What's trending in technology and how will it impact your business?
That is the question I try to answer every day as Chief Information Officer at Marco. In the field, I am often asked what the latest and greatest technology is. In this blog, I focus on giving you an inside look at the tools and, more importantly, help you identify ways you can use technology to improve your operations - and bottom line. I don't have all the answers. That's the best part about technology. I never will. It is always changing.
Type “cloud services” or even “hosted solutions” into Google and the results are overwhelming. A search for “hosted voice” – a rather narrow piece of that market – yields 12 million results alone. If you narrow it tightly to “PBX hosted voice,” the results still top 1 million.
I wrote a blog a couple years ago about Managed Services becoming the new black in IT and it has. Thousands of new providers have emerged over the past two years and even long-time IT providers have shifted their business models to provide the same value proposition: Deliver everything as a service. From voice to networking to printing, you name it and you can find a company that delivers it as a service.
Really, everything as a service? It’s become the Wild Wild West and near impossible for even the knowledgeable business leader to navigate effectively.
The real issue, though, that I see as a CIO is this: Although everything can be delivered as a service, not everything should be. At least not yet.
Imagine putting on your sunglasses, walking down the street and in a second, turning your head and with the sound of your voice beginning to record a video. Seconds later, you have published it through your social media channels and moved on to surfing the Internet or pulling up directions to your destination on your sunglass lens.
Technology already has changed the amount of information available to us and how we communicate. But it’s only the beginning. The “human-computer interface,” as it is known in the industry, will transform how we receive and interact with information – in the very near future. The technology and tools are already here.
Take Google Glass. It’s a great example of a way we can share information in real-time. These internet-connected glasses combine the functionality of a small GoPro camera with voice recognition and media connectivity. That means I can take a video and share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with a voice command. Or walk down the street while checking my email, viewing appointments or surfing the Internet without losing the view in front of me. Check out a video here on how it feels to wear them.
The demise of Windows XP has been highly exaggerated. Microsoft’s announcements about plans to stop supporting Windows XP resemble the story of the boy who cried wolf. But the latest announcement is the real deal and it has significant ramifications for businesses that currently run Windows XP.
Since its release in the summer of 2001, Windows XP has been embraced in the marketplace. It followed the flop of Millennium.
The retirement of Windows XP will have a ripple effect on an organization’s ability to run a host of other software and even hardware like a docking station that does not work with Windows 8. Point of sale software and many other applications that businesses rely on for daily operations still are not compatible with Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8.
That means organizations have 3 options:
1. Run in compatibility mode.
This needs to be done manually on every device so it is a significant commitment of time for most organizations. This may be the best option for very small businesses with only a few users. By downgrading the software, organizations will lose some functionality. I recently tried to do this for point-of-sale software for a small business and found it to be quite cumbersome. I decided it’s far easier to find an older device with Windows XP than run in compatibility mode. But soon that will not be an option.