Implementing change is like driving on the long road to Hana

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With disruptive market changes, it is easy to think change will come as a major turn on the business highway. But while it might be true that market shifts are disruptive, the way businesses execute change is very different. That makes it more like a drive on the long road to Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

The long road to Hana is a short one

Hana is a small town on the eastern cost of Maui, Hawaii, and Hana Highway, the road to Hana, has only limited traffic. Nevertheless it is hard to drive the last 52 miles / 84 kilometers in less than 2.5 hours. The reason is the 620 hard curves on the way (not to mention the one-way bridges). These require the full attention of the driver, as the straightaways in between are very short. Driving the road at night is a tough job even for the most experienced drivers.

Businesses responding to disruptive change

The primary conundrum for businesses or individuals responding to change is to start acting before all facts are clear. Taking actions daily means that large changes are always driven by many simultaneous small steps. If you and I, as individuals, aim for small steps daily, we will gradually approach the larger goal. We also minimize the risk of getting too far away from the optimal path.

Continuous actions and corrections are the fuel required to respond to fast moving markets and disruptive changes.

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The first major conundrum is to create a vision for the team about the destination – a vision that creates positive vibrations. Hana is a beautiful place. Spectacular waterfalls. A beach with black sand. And a system of natural pools within lava formations. Start by defining the Hana for your change project.

The second challenge is to give your team a sense of what will be different about the route towards the change. Without saying anything about the road, you can send strong signals when stating three hours will be required to drive 50 miles, even without traffic. These numbers by themselves signal major deviations from normal. Define the two to three numbers that define the nature of your change project.

The third hurdle is to get your team to start executing as quickly as possible. When you start to drive to Hana, you need to concentrate from the start. With the next turn starting before you finish the current one, there is no time to relax. The paradox here is that little effort is required to go straight and fast. But a lot of effort is required to turn often and go slow. A team realizing change initiatives needs to take immediate action to be set up for success. The alternative of continuing straight and waiting for a larger turn down the road is a waste of time. Review your change project and identify how you can drive daily incremental change in small steps. And plan for a very large amount of small steps before you are done.

Creative Capillary Connectivity

© Peter Linder 2014 – All rights reserved

Short-range radios today play an essential role in connecting smaller devices to our mobile phones. We can expect a lot of new applications leveraging the Bluetooth Low Energy and Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Network standard (IEEE 802.15.4) with connectivity through a smartphone or wireless access point – also known as a capillary network. This concept is emerging to address the unique network needs that many new applications will have.

The obvious driver for introducing short-range radio is battery life and the need to avoid cabling. Many emerging devices, such as sensors, cannot be charged as frequently as smart smartphones and need to be run using a zero-maintenance model (e.g. deploy and forget). The ability to introduce a wireless device with no or low-charging needs enables a whole range of new industrial and consumer applications, like sensors (temperature, humidity and pollution), alarm generators (windows, fire) and smart control and consumption (gas, water, electricity).

This new application paradigm will be cloud based, with devices running close to the customer while the back end will run in the cloud. Capillary network connectivity provides an end-to-end connection between the device and the cloud. This connectivity bridges the short-haul private area network with fixed or wireless access, metro transport, and the cloud. As the primary target is commercial applications, the value of capillary connectivity will be application dependent with little correlation to the amount of bits used.

As part of the zero-provision paradigm, the applicable devices will rely on automatic discovery, directory and provision mechanisms provided by the network and the cloud. A key part of the capillary network concept is automated provisioning end-to-end. These connections also need to provide the right security levels for the application at hand. This can be achieved by leveraging existing security mechanisms in mobile networks.

My predictions for the future of capillary networks are:
• Devices connected through smartphones or access points with low-power radio is a rapidly growing network application area
• The ability to provide end-to-end support, to devices with mobile-like capabilities through capillary networks, is crucial for broad industry acceptance.
• Zero maintenance is a vital requirement for both the powering and provisioning operations of these new devices.
• Operators can introduce new revenue generating capillary connectivity services tailored to application needs.

2X @20% @20% 2020

© Peter Linder 2014 – All Rights Reserved
© Peter Linder 2014 – All Rights Reserved

The first 20 years of mobile and internet evolution was characterized by innovating for users, but this ‘smartphonification’ is rapidly approaching saturation in developed markets. However, the current growth wave is different. It is being driven by a mobile and cloud-centric evolution in which the pace of innovation is accelerating with businesses in focus. The question now is: how large can this transformation be?

The first five billion mobile users and their primary devices have been driving a significant market. The emerging mobile-cloud revolution has the potential to unlock even greater business values as enterprises transform to smart enterprises on top of the smartphone wave. So how much value might the next 45 billion devices be expected to generate? My hypothesis is that the new devices on average can generate 1/10th of the monthly revenues generated by a smartphone. Such a scenario mean network revenues could double in a mobile and cloud-centric business world by taking advantage of extended network capabilities to support the new devices?

With the adoption of new network architectures we will see a significant reduction of elements in the networks as we move towards optimized, virtualized and software-defined networks. Considering the fast pace of evolution in computing and storage technologies, it is possible to envision a scenario where a future network can be run with 20 percent of the network elements deployed today. The net result of this is that powerful programmable platforms are coming in, and legacy network elements are being retired.

The massive growth in connected devices, connectivity types and new business models call for a very high degree of automation of network operation procedures. This affects all steps including configuration, provisioning, monitoring and charging and billing. In addition, businesses expect the network to be agile, with the ability to serve their changing needs with on-demand service delivery capabilities. Imagine if it was possible to run the network with a significantly lower staff, say 20 percent of current levels – and require a much different skill set from employees.

A vital industry question is how fast this transformation will go? The smartphone wave and the very fast ramp up that came with it was a surprise to many network operators. Given the very strong momentum among industries in adopting mobile-first strategies for transforming their operations, fast and large-scale adoption for the mobile and cloud-centric wave is also likely to be very strong.

Imagine if already by 2020, the new network and new operational models can be fully deployed by operators. In addition, legacy networks would need to be phased-out gradually and a reality by 2020. Businesses could be fully mobilized and leveraging the mobile and cloud-centric advancements with the network playing a key role in the middle.

Here are my predictions regarding the size of these transformative forces:

* Potential revenue growth is tied to both customization of network services and business model innovation, in order to secure that value is both created and captured.
* The possible reductions in network elements and staff are tightly coupled to the ability to phase out the old in addition to building new. Expect the sunset of legacy networks to be harder than the sunrise of the new.

Ring Revolution Reduce Reactions

©Peter Linder 2014 – All rights reserved
©Peter Linder 2014 – All rights reserved

Networked rings represent a new type of technology wearable, emerging as part of the smartphone ecosystem. At Fashion Week 2014 in New York City, Ringblingzintroduced their first ring connected to a smartphone. So what role do we see fashion accessories such as rings playing in the Networked Society?

As I outlined in my blog post on networked watches, most wearables that are connected to a smartphone and are accompanied by an app. A networked ring is a smaller notification device than the phone-watch combination and further exploits the technology miniaturization potential. The screen size takes us back to the early mobile phone days, when 20 characters were visible to the user. Vibration is a vital trigger for the user and short range radios connect the ring to your phone.

These first networked rings are targeting younger user segments. The design of the ring is a key buying criteria since it is as much a fashion statement as it is a communication device. Networked rings belong to one of the 4-5 wearable tech product categories (together with watches, activity bracelets, health monitors and life-logs) with mass market potential.

The primary applications for networked rings are social media notifications and lifestyle trackers. The differentiation in relation to watches and bracelets will be its small size and stylish look. Aggregating data from a variety of sources and screening out the most relevant is an attractive tool for reducing information overload. New smartphone generations, with larger screens, can remain the pocket or purse for basic information tracking.

My predictions for the near-term future of wearable tech are:

* All wearables will be designed as slaves to smartphones, with short haul radio, dedicated smartphone apps and motion sensors as basic ingredients.
* Wearable design will continue to grow in importance and rings are born into a fashion category from start.
* 1-2 wearable devices will gain mass market appeal in 2014, opening up for a breakthrough for networked rings.
* Use will be reactive and triggered by light buzzes, prior to watching the micro screen.

Powerful Personal Productivity Platform

© Peter Linder 2014 – All Rights Reserved
© Peter Linder 2014 – All Rights Reserved

For many people, the latte-paced economy is a reality. Managing a work-life balance today is about combining work at home and in the office. And as the workforce becomes even more mobile, this model will change even further. So what can we learn from global road warriors who fly more often than they take the bus, are constantly juggling their current business, and as they develop, are moving deeper into the Networked Society?

Four fantastic 4G friends have emerged as necessary connectivity companions to ensure that work is about context rather than a specific location. 4G-enabled smartphones and tablets handle the daily information exchange while high-capacity batteries ensure that devices do not run out of energy during the day. Finally a Wi-Fi router guarantees that laptops and Wi-Fi only tablets can be connected en route. These four devices provide a connectivity extension well beyond the laptop and are likely to grow in importance for a broader workforce.

Personal time management has become one of our most valuable skills. So how do you schedule so that your most important task of the day is done when your energy and inspiration levels are at their peak? How do you deal with the daily information flow? If you still think in 8-hour workdays and schedule meetings for a full 60 minutes then you might struggle to handle new priorities. Days divided into 16 half-hour or 32, 15-minute segments might be a new approach to test.

Most of us struggle already with information overload in the form if mail, social media interactions and prioritization. Complex personal file systems and to-do list are growing faster than execution, and the resulting missed news is a symptom that you need better tools. The advancement in mobile productivity applications, such as Right InboxBufferFantastical,Carrot, all open up new opportunities

My predictions for the future of personal productivity are:

* Mobile devices will be central to productivity gains
* Our work will move into tailored mobile applications
* Workdays divided into 32 quarters beat those divided into 10 hours in most professions
* The professional connectivity need will spread to include wearables

Finding Fitness Foresight Formula

© Peter Linder 2014 – All rights reserved
© Peter Linder 2014 – All rights reserved

The wellbeing of ‘cityzens’ is dependent on individuals taking a greater responsibility for being active. Running in the parks or workout sessions at the gym are common in urban areas but what will we demand in the form of measurement when these activities move beyond the fitness freaks and become mainstream in the city?

The ability to measure and track physical exercise is widespread among the most fitness-aware parts of the population. These practitioners track their workouts and running sessions with dedicated devices. They upload results and compare with friends with defined goals and targets. They move in to the exercise, get the job done and move out to their next mission.

There is a potential to leverage our daily movements and open up for the broader population to embrace measuring fitness and their personal lifestyle. By measuring our daily walks we might step off the bus one stop earlier on a good day and add a healthy 5-minute walk. We might select the stairs instead of elevators as we move around in the office. And we might choose restaurants further away to get in a healthy micro-lunch walk. Smart wearables with applications in our smartphones might support this development.

In many physically intensive professions, it is not so much about adding movement as it is about preventing unnecessary ones, or rather to track the intensity of the really hard ones. Location information and connectivity for instant access to employee’s wellbeing is emerging across many sectors. All of these factors is enabling a more health-aware lifestyle where we can measure and improve all areas where we would like to drive personal change.

My predictions for the future of preventive healthcare in cities are:
– Measuring and monitoring physical activities will move from fitness freaks to mainstream for all ‘cityzens’
– Dedicated devices will be complemented by wearables and applications coupled to smartphones
– Data will be stored in the cloud and automatically uploaded without manual intervention.

HSPA Hand Homeless Helping Hand

62. Hand Hungry Homeless Helping Hand - 1610 edited

Life for homeless persons in the city is not getting easier and funding of their basic needs has gone beyond the capabilities of tax-driven efforts. A perspective that has perhaps not been explored as much is what role smartphones and mobile applications can play in assisting homeless people in urban areas?

Homeless people lack a mail address and their ability to be reached is connected to their mobile phone. Their mobile phone is used as their primary connection point and serves as a valuable tool for staying in touch with providers of temporary shelter, meals and activity centers. With the evolution of marketing and payment applications, their mobile phone could now become even more valuable.

Targeted coupons can be offered in exchange for free meals or free food purchases. The funding can come from participating stores or direct from ‘cityzens’ who want to support the homeless in their city. A digital contribution chain could reduce administration costs and increase the value of contributions reaching the people who need it most.

Proactive monitoring is a high-priority healthcare innovation for the growing elderly population. This technology can be adapted to support remote monitoring of health status for homeless as a step towards enhancing basic care. This is another area where tax-subsidized efforts are unlikely to be sufficient and where crowd-funding through targeted social responsibility campaigns can be created.

Staying social and active is vital for the homeless population. Having universal access to the billboard at the activity center might trigger the extra visit to the workshop, drama, painting, music or meeting opportunity being offered.

Here are my predictions for the importance of smartphones for homeless people in the cities:

– Access to a personal smartphone, and support for keeping it charged, is a vital enabler of a better life for homeless persons in the city.
– Targeted applications supporting the homeless and the poor have become a growing focus for private and company-sponsored social responsibility efforts in cities.
– The platform created by smartphones and mobile applications will mean small but important improvements for vulnerable social groups in cities.