Here are the influential voices leading the conversations where nonprofits and technology overlap.
Want to get a glimpse of what the future of enterprise IT will look like? Visit a high school, for starters.
Ken Oestreich, a technology marketer for EMC, points out that the high schools of today are already setting the example for enterprise IT in the future. And that future is one in which users expect high availability, mobile-device freedom and bottomless storage capacity.
It dawned on me: These guys are actually more of a "leading indicator" than most of their commercial enterprise cousins. Their internal customers are nearly all Millennials, arguably leading users of consumer technology, and sometimes the most demanding. The student base requires support for "any device, any time," and doesn't hesitate to use external commercial services rather than IT (think: kids using Dropbox, Evernote, MobileMe, etc.). Also, users (students) without their own personal "smart" devices will typically log into multiple alternative devices a number of times each day, requiring virtual display and authentication technologies.
So, think about it: These students — and their appetite for "consumerized" technologies, will be your workforce of tomorrow.
What that high school IT department is facing is what most IT will be facing during the next few years. So consider carefully who (and what) you'll need to support in the coming years.
Is your organization prepared to handle the IT demands of a high school district? That might be a good benchmark to measure against when future-proofing your networks.
Read Oestreich’s full post on the consumerization of IT on his blog, Fountainhead.
In many ways, touch screens and mobile devices are stealing the show from reliable, mature desktop computing. The windows-icons-mouse-pointer (WIMP) graphical user interface has been a loyal companion for the past four decades, but today many IT workers (and IT companies) are leaning toward mobile OSs and user interfaces. Take Microsoft’s decision to combine its Windows 8 OS with a touch screen/mobile interface alongside its classic WIMP interface, for example.
Chris Curran, a principal at PwC, wonders if the touch screen/mobile OS will be the way all computing is done, regardless of whether it’s on a desktop or mobile device. Signs seem to be pointing in that direction, he notes, especially with many of the multitouch features included the latest version of Apple’s desktop OS, Lion.
Curran offers a few suggestions on ways that enterprises can start experimenting with the mobile paradigms:
It’s not clear to me how much of an impact Lion’s UI changes will have on Apple’s future OS and those from Microsoft. However, given the proliferation of iPads, a surging Microsoft mobile OS, a new Apple iOS announcement and global growth of Android smartphones and tablets, I don’t think we can ignore the changing UI in the enterprise. Many of us are playing catch up on the mobile OS/UI front now, so it could be a good idea to start experimenting with the impacts on the desktop too. Some things you could try are:
- Use an iPad as an extended/second monitor and experiment with finger control for some apps, maybe those with case files or images
- Experiment with an external pen input device for document editing and markup applications
- If you are feeling really adventurous, look into some augmented reality interface prototypes based on the Wii or Micosoft’s Kinect (you will need a little imagination to apply this to your business context)
Read more about the rise of the mobile GUI on Curran’s blog, the CIO Dashboard.
Apple’s highly anticipated fifth-generation version of its mobile-computing operating system is now officially out in the wild. The latest release of iOS 5 is jampacked with a host of compelling features, including integration with iCloud, the company’s intriguing cloud computing platform.
GottaBeMobile has compiled a list of the top 10 new features:
Read more about the latest and greatest in Apple’s iOS 5 on GottaBeMobile.
Amazon made a blockbuster announcement in September when it unveiled its first tablet offering, the Amazon Kindle Fire. But along with the impressive new hardware, Amazon also showed off an impressive Internet browser, which the Fire will be utilizing, called Amazon Silk.
The amazing thing about Silk is that it’s a cloud-accelerated Internet browser that uses split architecture. In general terms, this means that the processing is split between the mobile device and the cloud, in this case the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) offered by Amazon Web Services.
Rick Blaisdell of CloudTweaks explains how the browser works in more detail:
These back end resources are optimized so that they do not unnecessarily load the mobile device. For example, a picture can have 5 megabytes, but on the tablet it will only load 50 kilobytes, at the same quality. Therefore, you get the maximum of utility and nothing is wasted and you will have more space on your Kindle.
Read more about Amazon’s Silk browser in Blaisdell’s post on CloudTweaks.
When it comes to Internet marketing, many small and medium-size businesses make the mistake of thinking that merely setting up a website is sufficient. The reality is that a website is a living thing that requires grooming and maintenance — not to mention engagement.
Stephanie Faris, a writer for Smallbiztechnology, highlights five steps that businesses can take to get more out of their websites:
For more on website marketing for SMBs, read Faris’ post on Smallbiztechnology.
Using tablets in business seems like a great idea. Restaurants are already experimenting with replacing menus with iPads, for example. Tablets, however, don’t come cheap. And replacing a lost or stolen iPad is certainly far more costly than replacing a paper menu.
The solution? Lock up your mobile device with a Kensington SecureBack case for the iPad. The hardware accessory offers a reasonable and reliable way for businesses to secure their mobile devices, enabling them to invest in mobility without sacrificing security.
Small Biz Go Mobile has the specs and features on the Kensington SecureBack case:
Although there are a lot of high tech solutions that leverage the device’s GPS or camera functionality to cleverly catch the thief, the best solutions for stopping the crime before it starts are hardware solutions. Perfect for the office, the finance industry, heath care, and even exhibitions, Kensington has introduced the new SecureBack case for the iPad 2.
The case has the same ClickSafe Security Anchor that’s used on Kensington’s other popular protective products. The product is great for companies that hand out iPads to their employees and need to prevent the loss of sensitive data and expensive equipment. The cases provide access to all the ports, speakers and buttons, while keeping the device very secure. It does add bulk to the slim profile of the iPad, but this is true for all cases and Kensington has worked to keep the extra weight to a minimum.
Read more about the Kensington SecureBack case on Small Biz Go Mobile.
The days of the “company” computer or cell phone might be numbered. As the sophistication of consumer technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, enterprise technology increasingly finds itself competing with employee-owned devices. The trend has been dubbed “bring your own device” (BYOD) and it could be a way for IT to focus less on hardware management and more on providing services to the business.
Alan Joch follows the story of a few businesses that are welcoming the shift to worker-owned devices and have put infrastructure and policies in place to support the diverse security and networking needs of these workers across their companies.
Read the story on appeal of BYOD to business in this online article from BizTech.
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