Enterprise hits and misses – IoT security gets real, AI gets vertical


In this edition: IoT security gets real – and what to do about it. Plus AI gets vertical, and practical, as several smarties shine light on what AI can actually do in 2017 (and it ain’t chatbots). U.S. ISPs get a problematic win over privacy, and the Oracle-wants-Accenture rumors get a roasting. Your whiffs include a dog that did, self-driving car infatuations, and my old stomping grounds – skewering music pirates and their philosophical defenders.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Security threats on the IoT get real by Cath Everett

quotage: “The most likely predictions to come to pass, Clemente believes, are large-scale disruptions to the internet and ransomware attacks on the IoT, which are already starting to take place. One of the first documented cases of an Android-based smart TV being infected by the malware came to light over the Christmas period, for instance, but many more are expected to follow in both the consumer and enterprise space.”

myPOV: A recent doomy/gloomy report from the Information Security Forum (gloom sample directly above) had the intrepid Cath Everett gut-checking the findings with IoT experts in a special two part series. Cath moves on to how companies should respond in part two, Collaboration is the key to countering IoT security concerns.

Why is collaboration the key ingredient? Because fighting these threats will take unprecedented cooperation across legal, compliance, audit, HR, IT information security and so on. Not to mention external cooperation with governments and IoT standards groups. Cath warns, in conclusion, for companies not to get carried away with shiny new things (new security toys) at the expense of collaboration/culture change. No disagreements here – but I wonder how many companies will take bold steps prior to the Bunsen burner of a bad security gaffe?

Happy children eating applediginomica four – my top four stories on diginomica this week

  • Online privacy’s brave new world – a Balkanized USA? – Privacy suffered a blow in the U.S. last week, with ISPs gaining legal permission to sell consumer data (albeit with a few caveats). Denis looks at how this could play out, with complications at the state level as states take privacy into their own hands.
  • 6 Googlesque examples where machine learning provides business – Kurt opens up some real world machine learning scenarios, a vast improvement over the machine learning hyperbole I’ve been getting from PR firms of late.
  • Is HR ready to carry the burden of digital transformation? Devastating line from Phil’s time at HR Tech World London: “ I always feel sorry for the many HR professionals who attend this event. They must leave with such a burden of expectation weighing on their shoulders, but so little sound advice how on earth to get started.” Good news. HR pros: Phil doesn’t leave you hanging. He wraps with a checklist on how to get started on digital HR – before time runs out.
  • CNCF hopes ‘everybody will want to be cloud native’ – but why? – I’d like to revise my 2017 un-predictions: “cloud native” is gonna be big this year. Derek reports on why the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is all-in, and what he learned from their Berlin event. Cloud native in a nutshell: “Cloud native focuses on breaking down applications into smaller components, through the use of orchestration, containers and micro-services. In theory this enables companies to build quickly, iterate faster and to recover at speeds that weren’t previously possible.” Not an easy paradigm for large shops, but one that many are dabbling in.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my top choices from our vendor coverage:

  • Oracle and Accenture? A non-starter and here’s why – Time to puncture some hype balloons as Den goes after the (very) easy bedfellows of page view media and Wall Street analysts. The result was a pea-brained time suck self-flagellating media tail-chase with no tangible connection to reality –  snowballing with every half-baked musing. Den gives context to this deal’s fundamental incompatibility: “If a deal was on the table then Oracle would have some very difficult explaining to do about how margins would work given that it is under enough pressure over ambitious cloud based growth numbers. In short, it doesn’t make sense to distract Oracle management with profit table juggling when the company is already focused on other things.”
  • Microsoft and Adobe prepare to take on the “experience” world – together – Barb assesses another another unlikely tech industry bromance partnership: “This is how Microsoft and Adobe are attempting to stand out from competitors like Salesforce and Oracle. Salesforce provides both marketing and CRM cloud-based services, Oracle, the same. But Adobe doesn’t have its own CRM; it has chosen to focus its suite of tools on the digital marketing side, in addition to continuing its “ecm” capabilities such as file sharing and document management.”
  • Watson and the jobs potential of growing human – Martin hit an IBM roadshow and put Watson to the biggest test – the jobs test. “He sees Watson as an assistant, and that its role is in a man and machine, man with machine partnership, not man versus machine. What this does then require are users who are not just ‘experts’ in one core skill or area. Instead they will need a balance between tech skills and the humanities.”

Jon’s grab bag – Grab your coffee/beverage of choice, Den’s got a think piece for ya, Diversity is good for business – but does everyone get it? I’m sick of appealing to folks to do the right thing (morally). Do the right thing for the bottom line, or get thumped by competitors who get it. But: the problem of unconscious bias gets thornier in the age of unconscious algorithms. Meanwhile, Stuart continues his acerbic play-by-play in Europe goes to Washington to salvage the unsalvageable Privacy Shield (look out Washington buffoons and “Eurocrats!”)

Virtual reality is a money hole but in the right context that changes. See Janine’s Virtual reality puts real-life spin on tackling emergencies at KLM.  Jess has got another heady use case:  Fuller’s brews a cloud-based future with a head on it. We wrap my diginomica picks with Stuart’s tale of an improbable semi-turnaround, Connected cars provide BlackBerry with a three-point-turn.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Five AI Startup Predictions for 2017  – by Bradford Cross

quotage: “With AI in a full-fledged mania, 2017 will be the year of reckoning. Pure hype trends will reveal themselves to have no fundamentals behind them. Paradoxically, 2017 will also be the year of breakout successes from a handful of vertically-oriented AI startups solving full-stack industry problems that require subject matter expertise, unique data, and a product that uses AI to deliver its core value proposition.”

myPOV: Now that’s a paragraph worth clipping to the office wall. Vertical, full-stack AI that solves problems – mostly what my email inbox is lacking. This piece came out March 3 and hit my newsfeed but missed its due here. Readers liked how it pierced AI blather, such as “Bots go Bust,” in which we learn that bots as a “conversational interface over voice and chat” will walk the plank in 2017.

Why? Cross doesn’t believe it’s because the tech isn’t ready. Rather, there are “far more efficient ways to get things done.” Having just duked it out with a mean voicebot from the carpetbaggers anti-service gatekeepers over at EyeMed, I’m inclined to agree. Cross’ five predictions include “deep learning goes commodity” before he gets into why vertical AI is where it’s at in 2017: “When you focus on a vertical, you can find high level customer needs that we can meet better with AI, or new needs that can’t be met without AI.”

Also check Ben Thompson’s  The Arrival of Artificial Intelligence, with timely distinctions, including “Artificial Narrow Intelligence.” For an example of what Cross and Thompson are both alluding to, see Machine Learning Will Help Publishers Modernize Content.

Other standouts:

  • Why IT Integration Projects Fail Louis Columsbus draws on his field views to explain why IT projects fail – specifically, why IT integration projects fail. Drilling into a failure subtopic like integration is useful to avoid the generic “lack of executive buy-in” which may be true but is common sensical. Columbus hits on data do-nots like “Using middleware for business process logic integration when it is designed for data only.”
  • Policy Experts Slam ISP Privacy Vows After Congressional Vote – I’m officially ticked off at this whiff of Congressional proportions. That doesn’t mean this privacy bungle is the apocalypse, but it would be really nice if someone had their hand on the wheel who wasn’t looking for ways to squeeze more bucks out of data we share unknowingly, or with vague understandings of the consequences. Peeps aren’t taking this lying down, though I’m not sure this is gonna work: After vote to kill privacy rules, users try to “pollute” their Web history.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanLet’s see – privacy’s for sale, Accenture’s not, what other mushy mush did peeps step in? Speaking of doggy doo, Den sent me this story from a police pooch that went on the record after a witness was insisted upon:


Gotta love paperwork filed properly! When I read Netherlands introduces pavement traffic lights for smartphone addicts, was I the only one who thought “Gee, we’re becoming dangerous losers?” On the subject of Driverless cars could spell the end for domestic flights, is this really utopia? Driverless cars get caught in traffic jams like everybody else.

Oh, and I think “dezeen.com” meant “commuter flights” not domestic. Driverless cars aren’t getting rid of New York to San Francisco on the redeye. We’re gonna need the hyperloop for that, but thanks for the hyperbole anyhow. To that end, I was kind of disappointed to learn the “truth goggles” this MIT student is working on are not actual goggles. Can you imagine the value of goggles that flashed a red “bullshit” light when appropriate?

I wish I had time to skewer Spotify (Basically) Tells Its Free Users, ‘Go Pirate!’ in its entirety. This is another arrogant bromide from the editorial factory of “people have a right to free art, as long as it’s digital.” They’re almost right. But there’s one word missing: “people have a right to free shitty art.” Because the good stuff requires a freaking business model, not a generation of entitled Internet addicts unwilling to pay artists a living wage while living under the delusion that their paid iTunes and Spotify subscriptions and YouTube likes accomplish that. OK, chip off shoulder, time to ramble on.

Over to you, Clive.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. ‘myPOV’ is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.


Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.