Stories by Ted Samson

Opinion: IT must face the inevitable rise of the tablet

Any IT administrator out there who figured (or hoped) that this whole tablet "fad" wouldn't gain traction in the corporate world is in for a surprise: 41 percent of today's mobile workforce is equipped with a tablet, and by year's end, that figure could reach 75 percent, according to survey results recently released by iPass. And no, employees aren't just using their slick portable machines to play Angry Birds; 87 percent of workers with tablets said they use the machines for actual job purposes.
This leaves IT departments with two choices: They can stick their heads in the sand and ignore tablets, thus risking security breaches, employee ire, and lost opportunities, or they can accept this next wave of mobile computing (grudgingly or otherwise) and adapt policies and practices accordingly.
Evidently, end-users are already adapting their work practices to tablet use. According to The iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report, only 27 percent of workers with tablets received them from their respective organisations, meaning 73 percent are using their tablets for work, whether or not IT approves. iPass drew its findings from responses from more than 3700 employees at 1100 companies worldwide,
Mobile workers are using their smartphones (94 percent of respondents have smartphones, by the way) and tablets for a range of business-related purposes beyond just checking email: 47 percent of the total respondent pool (those who may or may not have tablets) said they use their devices for taking notes, 39 percent use them for contact and contract management, 33 percent said they check into office suites via their portable devices, 30 percent sign in to social media for work purposes, and 25 percent said they engage in web conferencing via their tablets or smartphones.

White House instructs US agencies to look at cloud solutions

In an effort to reduce waste and streamline IT projects, the White House has pledged to embrace flexible cloud computing in favour of traditional in-house tech deployments.
Starting in 2012, federal agencies are being told to default to cloud-based solutions "whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists," according to the Washington Post.
"Government agencies too often rely on proprietary, custom IT solutions. We need to fundamentally shift this mindset from building custom systems to adopting lighter technologies and shared solutions," said Jeffery Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at a tech conference last month, according to Internet.com.
"With the default policy towards cloud, what that really moves is behaviour toward where agencies are going to provision IT rather than build wherever possible, especially when it comes to commodity IT," said federal CIO Vivek Kundra at the event.
The White House plans to launches an array of initiatives over the next six months, according to the Washington Post, "including pilot efforts to give agencies more flexibility in how they budget for programs." The Post also reports, "In addition, the administration wants to reconstitute oversight panels known as investment review boards and establish a career path for programme managers."
Moreover, the White House has launched an online portal for commercial vendors to show off their cloud-based technologies, called Apps.gov .
The cloud strategy fits neatly into the Obama administration's overall plan to insititute significant changes to the government's IT cycle, from budgeting to procurement to management. Among other tactics, the feds have deployed an online dashboard to track spending and the progress of IT projects government-wide. The goal is to pinpoint projects that need to be tweaked or terminated.
The aforementioned initiatives could help the government achieve its goal of reducing its current count of 2,100 datacentres by 40 percent come 2015.

Accenture topples communication barriers

Proximity gives coworkers the ability to easily engage one another in productive, face-to-face meetings at the drop of a hat. But what happens when you work in New York and your coworker is based in Chicago, or Los Angeles, or even London or Bangalore? Collaboration becomes far more difficult.

Ambient Orbs spark bright idea for cutting energy waste

Clive Thompson at Wired magazine has shared an intriguing story about how Mark Martinez, demand response manager of electricity utility Southern California Edison (SCE), got 120 customers to reduce energy consumption by 40% during peak periods. He gave them Ambient Orbs, small spheres that you can place on your desk and that light up and change colour in response to changing streams of data.

Web-hosting startup fully embraces solar

While large companies such as Microsoft and Google have gingerly plugged into the sun’s energy, a newly announced web hosting company, called Greenest Host, is fully basking in it.

Beating datacentre heat, on the cheap

In the datacentre, admins are feeling the heat. Business-critical hardware must remain properly cooled, but the energy bills seem to soar exponentially as the temperature rises. Fortunately, even the most frugal and financially strapped organisations have ways to cut their A/C bills without having to perform an entire IT-operations overhaul. The following are a few tips for trimming not only some expense from your cooling bills, but as a result, shrinking your organisation’s environmental footprint in the process.

The rise of smart metering is imminent: study

The energy grid as we know it is set to get smarter, according a study released recently by London-based market analyst Datamonitor. The firm predicts that smart metering will reach 89% penetration in North America and 41% penetration in Europe by 2012.

New HP power-monitoring tools promote energy savings

With many companies struggling with soaring energy costs as well as limits on getting the power they need to expand, or even run, their datacentres, HP has announced a new power-capping component for HP Insight Power Manager, part of the HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM) hardware management platform.

Vendors tackle looming datacentre power crisis

The IT industry’s thirst for energy is growing exponentially, far outpacing the supply of reliable, clean power. In response, a group of leading IT firms has banded together to try to head off an impending energy crisis in the datacentre.

[]