SteadyServ’s iKeg™ Solution: Leveraging The Third Computing Platform

SteadyServ iKegThe collection of IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Data Analytics trends are enabling a whole new era of intelligent solutions for businesses of all sizes.   IDC calls this the Third Platform and Gartner calls it the Nexus of Forces.  Whatever you want to call it, we are experiencing a historical transformation in the computing platform for businesses.  Solution providers must accelerate their ability to develop solutions that leverage these collection of trends.

For an example of a Solution Provider leveraging this new computing platform, have a look at SteadyServ Technologies.  SteadyServ has just launched the iKeg™, a mobile SaaS-based (software as a service) inventory management solution, for the beer industry.   According to  SteadyServ CEO and co-founder Steve Hershberger, “beer sold in retail establishments accounts for a $21bn industry, yet the industry still relies on the inaccurate process of ‘shaking the keg’ – the same method used since the inception of the product.”  SteadyServ has set out to automate beer inventory management.

At the heart of their new solution is a sensor that easily attaches to the bottom of a beer keg.  That sensor can tell a beer distributor or a tavern owner, in real time, exactly how many kegs are in the cooler and how much beer is left in each keg. 

The iKeg™ system actually consists of three parts – the hardware, software and a mobile app.  The hardware combines the aforementioned removable sensor ring and a RFID tag.  Once the RFID tag is scanned, the cloud-based software receives the data from the sensor, tracking how much beer remains, type of beer, age and when it was delivered.  Analytics in the iKeg™ solution measures and reports the real-time inventory of draft kegs, which is all accessible via a mobile app. 

The iKeg™ mobile app allows you to send customizable automatic social alerts to Facebook and Twitter every time a new beer goes on tap. It also provides a number of fully-integrated tools to help promote your establishment, special event or a unique beer that you might want to highlight. Have a look at the mobile app in the video below.

SteadyServ’s new iKeg Mobile App

Pretty neat, isn’t it?

The iKeg™ solution also automates the order and fulfillment process for the entire inventory of draft, bottled and canned beers.   All this information is then tallied with the stock, the next delivery date, previous order information, event information, and past and future beer consumption trends.  In addition, the iKeg™ solution uses advanced machine-to-machine communication technologies to ensure that the system is secure, reliable and highly scalable.  

It seems to me SteadyServ has a bright future ahead.  It’s a perfect example of an innovative solution provider leveraging the IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Data Analytics trends.   I see the a whole new era of similar cloud-based solutions that will be developed and implemented as part of this new computing platform.

For more on iKeg™ or SteadyServ, check out their website at http://www.steadyserv.com.  You can also follow SteadyServ on Twitter at @steadyserv or via the hashtag #ikeg.

Gartner Top Ten Strategic Trends for 2014

Gartner top-10-strategic-trends-2014-gartnerIn case you missed it, Gartner recently announced their latest revision to their strategic technologies list.   The revised list is announced annually at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.  This post provides an overview of the trends on Gartner’s list of Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014.  The ten are all very important, but I wonder why Big Data, Analytics, and Social are not mentioned.  Regarding #9 Smart Machines, I think we are a few years away from seeing a smart machine market fully develop, but when cognitive systems do go mainstream, the impact will be highly disruptive across all business processes and enterprise applications.

1) Mobile Device Diversity.   Gartner says the explosion of mobile devices and user interfaces will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable from now through 2018.  Bring your own device (BYOD) programs have caused IT and Finance organizations a bunch of stress.   Gartner recommends a complete review of BYOD programs to better define expectations and to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.

2) Mobile Apps & Applications.  Gartner says HTML5 and mobile browsers will be the focus of enterprise application development.   Developers should focus on improving the user interface via richer voice and video in order to connect people in new and different ways.   It’s like a gold rush era for creating apps for all different and we should not expect any consolidation to happen soon.

3) The Internet of Everything.   Internet of Things (IoT) is now increasingly being referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Sensors and devices are increasingly being embedded into all sorts of enterprise assets and consumer items.    Gartner says that most organizations have not yet fully grasped the potential of IoE and not operationally or organizationally ready.   Gartner identifies four basic usage models that are emerging:  Manage, Monetize, Operate, Extend and recommends these four basic models should be applied to any of the four “internets” (people, things, information and places).

4) Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker.   Gartner says the future of cloud computing are hybrid clouds.  This is an environment where clouds can talk to each other.  So enterprises should design private cloud services fro the ground up so that full integration/interoperability is possible. 

5) Cloud / Client Architecture.  Gartner says that cloud and client computing models are shifting.  In the future cloud and client architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, and the server is a set of application services hosted in an increasingly elastically scalable cloud computing platform. The cloud is the control point and system, and applications can span multiple client devices.

6) The Era of the Personal Cloud.   Gartner says that there is a shift in importance coming away from personal devices and towards personal cloud services.   Users will use a collection of internet connected devices.   The personal cloud and the applications we all run as individuals will become the core control point.

7) Software Defined Everything (SDx).   Gartner sees an increased role for software in the datacenter.   Software is now able to data center more hardware more efficiently and easily than ever imagined before.  With Software-Defined Everything, the computing infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service.  Gartner says there is growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by desires to implement cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.

8) Web Scale IT.  Gartner says that large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, and others are re-inventing the way in which IT services can be delivered.  Gartner recommends that IT organizations should align with and emulate the processes, architectures, and practices of these leading cloud providers.

9) Smarter Machines.  Gartner suggests that the “the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT”.  Gartner further predicts that “Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.   Gartner says that the market for smart machines will include solutions like

  • contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants
  • smart advisors
  • advanced global industrial systems
  • autonomous vehicles

10) 3D Printing.  According to Gartner, 3D printing is not just for printing toys and jewelry.  Gartner says that 3D printing will have a high impact on many industries, including consumer products, industrial and manufacturing.   Gartner is predicting that shipments of 3-D printers will grow 75 percent in 2014 and 200 percent in 2015.

For more, check out the press release here or attend the December 13 Webinar

WEF publishes “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014”

WEF Outlook 2014The World Economic Forum has published their annual outlook.  This years publication “The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014” provides a view on the challenges and opportunities of the coming 12–18 months for both Governments and Business organizations around the world.  The publications is a good read for anyone wanting an overview of the status of the world economy.   The publication is based on a survey of more than 1,500 global economic and development experts that asked them to explore the most important issues we all face in the coming year.

The Top 10 trends identified in the Outlook on the Global Agenda for 2014 are:

  1. Societal tension in the Middle East and North Africa: war in Syria, political instability and unemployment in North Africa.
  2. Widening income gap: ramifications for health, education and social mobility across all regions of the world.
  3. Structural unemployment: a global issue demanding a global solution
  4. Intensifying cyber threats: electronic armies and government agencies are threatening the fabric of the Internet
  5. Inaction on climate change: extreme weather events may be occurring more frequently, but there has been no breakthrough on action to tackle the problem
  6. Diminishing confidence in economic policies: the scale of the global downturn and the pace of recovery have left deep scars, particularly among the young
  7. Lack of values in leadership: this has led to a crisis of legitimacy in governments and other institutions
  8. Asia’s expanding middle class: greater hope for increased prosperity – but also environmental and resource challenges
  9. Growing importance of megacities: these original social networks are home to more and more people, yet we still understand surprising little about how they grow and evolve
  10. Rapid spread of misinformation online: the speed of social media – and the scale of big data – is making it harder for people to know that information received is real

I’ve highlighted in orange 4, 9, and 10 as these are trends that are particularly important to those of us in the Information Technology industry. 

In addition to ranking the top trends for leaders in 2014, the publication also highlights emerging trends that experts believe will become increasingly important in the coming 12 months. These include the implications of shale gas extraction, the failure or inadequacy of democratic institutions, the rise of emerging market multinational companies and the role continued exploration of, and experimentation in, space can have in improving our world.  The Outlook also offers insight into how different regions and age groups perceive global trends, as well as data from Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, which conducts public opinion polling on issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping the world.

You can access all the digital content, including big data analysis and infographics, at http://reports.weforum.org/outlook-14/