What’s the Future of IT?

With the new iPhone 6 recently released and all the kerfluffle about Bendgate, we started thinking about the Future of IT. Greg Satell, DigitalTonto, has given it some thought as well. Here’s what he says is coming at IT soon:

  • No-touch interfaces – Apple’s Siri and Google Glass are just warm ups for the no-touch interfaces that are coming in the next ten years. Wearables, living services, the Internet of Things, smart materials, embedded tech – coming soon, very soon.
  • Native content – Original programming to grab unique eyeball time is where Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and HBO are all headed.
  • Massively online – Gaming, learning, and even politics are heading online, massively online, with MOOCs (massively online open courses), Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Code Academy, and multi-player games like World of Warcraft leading the charge.
  • The Web of things – Smart phones have put almost everything in touch with computers, soon to make computing something done everywhere anytime and not just at a desk in the office thanks to Near Field Communication and energy harvesting.
  • Consumer driven supercomputing – The next phase of computing combines natural language processing, Big Data, and cloud accessibility and has Google, Microsoft, and IBM falling all over themselves to get there first.

future and past on green road sign

Satell brings up the incredible disappearing computer, gradually (but picking up speed) fading into the Web of Things and no-touch interfaces. The future of IT looks like it will be more intuitive, less intrusive, more online and more in the cloud than ever. GroupOne’s ready. Are you?


Hardware Gets Social with Tindie, Cell Phones, and Kickstarter

Most people, even if they aren’t techies, have heard of open source software that is used, shared, and changed freely by all and available for modification without limit. Open source refers to something that can be modified freely because it is publicly accessible. Thanks to Emile Petrone and Tindie, open source now also applies to hardware.


Need a touchless gesture controller for your latest tech project? What about a light intensity sensor? Go to the markets on Tindie and you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, all for sale by market members as open source hardware. And if you’re the kind of geek/nerd/scientist/entrepreneur who likes to make those things, Tindie is the marketplace for you.

Petrone cut his tech entrepreneur teeth at places like Yelp, SimpleGeo, a location-based service to help companies understand their mobile users, acquired by Urban Airship, a similar business. He’s not new to startups either, having founded Housefed, an online reservation service for hosting and attending events with home-cooked meals.

Petrone got the idea for the open source electronics components markets now in 50 countries around the world from an inquiry he put out on Reddit about interest in a market. Tindie’s timeline starts with April 7, 2012, reached 1,000 products listed on July 11, 2013, and was invited to the first White House Maker Faire June 18th, 2014. He thinks it took off because of dropping cell phone prices and the rise of crowdfunders like Kickstarter, and social media probably has something to do with it as well.

Peterone’s customers include hobbyists, Google, libraries, and NASA, and envisions that kind of opportunity for everyone. Petrone made sure Tindie is easy to use so even unfunded indie hardware has a viable place in the market, where makers and marketers can snatch stuff like Tapster, a phone touchscreen tester, or little_simon, a throwback to the 78 Milton Bradley electronic lightshow game. So if you’ve ever had an idea for a handy gadget or dreamt of inventing the next cool hot electronic toy, Tindie might help you make it happen.

Pens Get Smart But Will They Last Forever?

 There’s nothing more old school than pen and paper, but old school meets high tech when it comes to reimagining writing instruments. The Ivy Guide is a high tech translator tool that turns any pen into a translator and even recharges with a USB port. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign developed a pen that writes with silver nanoparticle ink and draws functional circuitry. The Scribble Pen puts 16 million different colors at the user’s disposal with a color sensor and microprocessor.


“Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky” and now the 4.Ever Pininfarina Cambiano inkless pen. Made by the same Italian car design firm  based in Cambiano, Italy that designs for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Fiat, the aluminum and wooden writing instrument lets users write, sketch, and doodle without ink or lead by simply oxidizing paper with the patented metallic alloy ethergraf instead of laying liquid on it.

The pen tip was invented by the Italian stationery company Napkin and the body was designed by Pininfarina. The $120 price tag is for being completely handmade in Italy by master craftsmen at Pininfarina. The pen comes with a notebook of stone paper made from stone powder, decorated with original sketches of the Cambiano concept car.

The inkless pen makes markings that are permanent and smudge proof and eco-friendly. But will the pen let users write forever? How will we know? If you believe a Google engineer, we might last forever ourselves…and Pininfarina has made sure we’ll have a working writing instrument with us. “You can’t take it with you” suddenly rings hollow when there’s a pen like this.