Technology and Its Role in TIDE

1950 TelephoneBefore personal computers changed the way we live and work, common tools of the workplace were the hard wired telephone, typewriter, stationary, envelopes, and postage stamps. You could choose to take classes in shorthand, typing and dictation in high school. Then, along came personal computers and completely changed our lifestyles. Today’s status quo isn’t the same as it was yesterday or the way it will be tomorrow. It’s changing that quickly, like the ocean tides; always in motion. As we mentioned in a previous article on this topic, rapid changes are happening in all industries because the time is right for forces to come together and bring about revolutionary change. We call this “digital transformation,” and it fuels TIDE.

TIDE logo

TIDE

The acronym TIDE, coined by CabForward℠ CEO Lance Vaughn, stands for the four factors contributing the most to rapid societal changes we are experiencing today: Technology, Innovation, Disruption, and Entrepreneurship.

Let’s examine this first factor, Technology.

The open source (free) software concept has been one of the most significant cultural developments in Information Technology in recent decades, and has shown that individuals, collaborating over the Internet, can create software products that equal or exceed those of huge corporations.

It has also shown how companies can become more innovative, more nimble and more cost-effective by building on the efforts of community work and knuckling down with DevOps; the software production method that pairs development with operations. The 2014 Puppet Labs Survey reveals that 63% of organizations reported using DevOps practices in early 2014, while only 50% had adopted it in 2011. The results have been very positive, with organizations reporting 50% fewer code failures while delivering applications much faster than in the past.

And, open source has also made folks a lot more collaborative than in the days when everyone’s software was proprietary and you had to guard it very closely or chance losing your position in the market place. Proprietary software still exists today, although we all resist being forced into a vendor-supplier model where innovation can be stonewalled.

What is the internet of things?

Internet of ThingsAccording to wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia, the term Internet of Things (commonly abbreviated as “IoT”) is used to denote advanced connectivity of devices to systems and services. One of the first consequences of implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) by equipping all objects in the world with minuscule identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers would be to transform daily life in several positive ways. For instance, instant and ceaseless inventory control would become ubiquitous.

According to Gartner Research, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020.

Examples for today.

Our smartphones make our cars even smarter! The focus of innovation in automobile electronics today is shifting from hardware to software, and from the car manufacturers to innovative companies using mobile platforms. Rather than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to include “smart” capabilities in our vehicles, we’re getting the capabilities for a few bucks by buying a mobile app for our smartphone.

There are apps now that unbundle the most basic car functionality of entry and ignition by using an RFID signal, and apps that provide portable GPS location, facilities and services look up, parking space finder, even automotive repair notifications. We like navigating using maps on a phone, using instant crowdsourced data for road and traffic conditions, all from our mobile devices. And, we can take all these services with us when moving from one vehicle to the next.

Smart Home Technology

Few people advanced the idea of the smart home as Steve Jobs did. In his article How Steve Jobs Transformed the Home, Adam Verwymeren wrote that while other companies were building expensive panel control systems or dishwashers that tweet, Jobs understood that the home of the future would be more about connectivity than hardware. By tapping into the versatility of the smartphone, a device we all carry, and opening it up to app makers, we can simply and easily perform a variety of household tasks from just about anywhere. One single device began replacing the many we previously needed.

Apple iPhoneSo whether you want to adjust the thermostat, live stream security camera footage, respond to a break-in, lock and unlock doors, or pause a movie, there’s an app for that using text or spoken commands.

Robotics

According to some, the next big disruptive technology since the PC era will be Industrial Robotics. Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO, is one who predicts that robotics will be the next disruptive force to change our world.

Industrial RobotsDr. Rodney Brooks, former MIT Robotics professor who envisioned insect-like robots 12 years before the technology ended up in NASA’s Mars robots. According to market research reports, the industrial robotics market is poised for huge growth to an estimated value of $32.9 billion by 2017.” Central to this growth is industrial automation, ensuring lower costs and higher quality. Automated factories will be full of modularized processes relying on things like nanotech sensors, very fast networks, quality diagnostic software and flexible interfaces.

Currently, research labs around the world are working on innovative new technologies that will move industrial robotics forward, providing significantly improved vision systems, greater mobility and flexible assembly options. Future factories will be highly flexible, wirelessly networked and reconfigurable down to the smallest valve or switch. Industrial robots will help us lift, carry, deliver, position and learn. But most importantly, they’ll move our global economy forward.

3-D Printing

Hobbyists and design enthusiasts have already made 3-D printing common at home. 3-D printing is any of a number of various processes for making a three-dimensional object from an electronic data source. A 3-dimention printer is a type of industrial robot. One study has found that 3-D printing could become a mass market product enabling consumers to save money associated with purchasing common household objects.

In 2005, a rapidly expanding hobbyist and home-use market was accelerated with the introduction of the open-source software RepRap and Fab@Home. Virtually all home-use 3-D printers released to-date have their technical roots in the on-going RepRap Project and associated open-source software initiatives.

Thanks to the Internet and declining hardware costs, 3-D printing is becoming more common among design hobbyists and entrepreneurs. The market’s adoption of the technology has been swift, fueled in part by a fast-growing market of do-it-yourselfers.

Here’s how 3-D printing generally works: Once a product is designed on software, the file is sent to a special 3-D printer that contains a spool (or cartridge) of a material (usually plastic, metal or ceramics) in a fine powder or gel-like texture. Like printing on paper, the 3D printer lays down successive layers of the material and builds up until an object emerges. It’s then cleaned, painted or cooled.

3-D Printing Demo

Joint Replacement Surgery Gets ‘Smarter’
Technology helps surgeons place artificial joints – Cleveland Clinic

Traditionally, surgeons performing joint replacement surgery determine the placement of a new hip, shoulder or knee joint based on two-dimensional imaging, such as X-rays and CT scans.

But Wael Barsoum, MD, Vice Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, and Joseph Iannotti, MD, PhD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute, are working on an innovative software program. Using three-dimensional printers, they create customized models — called SmartBones— of a patient’s specific anatomy before and after implant placement.

An ‘exact replica’ of a patient’s bone

“We now can virtually recreate the joint anatomy with standard CT scans, plan the surgery in three dimensions with the software, and generate an exact replica of the patient’s bone with the planned implant position,” Dr. Barsoum says. “This then helps us recreate that plan in the operating room by using the patient-specific bone model as a reference guide.”

3-D printing technology is already making inroads into all types of industries, and may eventually enable on-demand parts production, eliminate assembly lines, reduce inventory and speed up making objects or parts that don’t require precise detailing. It could spawn a new cottage industry with many hobbyists printing the same part to fulfill an order too large for any one of them to fill individually. And, it could change the medical industry dramatically as specialists identify ways to utilize the new, affordable, capabilities of three dimensional printing to achieve efficiencies and abilities not currently available.

In this series of articles, we are examining the acronym TIDE, coined by Lance Vaughn of CabForward℠, a leading software programming company in Austin. The acronym, stands for the four factors contributing the most to rapid societal changes we are experiencing today: Technology, Innovation, Disruption, and Entrepreneurship. In our first article we introduced our thoughts around where we are today, and where we’re headed. We have just examined Technology. In the next installation, we’ll take a close look at Innovation.

CabForward℠is a leading software programming company in Austin. We support disruption. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.