10 Tech Trends that will drive 2016

In the year 2015, we have seen the true potential of digital revolution unleashed that would impact the whole next decade. We did witness frenzied markets created by a spurt of digital aggregator platforms in businesses such as taxi, shopping, restaurants, retail, etc. On the other hand, we saw the impact of smartphones becoming the centrifugal platform for businesses, with data collection becoming ubiquitous in every walk of life.

Driven by the benefits of personalization, access and analytics, businesses in 2015 were pushed to redefine their strategies from an extended mobile approach to “Mobile First” approach and even in some cases “Mobile Only” approach. In the semiconductor front, low geometry, higher performance and lower power consumption has driven the market in the last few years. Here, we shall look at the technology trends that will drive the product engineering market in 2016.

*This article was reproduced from my blog post at einfochips

1) Rise of Smart Devices and Machines:

01 IoT

The internet of things (IoT) is both an industry vertical and a horizontal enabler. The IoT ecosystem is perfectly poised to accelerate in 2016 and the years ahead. Smart City and Smart Healthcare solutions are already getting a huge push from governments, global. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) powered by Industrial robots will champion the cause of operational efficiencies in factories. The drive for standardization / consolidation of IoT platforms will increase in this year.

2) Not Autonomous but Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):

02 Driver Assistance Systems

While autonomous / driverless cars are still the carrot for the tech giants, in coming years ahead we are going to see more advancements in sensor driven driver assistance systems, playing a key role in driver safety and ease of driving. ADAS systems will power a virtual 3D model of the environment and provide real-time assistance to drivers from the dashboard. Smartphone and dashboard connected solutions will enable innovations in the automotive segment by connecting car sensors with owners and OEMs for near real-time diagnostics.

3) Real-time Precision and Accuracy to propel the Aviation flight safety:

03 Aviation flight

Untoward incidents like flights missing from the radar and the recent surge in attacks have pushed the Aviation industry to make navigation more real-time. The focus towards multi-constellation/multi-frequency Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) solutions will increase in 2016. GNSS would now display precise results with vehicle positioning maps, 3D navigation etc.

4) Reduced gap between E-commerce and In-store Retail customer analytics:

04 E commerce

Customer analytics will move beyond e-Commerce channels. Insights driven by customer behavior, customer profiling, instore and personal e-commerce shopping patterns will entwine to build a unified and personalized experience for the customers. We will also see more of in-store analytics, similar to Retail Site intelligence, getting deployed in wider circles in this year.

5) Image Based Search will drive E-commerce platforms:

05 Image Based Search

With mobile shopping enhancing the reach of the E-commerce market, we will see more companies deploying Image based product search features as a standard functionality in their Apps. A customer can quickly search and buy a product by just clicking on a picture in the surroundings. Though there are a few existing deployments by some big E-commerce companies, the platforms still lack accuracy. In 2016, we will see the algorithms getting refined and companies increasing adopting Image based search on their app platforms.

6) Drones with High Resolution Cameras:

06 Drones

With the advancement in computing capabilities and reduced form factors, drones are set to become even more powerful and pervasive. FAA predicts that drones will spawn a $90 billion industry within a decade. While the consumer business giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. are still testing the business cases for drones, these developments in news clearly shadows the real progress made in the drone industry. The ability to capture high resolution imagery using technologies ranging from regular cameras to 4K cameras to laser cameras empowers Drones to be used in mission critical surveillance, disaster monitoring and relief programs. We are going to see more of governments and military using drones for surveillance, riot controls and in natural calamities.

7) Localized and Distributed Intelligence for Sensor Environments:

07 Sensor Environments

Sensors and actuators built across different devices are going to generate a tremendous amount of data from end devices and gateway networks to the cloud. The magnitude is set to grow even more exponentially with growth of connected devices. To enable faster access of relevant data and to reduce the bandwidth occupied in data transmission and storage, we will see more of localized and distributed intelligence built across the gateways and end devices.

8) Contextual Intelligence to Power our Daily Life:

08 Contextual Intelligence

The growth of embedded intelligence and analytics will power businesses to provide alerts, recommendations and analysis in response to the context or surroundings. Analytics will continue crunching the data in the background to provide real-time assistance and feedbacks. We are already witnessing it with improvements in the virtual personal assistance like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana etc. We will see devices behaving more responsive to the environmental situations.

9) Cloud Computing Everywhere:

09 Cloud Computing

The nexus of mobile computing with cloud computing will increase the deployment of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered anytime, anywhere and at any devices. We will see more devices connecting to cloud and SaaS based business models to become even more prominent in 2016. Companies will look for ways to improve inter-device communication through cross-platform integrations.

10) User Experience will be the Key Business Driver:

10 User Experience

With an increase in connected devices and focus towards providing contextual information, user experience will take a prominence in technology adoption. With wearable technologies set to become even more prevalent in 2016, the focus will now shift towards mobilizing the data and synchronizing the experience. User experience will push for invisible analytics with unified, fluid, contextual and personalized experience across smartphones, wearables and other connected devices.

The above list is only an indication of some interesting trends that are likely to happen in 2016. Please comment your thoughts on what you think will drive the product engineering market in this year.

3 ways to improve the Business Intelligence (BI) adoption rate

With an ever changing technology landscape and the overflow of digital data, Business intelligence plays a critical role for companies to remain competitive in the market. The power to understand and analyze data to make quick, competitive and impactful decisions is the need of the hour for any decision maker. BI user adoption plays a critical role in the drive to become a data-driven company. Unfortunately, BI adoption rate for many companies hovers as low as 30% for the executed BI projects. This situation leads to massive loss of time, infrastructure and money spent on these BI projects. Below are a few approaches that help in improving the BI adoption rate in the company.

1) Strategize BI from Top:

Adopting a data-driven culture is a transformational initiative and cannot be started from the bottom rungs of decision making unit. The strategy has to flow from the top to bottom. The corporate objective has to be modularized and the departmental objectives have to be aligned to match to business objectives. Most of the BI projects fail during this phase as companies take the bottom-up approach and the compartmentalized BI implementation eventually does not align with the overall business needs of the organization. Start the business intelligence planning from the top and implement it progressively to the bottom of the decision table.

2) Implementing for business user:

Most BI projects in the market are implemented as packaged solutions with IT department functioning as gatekeepers to the BI reporting. Unfortunately, each business is unique and the business challenges are specific to the organization and there can be no one product fits all solution. Business Intelligence should not to be treated as a replacement to existing reporting environment; rather it should help business users to work smarter, move faster and make better decisions. It has to address to the specific challenges of the company and not just produce template market reports. Eliminating the mindset of treating BI as an IT function and enhancing the business user experience with self-service BI reporting goes a long way in improving the BI adoption rate in the company.

3) Bring BI to review meetings:

While BI is seen as an initiative to enhance the reporting environment and close the gap between data to decisions, it is still not universally accepted tool for review meetings. This situation is partly attributed to limited understanding of the BI audience in the company. While there are power-users in the organization preferring slice and dice of data for dynamic analysis, there are even more information-consumers who would be content with generating static reports for business metrics. Industry estimates a ratio of around 1:4 between dynamic and static reporting. Understanding and balancing the equation between these different types of users is a critical component in the success of BI adoption. Use of BI tool in review meetings helps in collective analysis and thus improving the adoption of BI culture in the company.

These are some of the many steps that can be taken to improve the BI user adoption in the company. The drive has to start with understanding the different stakeholders involved in the decision circle and addressing the specific challenges faced in making decisions.

How to Ensure your Business Intelligence Strategy Remains Business Focused

In the era of digital revolution, decision making has become more of a science than an art. Gone are the days when decisions were made purely on individual skills and experience. With a large influx of data available to all stakeholders of a company, executives and decision-making units are even more accountable for the choices made. The essence of today’s decision making lies in accessing the right information at the right time.

Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are the key to making those informed choices. BI and analytics are witnessing drastic growth in recent years and will continue to do so in coming years as well. The mindset of companies to adapt to the changing landscape of BI and to exploit the benefits that the tools offer to enterprises is a huge challenge for organizations that lived in the ages of traditional reporting and data warehousing.

An aspect that is often observed in organizations is that the business problems are never static. The requirements change time and time again with the new market challenges confronting the company.

The usability factor of the BI data also becomes questionable by the end of a BI project. Thus, business intelligence, which often starts as an initiative to solve a critical business equation, tends to become just another investment in technology by the end of the project.

BI tools have caused a paradigm shift in report viewing and handling. The dynamic capabilities of BI tools are difficult to visualize for companies that used traditional static reports earlier. Hence the real challenge for executives while migrating to BI is ensuring the completeness of the requirement at the beginning phase of the project. This challenge is further enhanced when technology cost is brought into the equation.

A few questions that loom large among executives while dealing with BI projects are:

  • What if the solution does not solve the business problem despite matching the requirements?
  • How would I be able to convince myself and other stakeholders on the investment made?
  • What if the requirements are wrong? How would I avoid a change request scenario?

Many organizations define success as meeting the project requirements, time and cost. The real objective and success of the BI project should be to solve the business problem at hand and not the requirements alone. The blatant truth is that most of the data challenges that confront BI solutions are often un-imaginable in the beginning and hence requirements are never complete. Only when stakeholders view the first cut of the end product, true requirements will begin to flow as data table correlations and visualizations start to make better meaning.

The best way to tackle such complexities is through a Reporting-as-a-Service model. The services model alongside an Agile project methodology will help companies tackle the challenges on an incremental basis. The continuous engagement model between vendors and clients will help the client companies to not only scale their normal reporting environment but also to be responsive and adaptive to the latest trends and dynamic reporting capabilities of BI, mobility, analytics and Big Data. Business-focused metrics can be designed and redesigned to produce actionable insights and to meet the exact challenges confronting the company. The Reporting-as-a-Service model won’t just solve the business complexities alone; it will also aid companies in shifting the effort and focus from reporting to decision making.

The true success of a business intelligence strategy lies in realizing it as a business investment rather than a technology investment.

How to Design an Effective Business Intelligence (BI) Dashboard that is Sure to Succeed?

Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is often seen by many as a tool to reduce the effort of report generation. While the recent BI data mining and discovery tools perform the rudimentary task with consummate ease, there is a greater value that BI provides to an organization. It has the potential to take the business to a whole new level by providing new insights and keeps the business on the full throttle by answering questions on the go. So what it takes to produce a new-age business intelligence reporting? The below are some of the key factors that I believe is essential to redefine the business intelligence.

Keep Selling the Requirements:

With the advent data discovery tools, discovering value does not just stop with the sales. A second phase takes place during the execution of the project. Traditionally, the requirements always flow from the client to a project team. While this method of approach solves the rudimentary task that we discussed in the beginning of the topic, the gold or rather the real value continues to remain hidden. This situation often leads to a frequent complaint of the buyer – “The sales person deceived me into buying this. I don’t see it doing any additional value to my business for the cost involved”. It is time the vendor teams take the selling approach and propose/sell the requirements at all phase of the project to the client, thereby bringing the true potential of the technology to the fore. Generating custom reports through technology and providing insights and analysis to different aspects of business reporting allows the project team to work together with the executives in developing the ultimate dashboard. It will not just exploit the technological capability, but will discover new business insights and maximize the value potential. An agile project execution further helps to visualize the product in stages and tackles the business challenges incrementally through iterations. By continuously putting the scorecards on test, it helps to redefine the performance indicators and redesign the dashboard to provide the most relevant actionable insight.

Design the Dashboard as an Artist:

An executive does not intend to see the entire dashboard data at all times. An effective dashboard should entice the user to see only the information which requires immediate attention. The dashboard layout and colors play a huge role in a decision plan. With ever decreasing attention span and with multitude of hats worn by the new-age executives, there is very limited time available for the executives to understand and digest the information. Every second spent on a dashboard should be made valuable to the user. For example, the presence of a red color on a dashboard creates an alert in the mind and narrows the vision of the user to that information which requires immediate action; while a green sends a positive note to the user and the corresponding information is often overlooked. Thus each color defines a meaning to the user and the layout should provide relevant information at a quick glance. Also with the possibility of getting dashboards on the mobile, displaying the information in the right layout and in apt colors takes the driver seat for decision-making.

Yes, you need think like an artist while designing the layout of the dashboard.

Package the technology under the hood:

In the age of social media and online games, no user would love to read through manuals to understand what needs to be done to get the desired output. A user should be able to explore, understand and operate independently without the intervention of the manuals or the IT team. The executive should be able to hit the decision accelerator pedal and be able see the output immediately on the dashboard. Delivering a self-service BI maximizes the business value and increases the adoption of the BI in the organization. The complex technological capabilities ranging from introspection of data to analytics and prediction should be continuously enhanced and scaled to provide actionable insights at all levels in the organization. Despite the huge volumes of data crunching, the technology need to completely hidden under the hood to provide a simple game like interface for the user to operate. This will empower the user to use the tool effectively and efficiently for business analysis.

When a company transits from traditional reporting landscape to business intelligence, it needs to start visualizing reporting in a completely new dimension. While a transformation of existing scorecards and KPIs are the first step in the journey, there is greater stride that needs to be taken to produce dynamic reports. That greater stride is possible only when the technology revs up the business engine through relevant information while continuously pushing out the irrelevant data through the exhaust.

Seeing the future from the eyes of Google

ImageGoogle had become the gatekeeper for our Internet house. It had gone so deep into our nerves that sometimes, it even make us feel handicapped when we don’t see Google on our browser homepage .

This post is about looking into the future of Google Search. So if you don’t like Google, I suggest you to not read any further. In my earlier blog on “If passion drives success, what drives passion?” I touched upon Google and its vision to deliver relevant results across all data sources. So let us begin with an analysis on Google past and together let us visualize the future from the vision of Google. 

Image

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, in an interview to Charlie Rose sometime in 2005, famously said “When you use Google, do you get more than one answer? Of course you do. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world. We should be able to give you the right answer just once. We should know what you meant. You should look for information. We should get it exactly right and we should give it to you in your language and we should never be wrong. That’s our challenge.”

This statement makes more sense now, in 2014. Today, Google customizes our search data based on our device, time, location and interest (through Google login in different Google products). With recent additions like Google instant and profile based search algorithms, the company had moved from basic keyword search and is set to deliver the best possible search we can seek for. From endless searching of pages in the early 2000s, we don’t feel the need to look beyond the 3rd page of Google search to find the right content, for most of our recent searches.

The basic search engine which started as a PageRank had evolved into a solution provider for all our search queries. True to the mission of the Google “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, the company is able to explore and integrate most of the digital data available on the online space. It had even gone to the extent of creating new data through products such as Youtube, Android, Google Glass and Internet of things like robots and driverless car etc. The heart of the company lies in the “Google Search” and all the products like Gmail, Google+, Youtube, Google Maps, Books, and Chrome etc form the veins that pump the extra blood to heart. Though each of those can act as independent products on their own, they are either invented / acquired with the very purpose to improve and customize the Google search and to deliver the most relevant possible result.

ImageSo what do you think the future of Google search will be? With the recent acquisition of Motorola mobility, wearable devices and neck tattoo patents, Google is all set to move ahead in the direction to read our mind and to answer queries in dimensions we never thought before. With the possibility of using analytics over bigdata, the possibility of predictions are endless as well. We will soon see a day when Google will tell us what we will search next as a part of the recommendation cycle. We will soon see a day where Google will provide answers even before we frame the question. We will soon see a day when Google will know us more than we know of our-self. Don’t you see the possibility hitting our digital doors?

♠ Be ready to share your data mind in the mind-boggling journey of Google ♠

If you have a bad social avatar, you are not employable – says Bigdata

The term “Big data” is still new and unheard in many organizations, but is rapidly creating eruptions all around the world. So before we begin this blog, for the benefit of the non technology savvy people – what is big data all about? It is an accumulated data set that is collected from both structured (as in traditional databases, tables etc) and unstructured (like the social media, videos, photos, emails etc) forms of data. The recent ability to harness these structured and unstructured data together has created a big vibe in the information industry. Open source technologies like Hadoop and R analytics have made it even more affordable and accessible for the new age organizations.

In this blog, I am not going to talk about the benefits of bigdata for the companies. A simple Google search on bigdata will provide you with millions of topics to read and sleep. I am going to unwind a field where bigdata is rapidly making in-roads and is definitely going to revolutionize the way we perceive social media.

  • What if I say that bigdata is going to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for an academic seat in an institution?
  • What if I say that bigdata is going to determine whether you are employable for an organization?
  • What if I say that bigdata is going to determine whether you are good citizen or not?

Image

Sounds unbelievable? It is the reality. Some US academic intuitions are exploring bigdata for admission processes. Companies like Google have already started analyzing bigdata for hiring better employees. Government organizations are looking into bigdata for collecting information on non-tax payers and defaulters.

We are going to see a radical shift in the way recruitment is going to happen in future. Resumes will very soon become an outdated process for recruitment. While companies are going to fight it out for the right candidate on a global level, gear yourself and be prepared for a roller coaster ride – a direct message from bigdata!