|By Hollis Tibbetts||
|September 28, 2011 10:00 AM EDT||
Crowdsourcing Visibility Soars
If you haven't heard about Crowdsourcing, you will soon. Crowdsourcing is increasingly in the news, and if you take stock in Google Trends, interest in the topic is increasing at a phenomenal rate.
I wrote an earlier article on this topic entitled Crowdsourcing - a Best Practice or a Worst Practice?, as well as a follow-on article that was largely contributed by TopCoder, Inc. founder Jack Hughes: Maximizing Crowdsourcing Success.
For those not familiar with the term, Wikipedia's article opens with the following definition:
"sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to an undefined large group of people or community (crowd) through an open call.(FZS)
Jeff Howe established that the concept of crowdsourcing depends essentially on the fact that because it is an open call to an undefined group of people, it gathers those who are most fit to perform tasks, solve complex problems and contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task (also known as community-based design or "design by democracy" and distributed participatory design), refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm (see human-based computation), or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data (see also citizen science).
The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals."
Then Wikipedia goes on to express (in characteristic Wikipedia style) that there is far from 100% agreement on the Crowdsource front: "However, both the term and its underlying business models have attracted controversy and criticisms."
Is Crowdsourcing the Next “....sourcing” Trend?
I've been around for a while now, and I'm used to technology trends coming and going. In some respects, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I remember the “outsourcing” years where the big trend was to outsource the data center to companies like EDS. Or outsource application development to Andersen Consulting, or “Y2K” to E&Y or a mainframe re-hosting project to some other consulting giant. Same or better quality, less effort, less money. Or so the pitch went.
Then the trend evolved and the big buzz was to outsource everything to India - offshore outsourcing or “offshoring”. Many people jumped onto that bandwagon – proclaiming it as the same quality software at a huge discount. A lot of companies got burned on that one. Others did well.
So is Crowdsourcing simply the next stage in the evolution of this trend of cheaper/faster – after all, it shared the same root word, “sourcing”. So it's not surprising that the assumption is that it must be like offshoring but better. This opinion seems to be pretty commonly held.
Crowdsourcing as an evolution of the "...sourcing" trend?
Recent Crowdsourcing “in the news”
I've been keeping my eye on the Crowdsourcing trend for a couple of years now – keeping tabs on things like:
- Amazon.com has a “Mechanical Turk” crowdsourcing platform. I use it myself. It's great for repetitive simple to define tasks where you don't want to pay much money. The other week, I wanted to find out how many people had read a lengthy list of articles on the Internet. I paid workers 5 pennies per article to find out for me. According to Amazon, the effective hourly rate was about $1.25 an hour. I suppose you could say that Crowdsourcing and Amazon helped me momentarily operate an Internet-enabled global sweat-shop.
- The government in the U.K. is Crowdsourcing solutions for reducing government waste and spending. It's a bit like a next generation “suggestion box” on a country-wide level. The pay for that is even less than sweat-shop levels – nothing at all. This made me feel better about my own personal sweat-shop. If the civilized Brits can pay their fellow country-people nothing, then $1.25 an hour that I pay doesn't seem so bad.
- Companies like TopCoder have been running “algorithm” bake-offs for years, where ultra-smart people write code to solve very focused problems and the winners get a small cash prize, some points and recognition. The non-winners walk away with nothing but “try better next time”.
- Companies like uTest pay large numbers of widely distributed people small amounts of money to test software or websites for defects/bugs thus allowing companies to “crowdsource” aspects of quality assurance, and pay only when bugs are found.
So it's not at all surprising that the "traditional wisdom" is that Crowdsourcing is great because:
1) It's a global thing, so you have instant access to cheap labor
2) You pay for performance. You only pay for successful work – bugs found, the best algorithms, etc.
3) You get fast results. TopCoder, for example, advertises over 200,000 developers in their network. With that kind of parallel effort, things should get done in no time at all.
So, to expand on the first graphic, does it look more like this, then?
But Is Traditional Wisdom on Target?
TopCoder, Inc. founder Jack Hughes tells me that I'm missing the point, that I've got it wrong. And to top it off, he doesn't like the term “Crowdsourcing”.
Well, if I've got it all wrong - that would make “me and a lot of other people”.
It's very possible. I was wrong about eBay back in the early 1990s. And I never thought people would pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee. Or $5 for a bottle of water.
I've decided to find out as much as I can. What better place to get to the bottom of things than the 2011 TopCoder Open being held this week in Hollywood, Florida? It's the biggest concentration of Crowdsourcing participants on the planet. So I decided to go. I'm here now at the “Open” to talk to as many people as I can, and decide for myself what Crowdsourcing is all about, and form my own opinion about the moniker “Crowdsourcing”.
I'm sure I'll get an earful. I'll be writing much more about this - more to come this week and next.
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
May. 1, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 690
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 1, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,123
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
May. 1, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 981
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
May. 1, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 887
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
May. 1, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,207
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
May. 1, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 791
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
May. 1, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,564
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
May. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,741
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
May. 1, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 790
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
May. 1, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,319
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 1, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,486
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
May. 1, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,087
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
May. 1, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,001
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
May. 1, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 921
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
May. 1, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 969
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
May. 1, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 836
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
May. 1, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,494
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
Apr. 30, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,697
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
Apr. 30, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,728
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
Apr. 30, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,468