Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Gartner lists top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013

At its Symposium IT Expo in Orlando this week, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio laid out 10 critical tech trends and technologies for the next 5 years.

Cappuccio said that in the last minute, people sent 204 million emails, listened to 61,000 hours of music Pandora, viewed 20 million photos and uploaded 3 million uploads to Flickr,  sent 100,000 tweets, viewed 6 million Facebook posts, logged in to 277,000 Facebook accounts, and performed 2 million plus Google searches.

The trends clearly point to Mobile, Cloud and Internet. In fact, they capture 5 of the top 10 spots for next year. The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 are:

  1. Mobile devices battles. In 2013 more people will access the Internet by mobile device than by PC.
  2. Mobile applications and HTML5. JavaScript and HTML5 will become the mainstream app development environment.
  3. Personal Cloud. The Cloud and Cloud services will become more important with increased use and the need to sync several mobile devices.
  4. Internet of things. An increased number of “things” with sensors will connect to the Internet.
  5. Hybrid IT and Cloud computing. The trend towards increasing information managed in hybrid and Cloud applications allows IT departments to take on a coordination role.
  6. Strategic big data. To make strategic decisions, organizations need to aggregate and analyze data from multiple internal and external sources. This differs from the single data warehouse approach.
  7. Actionable analytics. Big data and analytics meet in the Cloud to allow rapid analysis and simulations. People will be able to conduct analysis via mobile devices.
  8. Mainstream in-memory computing. Increased memory capability can improve performance and decrease response time. New software will take advantage of memory capabilities and will allow self-service analytics.
  9. Integrated ecosystems. Software and services will be packaged as “appliances” to address infrastructure or application workload.
  10. Enterprise app stores. Organizations will deliver business applications through private app stores.
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Planned obsolescence

Today I was reminded–again–of how things just don’t last the way they used to. We tried to repair a 2 1/2-year-old desktop computer that bit the dust. The extended warranty ran out at 2 years. So, it was back to the “big box” store to recycle yet another nonfunctional big ticket item.

Per Wikipedia, planned obsolescence is the concept of designing a product with a limited useful life, so that it will become obsolete after some time. This concept favors the manufacturer and stimulates the economy when consumers must purchase a new item to replace the obsolete one. Forms of planned obsolescence in the IT arena include

  • technical or functional obsolescence, where new technologies replace the old. Great examples are personal computers, software, hard drives and storage. A PC can last through about one operating system upgrade, or 3-4 years, before it lacks the speed and memory to run the latest software.
  • systemic obsolescence, where the product can no longer be maintained, and/or the manufacturer stops supporting it. With PCs, Microsoft will support Windows 2-3 versions back. When Windows 8 debuts this week, organizations and consumers will have a limited time to replace systems running Windows XP, which no longer will be supported a number of months from now.
  • obsolescence by depletion, where the product consumes a resource. All printers consume ink/toner, as well as items like print heads, belts and fusers. When my latest ink jet printer needed a set of four new print heads, it was less costly to buy a brand new one. I received a $50 credit for turning in an old printer, and got a replacement with new ink, new print heads and several technical refinements, including “e-printing” from smartphones and tablets and remote PCs.

Admittedly, the desktop computer did not fall neatly into any of these three categories–it simply stopped working, and a $100 1TB hard drive did not fix the problem. But it simply did not last even the 3-4 years we expected. At the same time, we have a fully functional computer that’s 13 years old. We upgraded the operating system a couple of times and installed a DVD drive years ago. It keeps on running.

 


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Best green brands 2012

Interbrand just released its Best Global Green Brands 2012 report on the heels of its Best Global Brands report. It’s interesting that four of the top ten are automotive companies, four are tech/diversified companies and two are consumer products companies. Interbrand and Deloitte rated the companies and came up with a list of the top 50.

Photo: Interbrand

The top ten green brands for 2012 are:

  1. Toyota
  2. Johnson & Johnson
  3. Honda
  4. Volkswagen
  5. Hewlett-Packard
  6. Panasonic
  7. Dell
  8. Siemens
  9. Danone
  10. BMW

Interbrand’s CEO Jez Frampton said,

“Though “green” was once the province of empty promises, the world’s most valuable green brands have earned their place in our report, which examines how leading brands perform in the arena of sustainability and how their environmentally conscious efforts are perceived by the public. These two critical halves—performance and perception—make up the whole of a green company: one that operates sustainably and has built a positive image that can be leveraged to strengthen brand value.”

An interesting note… our household has purchased products from seven of the ten companies. We have not bought two of the auto brands, but our siblings have–repeatedly. And I don’t think that Siemens is in the consumer market! So, it’s probably not a coincidence that companies who have a “green” mindset also make good products.


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If it’s Thursday, it must be recycling day

I woke up this morning–another Thursday, so it’s household recycling day. We put out paper, plastic and glass in the designated recycling bins each week. Our remaining “garbage” fills only one trash bag a week. The sad thing is, we live in Houston–the fourth largest city in the U.S.–and only 22% of households recycle. Seattle, San Francisco and other progressive cities lead the list, with about two-thirds of the population recycling. Chicago and Detroit are at the bottom of the list.

I read in the Houston Chronicle this week that the City of Houston Department of Solid Waste Management is evaluating the possibility of building a large, state-of-the art recycling plant. This would save the City plenty of money, as well as plenty of landfill space. Other, more landlocked cities do not have the luxury of dumping easily recycled materials in landfills.

RecycleRecycling is easy if you make a small effort. The household pickup each week is simple. For $3/month, you get the recycling bin and set it out by the garage on Thursdays. If more neighbors recycled, the cost could go down.

When I purchased a new smartphone last year, I sold the old one to the eBay recycling service for $60. I got a free shipping label and received payment quickly. A few weeks ago, I turned in a 25-year-old laser printer for a $50 rebate on a new, energy-efficient printer. This week I took two old cell phones and a laptop computer to a retail store for recycling.

Local papers and bulletins have notices about community recycling efforts. On October 24, the (Houston) Bay Area Community Advisory Panel (BAYCAP) holds its monthly meeting at the Armand Bayou Nature Center. The topic is the interactions of the 27 plants in the Bay Area, and their recycling efforts. On November 10, the Johnson Space Center Contractors will sponsor free electronic recycling.  Materials will be recycled properly and in compliance with e-waste regulations.

Let’s think about recycling as a lifestyle issue, not a trash issue.


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The power of brands

Research firm Interbrand released its list of the best global brands for 2012. While it’s not a surprise to see Coca-Cola and Apple and the top of the list, I found it interesting that six of the top ten brands come from tech companies, as well as ten of the top twenty. Skimming through the list of 100, I was unfamiliar with only one brand.

Interbrand’s methodology looks at the ongoing investment and management of the brand as a business asset. Three key aspects that contribute to the assessment:

  • The financial performance of the branded products or services.
  • The role of brand in the purchase decision process.
  • The strength of the brand.

Photo: Interbrand

And the Top Ten Best Global Brands are…

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Apple
  3. IBM
  4. Google
  5. Microsoft
  6. GE
  7. McDonald’s
  8. Intel
  9. Samsung
  10. Toyota

 


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The rising tide of bring your own technology

I just read a Forrester Report: Charting The Rising Tide Of Bring-Your-Own Technology. It provides lots of data to back up what I found a couple of months ago when researching an IT Insight column, Tech Trends: Bring Your Own Device to Work.

Forrester’s findings include

  • a large percentage of workers pay for their own technology (e.g. smartphones, tablet computers and software) out of their own pockets
  • workers use a range of self-provisioned devices, software and services to do their jobs
  • BYOT is growing today, and will become second nature within three years
  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs) cannot afford to ignore BYOT.

Organizations that do not have BYOT policies today should develop them now, because, within a few years, these same organizations will encourage employees to bring their own devices to work.

How this “consumerization” of business with personal tech devices impacts productivity is a topic for another post.


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How good are your passwords?

A while back I facilitated a number of  environment, health & safety (EHS) software training sessions. Some of the trainees–mostly what I would call occasional users–needed instruction in computer fundamentals, including how to set a secure password. Some rules of thumb for what NOT to use as a password are

  1. don’t use your name or parts of it
  2. don’t use your pet’s name
  3. don’t use clever passwords like “password123” or 1234567
  4. don’t use your social security number, phone number or address
  5. don’t use common words
  6. don’t use the same password for multiple applications and/or Internet sites

… and the list goes on… When I mentioned rule no. 2, above, one of the trainees said, “Gee, now I have to change my password!”

A “strong” password is eight or more characters long and contains three or more of the following elements

  1. upper case letters (CAPITALS)
  2. lower case letters
  3. numbers
  4. special characters (e.g., $, #, ?, %, !)

Here is a great infographic, How hack-friendly is your password?