Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, David Dodd, Brian Daleiden, Dana Gardner, Harry Trott

Blog Feed Post

SMAC, Code Halos and the Good, Bad and Ugly of Tracking Data

As a SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) Analyst, I spend my days researching, writing and presenting ideas to companies and audiences.  One of the most important subjects these days is how to develop and implement the best possible information logistics systems.  That means utilizing and processing collected data in the most advantageous and efficient manner possible to further the ambitions of the business.  That goal is perfectly understandable for a business - collecting business data and transactional data is expected, but when it is your personal data (Code Halos) that is being collected we often feel differently.  For example, I love having my TripIt, Marriott and Delta mobile apps know about me, my preferences and my past, present and future travels, but I don't want that information shared with other vendors (or home burglars) without my permission.

In this article, my colleague Ben Pring, Co-Director of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant is kind enough to address the good and bad of having your data (Code Halos) aggregated and tracked online.  I have included two embedded videos - first, a video interview that I filmed with Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring on the concepts of Code Halos, and a second far more professional clip on the role of Code Halos in our everyday life.
The response to our articles around Code Halo-thinking is overwhelmingly positive.   I and my co-authors, Malcolm Frank and Paul Roehrig, have spoken at dozens of client and industry events and engaged in numerous post-presentation discussions with a wide array of  senior IT and business leaders who when presented with  the Code Halo idea and follow us through our Crossroads Model tell us of  the opportunities Code Halo-thinking offers (including the risks of “extinction events”) are very real in their industry or market.  For  example, the narrative resonated with a major soft drink manufacturer that saw a new way to think about the social network around its soft drink; with an international airline which is beginning to socialize and internalize the new metaphor of a Code Halo to rethink how it moves customers from point A to point B; and with a leading financial services institution that admitted it was  only too aware of the “ionization” happening all around it as new ideas from start-ups begin to change the competitive dynamics the company faces.

Video Link:

The second major reaction though – which may or may not surprise you, if you’ve read any of the previous pieces here, is that many people immediately internalize the Code Halo story and find “the dark side of the Halo.” Rather than focusing on the positive transformational commercial opportunities Code Halos  present, they land on the dystopian, Orwellian world of constant surveillance by Big (and little) Brother that Messer’s Assange, Manning and Snowden have brought to the fore in recent weeks, months and years.

Typically we hear a torrent of worst-case scenarios. “I don’t want to share my information with retailer x”, “I don’t want the government to have even more information on me that they do already”, “this is just going to make hackers’ lives easier”, “I get bombarded by enough advertising already; this is just going to make it even worse”, “I don’t want to live in 1984”, “I am not a number”, “how can I control who knows things about me”, “this is the final nail in the coffin of privacy”, “these ideas will never take off.”

The prism that people have is perfectly understandable.  Their concerns and fears are, of course, entirely valid and understandable. We share many of them. As digital immigrants ourselves we are at times as dazed and confused as any set of middle aged men by the emergent and volatile social mores of the new world and have to fight back the temptation to wallow in nostalgic revelries of how “this wasn’t the way we used to do it back in the day/old country.”

The grand experiment that we are all engaged in – creating a world of unprecedented hyper-connectivity of time, space, and culture - which the Code Halo phenomena is supercharging, is, by its very nature, unknowable and logically contains good things and bad.  Lots of good things are going to happen in a world of Code Halos, as are lots of bad things.

In short, we have no intention to deny that bad things will happen as a result of code meeting code. We fully expect they will. There is a very real dark side of the halo. All of the worst-case scenarios with which we are presented will happen, and are happening now.  People will get hacked. Government intrusion will grow. Advertisers will create new ways to embed advertising into every nook and cranny of our lives through every IP addressable form factor we use. Privacy will recede. The nefarious will have new opportunities to hurt us. Many innovations enabled by Code Halos will have unexpected consequences which will compound over time to produce unanticipated negative outcomes.  And yet we firmly believe these fears, concerns and objections are overblown, irrelevant or moot. Every objection is entirely the same objection that people raised as Al Gore’s Information Superhighway was entering the public consciousness in the middle of the 1990s; “I’ll never put my credit details onto the web,” Average Joe said in 1996; now Joe is routinely spending thousands of dollars online.

The Internet has been a crime scene in the last 20 years -- repeatedly. And it still is. And it always will be. But, today the Internet has 634 million websites and 2.4 billion users, according to uptime monitoring company, Royal Pingdom, and is here to stay. Nobody is going to un-invent it.
In 2013 so much of our lives are already online – shared, visible, transparent, open, all proffered voluntarily through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, et al, or less voluntarily via our credit score, phone records, movements, and key strokes that the government can impound without warrant -- that privacy is already an illusion, hackers already hack, advertisers can already advertise within our email, pharmacies already send our 16-year-old daughters coupons for diapers when neither they nor we knew they were pregnant; we are numbers, we are code.

The world that we are describing is already here. The Code Halo era is not imminent. It is now.
Just as the upside of the Internet has won over the downside we believe the upside of a Code Halo world will win over its downsides. The “give to get” ratio of the Code Halo world will be so positive that, in the same way that the cost and convenience of Internet era 1.0 triumphed over its doubters, the new Internet era of Code Halos will similarly see it detractor’s voices diminish and disappear.  

And one last thought; the ultimate value of Code Halos will originate out of the openness of data that is shared and this, of course, will mandate good behavior and accountability.  Just as lousy service that once went unpunished is now broadcast on social media with sometimes devastating impact, individuals or corporations that misuse or exploit information exchanged via Code Halos will struggle to enrich and inflate their Code Halo and to generate commercially material sparks. Bad Code Halo behavior will exist in a world of instant high visibility and will push some towards their extinction event. 


For more information on these concepts please visit

Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
View Linkedin Profile
Learn about mobile strategies at
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).