Yesterday, i.e. January 23rd 2014, I attended the IDC event "360 degrees of IT" in Copenhagen. It was a good event with speakers from IBM, Symantec, Hitachi, T-Systems and others. The focus of this years "360 degrees of IT" was what IDC call the 3rd platform, i.e. mobility, big data, social and cloud.
But what is the cloud, that all IT-person keeps talking about. In the past I have learned, that the cloud can have either a private cloud or a public cloud. But what is this cloud? During today's event it became a little clearer during the talk by Tony Franck "Increased business value with cloud". He talked about Hitachi's Unified Compute Platform (UPC). According to Franck this UCP makes it possible to deploy new servers in just 46 minutes by inserting a couple of blades. Blades? So, it appears a cloud, at least the Hitachi UCP one, involve blade servers. So I guess a cloud is just a sophisticated box with blade server and storage well integrated. Much like Oracle's Exadata or Exalogic boxes or IBM's System z mainframes. Only difference is, that on a System z mainframe no hardware need to be added to deploy new servers and the process only takes a few minutes and not almost an hour (unfortunately I don't have any information about the similar processes on Oracle equipment. Really I see little functional difference between an Exalogic box and a System z mainframe - except the name on the box. Am I seeing the world of the cloud as it really is? I.e. old wine on new bottles.
Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen, who is a Norwegian that have worked many years with IBM and whom I have heard before, came and talked about Social Business 2.0. Not as a service offering from IBM but as a process. Among the questions he asked were: "What is the business value of a license?", with the answer "Zero". I guess the question was asked from the point of view of the customer - not the vendor. Unfortunately Arne's Apple laptop did not play well with the projector in IDA's main conference room, so we could only see every second slide during the presentation.
Another presentation, which deserves to be mentioned was that of T-Systems' Dieter Weisshaar "Life and Business Changes - Zero Distance" in which he showed a grocery shop at a Japanese subway station, that just consisted of pictures of groceries with QR-codes on. The customers simply scan the QR-codes of the goods she wants to buy, and then they are payed for using the phone, and later that day delivered to the buyers home. I consider that the first intelligent usage of QR-code.
Saxobank's Mikael Munck talked about using the majority of his IT budget on new developments year after year, and about a new social trading platform announced by the bank the same morning called TradingFloor.com. Part of secret of spending most of the budget on new development is focus on just one platform, i.e. .NET, and the needs of the traders, i.e. the customers. Mikael Müller from DR Technology talked about the transformation of the broadcaster from the old static world in which they decided when, where and how to the new dynamic media consumption model, where the user/customers decides when, where and how. Examples mentioned was recent coverage of municipal elections in Denmark from 56 locations using mobile phone video technology, and harvesting tweets in almost real time as part of the coverage of this election.
I found that even the I am not currently in the market for any of the services offered by the companies taking part in "360 degrees of IT" the day was time well spent to get updated on current trends. Although I was a by surprised to see to presentations with copyright notices from respectively 2012 and 2011 at the end.