product portfolio would have been unthinkable, but the rules have changed: Android and iOS are in charge. Exciting new hardware like Pebble, Nest, and various fitness wearables are emerging, leaving Windows behind. Microsoft will now compete directly with Android’s model, a move that will result in cheaper devices for consumers, and — as Nadella undoubtedly hopes, anyway — more devices for developers to target.

While Microsoft has been promising "three screens and a cloud" for years now, it’s finally starting to align Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox to pull that promise off. The so-called universal Windows apps shown at Build can run across PCs, phones, and televisions alike, significantly reducing the amount of work developers need to do. You could buy an app on Windows and not have to buy it again on Windows Phone, all while running it on your TV with an Xbox One — and the developer would’ve only had to make a single app to do it.

Microsoft will make Windows free of charge for phones and tablets with screens smaller than 9 inches, a move designed to help boost the company's market share. The announcement comes alongside plans to let developers make universal applications that work on all devices running Microsoft's software — both Windows Phone and Windows. That feature is headed to Windows 8.1 as well as Windows Phone 8.1, which was also detailed on stage and is arriving on mobile devices in the next few months.

Microsoft has been experimenting with a free, or low-cost version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing," which includes a handful of Microsoft apps and services aimed at Windows 7 users. It's unclear if this is the result of that effort. Microsoft simply referred to the new, free version as "Windows for Internet of Things," and is including a free year of Office 365.

Microsoft recently cut the price of Windows 8.1 licenses by 70 percent for some PC makers, reductions aimed at taking on low-cost tablets and Google Chromebooks that sell for less than $250. Previously Microsoft charged $50 per Windows 8.1 license.

The next complete version of Windows is being referred to as Windows 9, though this may change. And a new codename has appeared - Threshold, possibly in refrence to moving across from our reliance on the desktop to a new world where the Start screen is at the heart of how we use Windows.

We don't know if Windows 9 will be available as an upgrade from Windows 7 that you can buy as a standalone product or if you'll have to have Windows 8 to get the upgrade. But it may not be with us for a while yet - Windows business chief Tami Reller has talked about "multiple selling seasons" for Windows 8, meaning that we'll likely have several versions of it.
Some rumours have suggested late 2014 or early 2015 for a Windows 9 release, though the former seems wide of the mark.
In January 2014, well-known Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott said he believes the company plans to release Windows 9 (codenamed Threshold) in April 2015, less than three years after Windows 8.