Book of the Future Are you ready for tomorrow? Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:57:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chips and Skin: The Mark of the Beast? Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:56:11 +0000 In a bid to get people thinking about the issues involved, one office development in Sweden is offering tenants exactly that option, and it has caused a bit of a stir.

This is one of those stories that captures the attention of radio producers and the public alike. After a couple of interviews on the BBC World Service on the topic (and a morning of local radio interviews to come), my Twitter account is as busy as it has been since I discussed climate change with Katie Melua on Sunday Brunch (an odd, if thoroughly enjoyable episode in my media career).

So why does this idea get people worked up? Well there’s the reasons I’ve discussed on the radio, and the reasons people have been discussing on Twitter.

For most people I think the one will be a natural human queasiness about inserting anything under the skin. We don’t like injections when they provide us with life-saving vaccines, why would we This photo taken 10 May 2002 shows the VeriChip, wchoose to inject ourselves with a microchip? Especially when it fulfils a function already supported by a whole range of different form factors today: I have credit cards, keyrings, phones and a watch that all support wireless communication over short range using the same standards as this implant (Radio Frequency Identification or RFID and/or Near Field Communication or NFC).

For the techies there’s the issue of security: this type of short range wireless chip has been shown to be susceptible to hacking using widely available hardware. If your implanted chip gets hacked, do you really want to be slicing it out and replacing it? Not ideal. Much easier to replace a copied credit card.

Then there are the religious objections, based on Revelations 13: “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” Some (many, based on my Twitter feed) equate the implanting of a chip in the hand to the mark of the beast…

Let’s just say it’s not a belief I share.

For me, this is not about to be a mass-market technology. It’s functionally flawed (the range on the tiny chips involved is limited) and the queasiness factor is simply too great. Very few organisations outside perhaps the military will consider asking their employees to embed such a chip in their bodies.

Me? It’s tempting for the Stark* factor but, no. For all my love of technology, I think I’ll stay 100% flesh and bones until medical need dictates otherwise.


*Tony Stark (also known as Iron Man), not Ned

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Digital SWOT 2015: Don’t Redesign the Web, Redesign the World Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:02:59 +0000 At Digital SWOT last year I encouraged the audience to carry the lessons learned with digital technologies at the edge of the business into its heart, deploying measurement, analytics and data-driven decision making in operations. So many organisations are increasingly sophisticated in the way they attract new customers using digital tools but fail to carry that sophistication into their day-to-day operations.

Tom Cheesewright at Digital SWOT 2015At this year’s event I took that message a stage further. With the ready availability and falling skill barriers around hardware, digital change no longer needs to be limited to the software arena. Organisations should be looking at the weaknesses in their interactions with the physical world and seeing how innovative technologies can be applied and developed inside the organisation, using platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone and others – we’re currently testing the Pure MIPS Creator CI20 and soon to test the Gemalto Cinterion development board.

For many of these platforms there are libraries of code out there and piles of other people’s projects that can be rapidly hacked together to perform incredible functions. For Project Canary, a distributed wireless air quality sensor and demonstration project for the capabilities of Republic of Things, we hacked together a prototype in just two hours for around £15. Sure, it was ugly and hacky, but it worked and proved the concept.

If people can accept the idea that nearly anyone can start hacking with hardware these days, the next question becomes, ‘What problem do we tackle?’ Answering this question formed the second half of my talk, which I used to introduce the audience, in very quickfire fashion, to our Intersections process.

Intersections is a way of looking at how future tech trends will intersect (hence the name) with the pressure points in any industry, in order to divine what the most important trends to watch might be. I believe it would serve equally well as a means of deciding on which aspects of the business might be worth addressing with technology innovation.

The process is simple enough, though we will be publishing full templates for other people to follow at some point, to make it even simpler.

The first step is to understand why we focus on tech-driven trends when looking at the future. This comes down to the idea that in a specific geography (the UK) over a specific time frame (maximum 20 years) we believe the only change driver from the classic PESTLE set that will be exponential rather than linear, is technology.

The second step is to break technology down into a series of macro trends: diversity, agility, performance, ubiquity, and scale. This is a topic for another post – we’ve updated our list since the last one here.

The third step is to understand the pressure points in your organisation, both internal, and external.

The fourth step is to look for intersections between the macro trends and the pressure points. There are likely to be many.

Finally we come back to our exponential factor to filter the results, discarding anything that might have a linear-scaled effect on the organisation and focusing on those with an exponential effect – for example, a 10x increase/reduction in delivery costs.

You can find the full slide deck from the event here – just use your arrow keys to browse through the slides:

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BBC Radio WM: Netflix Without Borders Wed, 21 Jan 2015 10:30:21 +0000 ]]> 0 BBC North West Tonight: Cyber Attacks 2015 Fri, 16 Jan 2015 14:52:56 +0000

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Entrepreneur Magazine Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:49:58 +0000

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BBC Radio 5Live: Midnight Expert with Phil Williams Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:52:26 +0000 ]]> 0