Information technology, gadgets, social media, libraries, design, marketing, higher ed, data visualization, educational technology, mobility, innovation, strategy, trends and futures. . . 

Posts suspended for a bit while I settle into a new job. . . 


Screen Size Is What Matters

As I wrote here, what's differentiating for me in terms of what device I use at a particular instant-in-time is not manufacturer or operating system, but rather screen size: 

Nearly any contemporary smartphone will get the job done; the hardwares have converged in terms of features and capabilities, and the several mobile OSes and app ecosystems are very close to identical.

What's important to me at the moment is the size of the screen --

Note 3

  • smartphone, for use any- and everywhere;
  • tablet, hanging around the house, traveling, and certain work settings;
  • laptop, traveling and certain work settings;
  • laptop connected to huge monitor, office and home office.

Every device is connected to the network. all data lives on the network and is synchronized across devices (Google, Dropbox), and the core apps -- Gmail, Evernote, etc. -- function pretty much the same on every device. 

In this piece in Walt Mossberg's <re/code> (he left The Wall Street Journal to start this), Andreessen Horowitz's Zal Bilimoria casts this perspective like so: 

Our Love Affair With the Tablet Is Over

February 6, 2014

Back in 2011, I was having an all-consuming love affair with tablets. At the time, I was the first-ever head of mobile at Netflix. I saw tablets in my sleep, running apps that would control homes, entertain billions and dutifully chug away at work. Tablets, I was convinced, were a third device category, a tweener that would fill the vacuum between a phone and a laptop. I knew that was asking a lot — at the time, however, I didn’t know just how much.


I wasn’t the only one swooning in the presence of the iPad and its imitators. Everyone was getting in on the love fest. The typically sober analysts over at Gartner were going ballistic with their shipment predictions for the iPad, and a flurry of soon-to-be-launched Android tablets. Amazon (Kindle Fire), Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet), HP (TouchPad running webOS) and even BlackBerry (PlayBook) all rushed into the market to take on Apple, which commanded 70 percent of the tablet market one year after Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPad. On the software side, startups like Flipboard, tech giants like Adobe and even large enterprises like Genentech were quickly assembling teams to take advantage of this new platform.

Now — three years and 225 million tablets later — I’m starting to see how misplaced that passion was.

The tablet couldn’t possibly shoulder all the expectations people had for it. Not a replacement for your laptop or phone — but kinda. Something you kick back with in the living room, fire up at work and also carry with you everywhere — sort of. Yes, tablets have sold in large numbers, but rather than being a constant companion, like we envisioned, most tablets today sit idle on coffee tables and nightstands. Simply put, our love for them is dying.

Article continues at link. 

Now that my smartphone is a so-called phablet -- I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, with a 5.7" screen -- I hardly ever use my tablet. 




What? has been around for nearly 14 years, and I'm just hearing about it now. The company does what its name says:

250,000 subscribers and 1,200+ clients turn to for global consumer trend intelligence. We've been scanning the globe for consumer trends, insights and innovations since 2002. We report on our findings in our free Monthly Trend Briefings and Region-specific Trend Bulletins, while leading brands and agencies, small and big, also enjoy access to Premium, our full trend service."

See (below) the comprehensive, rich February 2014 briefing from -- that physical tech is now subject to the same, unrelenting pressure to change and update that digital tech (software, web services, etc.) has been for a while. 


UPGRADIA: Driven by consumers' thirst for quicker, more seamless access to the new (in ways that are cheaper, more sustainable and more participatory) and facilitated by emerging technologies, the constant stream of upgrades and iterations typical of the digital ecosystem is coming to the world of physical objects.

Some things cited in the report: 

  • People now expect the same rapid upgrading of physical objects that's been the case for digital services. 
  • Every object is connected. [See Internet of Things.] 
  • Endlessly updated "new" products are perceived to be inexpensive in the long run. 
  • "Upgradia" resonates with the hacker mindset (that people want to mess around with their technology). 

The report goes on to identify and describe many, many example: 

 See the report for many examples. 


2014 CES and Wearables

Clearing out post-CES items. . . 

Via PCWorld, a nicely written recap of wearables at CES. 

The 5 critical lessons CES taught us about wearable tech

Jon Phillips @jonphillipssf Jan 9, 2014 5:00 AM 

LAS VEGAS—If you begin to see smartwatches dangling from tree branches, and activity-tracking wrist bands collecting in rain gutters, then you can thank the Consumer Electronics Show for belching out something akin to a pyroclastic flow of wearable tech over half the earth's surface.

Every CES needs a pre-packaged narrative, and this year the hardware industry decided wearable tech should dominate the script. Wearables are novel. They're visual. And manufacturers are juicing the category with R&D and capital, so we need to scrutinize the hell out of wearables, and figure out exactly how and where they fit into our lives. The Neptune Pine smartwatch is large and in charge, and doesn't care who knows. (Jon Phillips)

I'm leaving CES with five key takeaways. Your data analysis may vary, so aim your contrarian tweets in the direction of @jonphillipssf. Together we can stay ahead of the curve before the wearables ash cloud covers us completely.

See link above for full story. 

The five take-aways are 

  • Big tech -- e.g., Intel -- is moving aggressively into this market, in addition to little tech as one would expect
  • There are lots of activity trackers out there 
  • Smartwatch vendors don't get fashion 
  • Smartglasses are still just an idea 
  • Wearables are nonetheless an exciting market 




We're Clueless About Our Users

See other posts about consumerization -- "the notion that, nowadays, innovation in information technology is generated by the consumer market, rather than by what corporate IT shops might develop, distribute, and support, as had been the case up through the mid-1990s" -- which underlies what is related in this piece in readwrite: that an organization's IT department literally has no idea what the organization's communities are using for cloud services.

There are lessons for the library here, certainly. The same way that a company's workers go around central IT to get their work done, a university's faculty, students, and staff may go around the library to procure their information resources and services.

This is both powerful -- for the user and the company, in potentially getting work done in ways that would otherwise be difficult or less familiar to the worker -- and risky for both parties, given that institutional resources may be misaligned with work requirements, the institution's IT expertise may be misaligned, unofficial efforts may prove to be unsupportable, and risk the of loss or loss of control of institutional data. 

IT's Losing Battle Against Cloud Adoption

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, IT is the last to know.

Matt Asay January 31, 2014 

Asking IT about emerging trends in enterprise computing is increasingly a fool's errand.

Open source pioneer Billy Marshall once quipped that "the CIO is the last to know," because she was too far removed from what open-source code her IT team was downloading or which SaaS services they were accessing. Now this phrase may apply to entire IT organizations, with major lines of business tuning into the cloud and tuning out IT prescriptions.

Of course, this has been happening for years. What's striking is just how pervasive the shift away from IT has become.

What IT Doesn't Know

We know cloud computing is big. We also know the cloud is outpacing traditional data center workloads. Cisco, for example, finds that from 2012 to 2017, data center workloads will grow a little more than two-fold while cloud workloads will grow almost four-fold.

What we didn't know, however, is just how clueless enterprise IT has been about the state of cloud adoption within their own enterprises. For example, according to a report from Netskope, a cloud analytics and policy company, IT thinks it has a grasp on cloud apps running within the enterprise, but in reality it may not have the foggiest clue:

In other words, IT underestimates cloud app usage within their organizations by about 10 times. That's a shocking delta between perception and reality, and means that IT has a lot of work to do, given that many of the apps being run are almost certainly not up to IT's security standards.

The potential problem is widespread across the enterprise, with different groups turning to the cloud to get stuff done: Marketing (51 cloud apps per enterprise), HR (35), Storage (26), and CRM/SFA and Collaboration (23).

The piece goes on (see link above) to note that it's just not the expected communities -- Marketing, for instance -- that are using "unofficial" apps: IT's own developers are using unofficial tools and services, too. 


Trends in 2014 Forward: NMC Horizon Report

I think this is one of highlights of the year: the release of the annual NMC Horizon Report, Higher Education Edition. It's an absolute must-read for anyone who works in higher education, libraries, IT, education. 

NMC = New Media Consortium, "an international community of experts in educational technology — from the practitioners who work with new technologies on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs, and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the advisory boards and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research." (See here.)

From the announcement

The NMC and EDUCAUSE [the association for higher education IT] Learning Initiative (ELI) jointly released the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition at a special session at the ELI Annual Meeting 2014. This eleventh edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice.

Both the full report (52 pages) and the preview (seven pages) are available here.

Here are the six trends, six challenges, and six emerging technologies: 

I. Key Trends Accelerating Ed Tech Adoption in Higher Education

  • Fast Moving Trends: Those likely to create substantive change (or burn out) in one to two years
    • ! Online, Hybrid, and Collaborative Learning 
    • ! Social Media Use in Learning
  • Mid-Range Trends: Those likely to take three to five years to create substantive change
    • ! The Creator Society 
    • ! Data-Driven Learning and Assessment 
  • Slow Trends: Those likely to take more than five years to create substantive change
    • ! Agile Approaches to Change
    • ! Making Online Learning Natural

II. Significant Challenges Impeding Ed Tech Adoption in Higher Education

  • Urgent Challenges: Those which we both understand and know how to solve
    • ! Low Digital Fluency of Faculty 
    • ! Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching 
  • Difficult Challenges: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
    • ! Competition from New Models of Education
    • ! Scaling Teaching Innovations 
  • Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
    • ! Expanding Access 
    • ! Keeping Education Relevant

III. Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education

  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
    • ! Flipped Classroom
    • ! Learning Analytics 
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
    • ! 3D Printing
    • ! Games and Gamification
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
    • ! Quantified Self
    • ! Virtual Assistants 

Read the full report(s)!