|By Chris Yeh||
|December 14, 2008 04:15 AM EST||
Mayes reports that the wiki saves each of the underwriters about 30-45 minutes per day, and it has saved significant amounts of time for the rest of the employees when it comes to finding documents, passwords, and other information.
Moreover, the cost of the hosted collaboration solution is a fraction of the cost of the previous shared server.
"Our underwriters use the wiki to educate the loan officers," said Mayes. "Any time something changes, they post the new information to the wiki. Now the watchword in the office is, 'Did you check the wiki?'
2. Cut Down on Travel
Resilient Technologies of Wausau, Wisconsin, was working with Frank Rath of the University of Wisconsin to develop a special airless tire for Humvees in Iraq. By collaborating with the university, Resilient was able to tap into leading polymer scientists and mechanical engineers to conduct cutting-edge R&D.
The problem was that Resilient Technologies is about 120 miles and a two-hour drive from the university's campus in Madison. To make matters worse, one of the key members of the Resilience team was based in West Virginia, nearly 1,000 miles away.
The team tried out a cloud-based solution from PBwiki, and soon the entire project team was on it, including 12 people from Resilient, five polymer scientists, and three mechanical engineers. This allowed the team to cut down on time-consuming and costly travel.
In previous projects, Resilient and the university had used email and file attachments, with mixed results. "It takes so much time to find the right documents," said Frank. "There are so many different iterations and modifications to track, especially when it comes to spreadsheets."
"PBwiki eliminates confusion, duplication, and the potential for errors," said Rath. "It's a simple and easy-to-use platform that lets us coordinate and execute critical projects."
3. Enable Outsourcing and Offshoring
Wideload Games is a maker of edgy, humorous, and quirky video games like "Hail to the Chimp" and "Stubbs the Zombie." To successfully compete with giant studios like Electronic Arts and Activision, this largely virtual company uses a highly distributed development model. While headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the independent contractors who form the development team for their video games reside across the globe in South Korea, Canada, South America, China, and the U.S.
While Wideload adopted its virtual model before cloud-based collaboration was available, adding hosted collaboration brought its operations to a new level of productivity. PBwiki was brought in to eliminate the confusion of distributing documents and production work via email. It acts as a centralized repository in the cloud of all the materials being developed for a video game that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
With PBwiki, the development team has a public archive of the development process. Everyone is on the same page and new people can quickly come up to speed as they enter a project. Collaboration in the cloud even aids the creative process. Jon says that "brainstorming wikis" can be easily and quickly set up and as the ideas mature through an iterative process, "stuff that needs to stick" has a permanent home together with a history of how it came to be.
4. Improve Knowledge Worker Productivity
The Groop is one of the hottest design firms in Los Angeles, with clients as diverse as Nike, the Los Angeles Times, and America's best restaurant, the French Laundry. To keep up with new business, the company has grown to 30 employees and 50 contractors. With all those contractors, and because The Groop relies on the Scrum methodology for project management (derived from the agile software development movement), group communication and collaboration is mission-critical. The email-based approach which worked for a five-person boutique was unmanageable for an 80-person firm.
"The email trails were getting over the top," said Summer Swigart, Lead Software Engineer for The Groop. "To get an RFP out, three departments have to collaborate: technology, design, and strategy. We were uploading files to the extranet and emailing, ‘Hey, can you review this?' People were starting to ignore and lose important emails."
The Groop uses PBwiki for project management, corporate training, and to document best practices. For example, The Groop created an "LA Phil" folder to manage a building project, a tribute to outgoing Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Esa Pekka Salonen. The Groop's project folder includes a custom project board, complete with virtual tacks and index cards (implemented via a custom template), and offers read-only access to vendors and contractors so that they can participate in the daily scrum without compromising any of the other information in the workspace.
Another key usage is determining and publishing development standards. "We have a lot of developers who are contractors," said Swigart. "We publish all of our coding standards on the wiki. That way, when something goes wrong, we can just point to our standards rather than saying, ‘Why did you do it that way? It's broken!'"
The impact of collaboration is measurable and dramatic. "It's increased information flow and brought down overhead, giving us more time for billable work. Our users spend more time on billable projects as opposed to asking, ‘Where's the project?' or ‘How do I connect to the Internet?' We're getting $1 million per year in additional productivity."
Where Do We Go from Here?
The future lies with companies like RMC Vanguard, Resilience, Wideload Games, and The Groop that are taking advantage of cloud collaboration to do more with less and turn virtual teams into a competitive advantage. It's no coincidence that these companies are doing well, even in a bad economy. While bad times hurt everyone, those who are most adept at doing more with less are likely to capture a bigger share of a shrinking pie, as customers and clients seek lower cost, higher value solutions.
If you are a small company, consider using collaboration in the cloud to enhance your ability to compete with established players. You can use contractors, partners, and other virtual corporation strategies to broaden your capabilities while retaining your advantages in cost and flexibility.
If you're inside a larger enterprise, you can use collaboration in the cloud to compete with lean, nimble startups, or to better coordinate across different groups, offices, and divisions.
Either way, collaboration in the cloud is the future of business.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Nov. 28, 2014 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,276
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,354
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,688
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,359
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,509
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,704
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 27, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,320
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,257
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 27, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,282
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,558
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 1,531
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,362
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,426
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,224
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,268
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,653
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,745
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,646
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,781
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,811