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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is predicted to be an Internet revolution that will lead to a radical change in the way IT is used in business. You often hear the terms “The Cloud” and cloud services, but what does it really mean – and is there a difference between the concepts?

Utility computing
Utility computing relates to the delivery of computing resources, It is raw processing power or storage and  the recipient pays for consumption. The classic comparison is the supply of electricity, delivered through a wall jack and charged after consumption. You do not tell the electric plant that you need more power. It is just there when you need it. The most common example of optimum use of this business model is Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The primary benefit of utility computing is the economical aspect. Corporate firms have a huge excess capacity because they must be able to perform, even in peak periods. Since a peak only occurs a few days during a year, this results in an excess capacity. Utility computing allows you to pay only for the computing resources you need when you need them. Like so many other IT delivery models before it, utility computing will be driven by a positive financial reputation. Due to the economic aspect, any business will be forced to consider how it can make the best use of the utility model.

Cloud computing
Cloud computing is a broader concept than utility computing. Cloud computing relates to the underlying architecture in which services or applications are designed and distributed. The central idea is that applications run somewhere in “the cloud” – internally or externally.
Companies have used this concept for years to establish their own internal cloud(s) where applications can be developed, tested and distributed. This concept is normally referred to as grid computing.

Applications in the Cloud
Applications in the cloud is what most know as Gmail, Hotmail, WordPress, Google docs, search engines, etc. The company offers an application via the Internet, which many users can join and use simultaneously. It is the same service, same code, and (perhaps) the same server the application runs on. The user of the application experiences it as a unique and isolated application and with the configuration you want. You do not have to worry about where the data is located, how they are stored and who will maintain the application. It is just a place “in the cloud”. You can always log in, wherever you are online. In a more business-oriented perspective it is known as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is developed after SaaS. PaaS is more targeted at developers and programmers. PaaS offers developers to develop applications hosted in “the cloud”. When you upload and run applications, you do not know where it happens. The advantage with PaaS over locally hosted applications is that it is scalable. If you suddenly require four servers instead of just one to run the application the resource supply will increase automatically. This is an infinite buffer, which is never higher than your consumption. The service you actually buy is the network of servers (“the cloud”) which channels requests and commands from one or more applications running in “the cloud”.

Several have tried to define cloud computing by comparing it with previous computing models: outsourcing, pay-as-you-go, On-Demand etc. This may not be entirely wrong, but there is much more in than that. The true business opportunities are slowly surfacing and more and more companies try to experience with cloud computing, often without the management knowing. Cloud computing will probably find its way into the enterprise in a bottom-up approach.

Check out my guest post on DigitalOrgs.net about the online collaboration tool, Zoho.

Cheers,

Rikke

Web 3.0 is a popular term for the semantic web. Semantic is the meaning of words. The semantic web is coded in a way that makes computers able to read and understand the information that people give them.

Until a few years ago, computers have only been able to read single characters or characters without understanding what they meant in different contexts. The semantic web is not limited by signs, but understands words and phrases and can create associations between different phenomena.

For computers to be able to both read and understand, they need a lot of metadata, which is data about data. In Web 3.0 these metadata will be partially filled by people, but will not only exist in a closed system such as a database as in Web 2.0. The benefits of databases are the inspiration source for Web 3.0. The database is composed so that all the information in it can be coordinated and cross-referenced.

All data and metadata will be available without being restricted in web 3.0. This means that all servers draw on each other. This will facilitate the work with computers, because all metadata will complement each other and thus be able to find the most relevant data for us. Metadata do exists today. People can for example feed their computer with metadata. This can say something about the individual computer user’s preferences and navigation patterns. With web 3.0 one would generate fewer tags themselves, because the computer will be able to search and find out what we want to do from our data volume and movement on the web.

The successor to today’s metadata and tags (XML) are the so-called RDF (Resource Description Framework) techniques. RDF offers developers the opportunity to write programs included tags without having to worry about different varying contexts. This means that all data on the network becomes available and easy to tag, which could make all the data tags. And these tags will not be restricted to data inside and between computers but could also be incorporated into a product like groceries. For example, a small chip on a milk carton. This chip contains information that your refrigerator can read. If the milk is too old, the RDF chip sends you an e-mail and your mail program itself send information to your shopping list to by milk, because your computer, your refrigerator, your e-mail program and your milk carton can read and understand the same language (RDF).

The purpose of the semantic Web is to make computers better to be able to sort, identify and respond to information, people and other computers exchange.

I’ve been asked to write a reflective post about my blogging experience so far. In addition I need to describe how I’ve been able to leverage off web 2.0 to enhance my personal branding, as a part of the Unit INN500 at QUT. I think it is really important to enhance your personal brand to advance your career, but it is really difficult to brand yourself when you’re not completely sure where you want to go career wise. But the importance of personal branding increases concurrently with the development of the internet as everybody uses the internet to gather information about new employees, new workplaces, your colleagues etc. So it is really important how you come across. I think it is really important that you set a goal for yourself that you can work towards and then use social media to promote your values, ideas and what you want to work with – and I think that it can open massive possibilities for your career, both nationally but also internationally, as you can get in contact with people/organizations across the globe.

I think that blogging can help you promote your values and perspectives on different topics, and I have tried to write about my perspective on Enterprise 2.0, and tried to add value and quality to my posts by doing a lot of research, and I have tried to make it my own post. There is so much information out there, so it is difficult to come up with something completely new, but I have tried to/and will continuously try to get my point of view across.

All this talking about personal branding and how you come across actually made me thinking about an incident that happened for me with Facebook. You know when you register as a user you can put in, what you are looking for e.g. friends, network, relationship.  And one of the choices says something like ‘whatever I can get’, and I thought that was kind of funny, so I checked that, not thinking how people not knowing me would perceive that. And then one of my fellow students told me that her boyfriend saw my profile and thought that it was cheeky of me to type in, that I was ‘looking for whatever I could get’, together with a picture of me sticking out my tongue. So it leaved me thinking: Is that really how I want people to perceive me? Well I guess that is NOT how I want people to see me, so I removed the comment and choose a more suitable picture for my profile.

Thus far I have mainly concentrated on my own blog – research and composing posts with value, and I haven’t really got around commenting much on other blogs and fora. I have got some comments on some of my posts (Twit or not to twit? and What to avoid when blogging) both internally and externally. I use a lot of time researching and trying out different web 2.0 tools, and I think I use more than 12 hours a week. It is difficult to measure, because when you are on the internet doing something completely else, you stumble across an interesting topic or tool, and before you know it, you have spent a lot of time reading and playing.

Another aspect of the unit is to evaluate how companies can gain success using web 2.0 solutions and strategies. On my post Small company gain great success using Enterprise 2.0 I have described how a small company use web 2.0 tools within their business and I think that assessment 2, where we have to assess the web 2.0 requirements for a company and create a business improvement proposal, will address this topic even further. In my group (together with Pernille Petersen, Brendan Read and Haley Bradshaw) we are going to look at a Danish indie rock band called Passtime Poets and how they can use web 2.0 tools to enhance their brand. I’m really excited about this project, and I think that the business approach is really interesting. I’m glad we have created a dynamic group, with members with different competencies and backgrounds, and I think this will help us make a useful proposal for the band.

The shift from Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0 is a gigantic shift in context – from a world where an almost unlimited amount of individuals participate voluntarily in a social dialogue, to a world where a limited amount of employees participate more or less forced into a much more controlled conversation. The same succesful web 2.0 technology might not be as succesful as an Enterprise 2.0 tool. But I don’t think it’s about finding the technical platform, but instead it’s about people, culture and to solve business challenges and to get your employees to adapt a new work rutine.

Instead of just adapting some fully developed or trendy technology it’s about figuring out what your company needs, how you want to develop your business, which relations you need and how you want to connect within a network. Then, once you have established these needs, you can create your Enterprise 2.0 strategy, so you get a strategy that suits you company and your work processes.

When you talk about supporting knowledge sharing and improve work processes in a company, technology itself is not the solution. But a prudent use of digital tools to support employees’ interaction may be an effective way to commence the process.

In recent years the evolution of the Internet has surged. The services and tools used on the Internet (wikis, blogs, social networks etc.) have advanced and it is used by millions of people. This development off the web has meant that a maturity and experience in using such collaboration tools can be used professionally.
To implement these tools in a company it is important that they are user-friendly and powerful and that they can support your business processes.

I found this success story on how to use social networking and other online tools to increase sales and sales leads. The small fencing supplier Louis E. Page Inc. Doesn’t seem like your usual modern company using web 2.0, but the 116-year-old company have gained a great success using social network tools. Louis Page started the company in 1893, and it is now run by his grandson Duncan Page. About five years ago the company supplemented its mailed-out catalogue and ads in specialty magazines with a website. The big breakthrough came last December, when Duncan added a blog that he calls The Fence Post. Since then the sales have increased with 850%.

Marketing expert Mike Volpe from www.hubspot.com (online marketing advice company) says that Duncan is a classic smart soft-seller. He has positioning himself as a trustworthy authority instead of hyping his products on his blog – and this wind up being one of the most effective ways to attract business. You need to figure out: Who is your customers? What issues are important to them and what are they thinking about your products? “So what you really want to do is blog about topics that are going to be interesting to your customers before they know who you are,” Mike Volpe says. The next step for Duncan Page is video blogging, because it’s very effective to show people how to do instead of writing and explaining it with works.

Check out the story

Vodpod videos no longer available.

When Radiohead back in October 2008 released their seventh record ‘In Rainbows’ it was a whole new use of the internet. It was only possible to buy the record on the internet, and the fans decided themselves how much they wanted to pay for it. Furthermore Radiohead used web 2.0 in the release and made it very fan orientated as they released a website at the same time urging their fans to make remixes of one of the tracks ‘Nude’. Radiohead made six original audio tracks available for the fans to remix as they liked.

A few days ago a completely new track from Radiohead turned up at the BitTorrent site Mininova, and everybody started speculating on who had done so. Now it turns out that it was Radiohead themselves who was behind.
On their blog, guitarist Jonny Greenwood, explains that they been recording for a while, and just finished the new song ‘These Are My Twisted Words’, and now made it available for free download.

A survey from Melbourne University shows that using Twitter and Facebook during work hours for personal purposes can enhance the efficiency. The survey shows that 70 percent of the employees use the internet for private purposes during working hours. It turns out that 9 percent of those are more productive in relation to those employees who always use the internet for work.

According to Dr Brent Coker, from the Department of Management and Marketing at Melbourne University: “People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration. Think back to when you were in class listening to a lecture – after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored.”

When Dr Brent Cooker talks about using the internet for fun, he suggest it is searching for information and product reviews, reading news, play online games, keep updated about your network on social websites such as Facebook and Twitter or watching videos on YouTube. “Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day’s work, and as a result, increased productivity”, Dr Brent Cooker says.

Thus he doesn’t think it makes sense that firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretense that it costs millions in lost productivity, because that’s not always the case.

Off course browsing has to be done in moderation, as an internet addiction can have the reverse effect.