A woman shows VR goggles manufactured by hands-free 3D virtual reality system for smartphones Durivis during the Gamescom 2015 fair in Cologne
05 Aug 2015, Cologne, Rhineland, Germany — A woman shows VR goggles manufactured by hands-free 3D virtual reality system for smartphones Durivis during the Gamescom 2015 fair in Cologne, Germany August 5, 2015. The Gamescom convention, Europe’s largest video games trade fair, runs from August 5 to August 9. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach — Image by © KAI PFAFFENBACH/Reuters/Corbis

2016 has personally been quite a year of change. To be fair, it started late in 2015 for me and has continued on. I have been quiet I will admit, but I have been spending a lot of time thinking about “what next for ICT” as well as myself and I am very busy with my own customers.

First up. A little bit of news. What is IT Wellington, this page, will be opening up over the next few months to new editorial and content input. There is a desire in the local IT community in New Zealand to get their voices heard in a world where aside from Bill Bennett and Chris Keall along with NBR, there is not a lot of technology stories about us. If you are keen to be involved in that, let me know, the easiest way to contact me is email ianapperley@protonmail.ch

I want to focus on a few things with what is left of the year. Having been in ICT for twenty-five years, I find myself becoming an increasingly grumpy old man who still, thankfully, has a childlike wonder at the new technology coming through.

Late last year I also discovered a health issue that necessitated two things that we as ICT people usually hate. First, a reduction in my alcohol intake and second, visiting the gym. For those of you who know me personally, you will understand that this is something drastic. Because, like a lot of you, I don’t do things by halves, I also started a BA in English (so I can write to learn betterer) and gave away my local politics blogging. I am still involved in that area, but from somewhat of a distance.

At the tender young age of forty-two I find myself caught between my parent’s generation, who really don’t know about ICT but do tend to still be in charge, and the younger generation coming through. That new generation are starting to discover that all the walls and rules we have built around ICT are not for them. It is fascinating to watch the two interacting.

There are a range of areas that I want to explore in the next few months:

  • The personal cost of our work as ICT professionals. You often hear people, as a project collapses into a smoking ruin, say “this isn’t rocket science.” That’s true, it isn’t, it’s far more complicated. Rocket science compared to ICT is simple. Complexity coupled with organisations trying to “shrink their way to success” and a lack of resource in the major areas has dropped the modern ICT worker straight into something called “super stress,” which I want to explore. Because a lot of us are burning out, leaving the industry, going to grow olives and bees, or drinking ourselves into an early retirement.
  • Cloud is now embedded. It is something that I wrote a lot about in the past and it has well and truly arrived. “As a service” is the new Service Management Model is the old ITIL construct reborn. We are in the process of “uberising” our ICT services and it’s going to cost us. A lot more than we think. Already we are seeing the price of Cloud services starting to rise. Couple that with the death of legacy vendors and the drop off in demand for IaaS and PaaS and the next year will be … interesting.
  • Smart City is taking an unfortunate turn. What was so promising initially has now been seized by large multi-national corporates and through poor decisions by local government (worldwide) is going to a very dark place. Data is being hoovered up by huge multinationals rather than being made open; devices are being sold at twenty times they cost to make them, software is proprietary and closed, local and central government are trying to create the solutions rather than stepping out of the market and letting it flow.
  • What of Local Body Elections this year? We already see candidates starting to promise things around ICT, but to they have any idea and who should we throw our weight behind? Some Councils have an appalling record of ICT decisions and disasters while others, smaller generally, excel. Who is good and who is bad and why? Does it have anything to do with the politicians involved?
  • The Internet of Things has become the new Cloud. The answer to everything now is IoT. But so what? What does this give us that we don’t already have and how does it couple to that dark Smart City path? Is this just another sales pitch being super-hyped until analysts can call it “mature”?
  • Government continues to struggle with technology. In New Zealand, shared services in some cases are already becoming legacy. The government still has no formal ICT strategy. Internationally, the government is being quite literally, shut out of the industry. ICT has matured to the point where they have become disillusioned with government. What future does government have in ICT? Some ICT multinationals are moving to countries where they feel there is less interference. Should we in NZ engage with them or should we forge our path?
  • Technology continues to disrupt in significant areas of the traditional market. In the next decade, newer technologies are going to kill off a lot of traditional professions. What Uber has done globally is nothing compared to what is coming. Everyone from doctors to shipping companies will be affected.
  • Automation will become so pervasive in our industry that it could simply fold in on itself. Traditional ICT roles will vanish as will newer ones over time, such as developers. Should we be encouraging people into ICT at all? If so, what areas? Should we be just adding ICT Skills to the immigration list and hoping for the best when we have an industry that anecdotally; hasn’t had a payrise in a decade, is rapidly moving to “zero hour contracts”, is managed by accountants and “contract specialists”, and is not seen as a good career.
  • Privacy, security, and censorship continue to fight a war on all of us. Either from the government or private companies. So what does the Internet of the future look like?
  • How do we stop repeating the same old mistakes in ICT and become truly agile? We still fail almost every project over the cost of $10m. We’ve known that statistic for three years, but nothing has changed. Why?
  • What is ICT going to do to our reality. Augmented technology and Virtual technology are the new IoT are the new Cloud, if you get me. We are going to allow Google and others to feed their censored reality straight into our minds. They will become our great mediator, the company that gets between us and the physical world. What does that do to us, and our industry?

Yes, I have had a lot to think about. So over the next few months, I want to take some of these ideas apart and explore them. I’d be keen to hear from you as well on what other areas we can analyse.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Great reading, stimulating blog article as usual Ian. A couple of comments (out of potentially many).

    NEC’s recent IoT WGTN, smart cities presentation was pretty encouraging in terms of use of robust, flexible, future proof hardware (invented in Wellington), almost entirely open source software and an architecture goal of open data via published APIs. Whether the latter actually happens is surely down to WCC and other councils. One concern was whether NEC will publish specifications to enable third party sensing and other devices to interconnect with the infrastructure (as approved by the Councils) without significant NEC involvement. Nevertheless, in general it appears to be relatively light and open rather than dark. Time will tell though.

    Recently I came across what appeared to be a pretty compelling, generic economic model of cloud services, indicating that for applications whose life is more than around 12 months (i.e. most NZ government services), cloud, i.e. Internet delivered resources from massive data centres, isn’t economic. For lil old NZ it’s difficult to see how economies of scale could possibly apply unless infrastructure / software is being provisioned from very large offshore data centres, which of course has its own drawbacks. Which suggests that if cloud is proving economic for long lived services, something is seriously wrong with the way that local ICT is being progressed.

  2. Great reading, stimulating blog article as usual Ian. A couple of comments (out of potentially many).

    NEC’s recent IoT WGTN, smart cities presentation was pretty encouraging in terms of use of robust, flexible, future proof hardware (invented in Wellington), almost entirely open source software and an architecture goal of open data via published APIs. Whether the latter actually happens is surely down to WCC and other councils. One concern was whether NEC will publish specifications to enable third party sensing and other devices to interconnect with the infrastructure (as approved by the Councils) without significant NEC involvement. Nevertheless, in general it appears to be relatively light and open rather than dark. Time will tell though.

    Recently I came across what appeared to be a pretty compelling, generic economic model of cloud services, indicating that for applications whose life is more than around 12 months (i.e. most NZ government services), cloud, i.e. Internet delivered resources from massive data centres, isn’t economic. For lil old NZ it’s difficult to see how economies of scale could possibly apply unless infrastructure / software is being provisioned from very large offshore data centres, which of course has its own drawbacks. Which suggests that if cloud is proving economic for long lived services, something is seriously wrong with the way that local ICT is being progressed.

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