What You Need to Know About Pervasive Computing

By Steve Andriole

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What is "pervasive computing" and why should you care?

We entered the pervasive computing era around 2000. Pervasive computing includes:

  • Adaptive architectures
  • "Always on" connectivity
  • IP ubiquity
  • Automation
  • Rich content
  • Security
  • Supply chain integration
  • Convergence (devices, business modes, communications, personal/professional processes...)
  • The challenge is to reassess your computing and communications environment this time with reference to pervasive computing. Let's look at pervasive computing through the multiple lens of software, services and communications.

    What I've done here is develop a checklist you can use to prepare yourself for the inevitable connectivity that will change the way we all do business.

    A Pervasive Computing Checklist


    Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)/Exchange Integration

  • If your applications were fully integrated, how would integration accelerate your business?
  • Have you piloted or deployed any of the major exchange engines? With good or poor results? What went right; what went wrong?
  • What's your company's overall integration quotient?
  • Transaction Platform Development

  • Have you piloted or deployed any of the major transaction platforms?
  • Do you have a standard internal applications architecture?
  • Have you piloted e-payment or storage area management platforms?
  • Supply Chain Connectivity

  • What aspects of your business would be more productive and profitable if your supply chains were integrated?
  • Have you piloted any supply chain management software?
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  • Do you have an integrated supply chain strategy?
  • Personalization & Customization/Business Intelligence

  • Is there a mass customization strategy for your company?
  • Is your sales and marketing team part of your customization/personalization strategy?
  • What personalization/customization/business intelligence software have you piloted?
  • Automation

  • What "manual" transactions in your organization could be automated?
  • What efficiencies could be gained through automation?
  • Have you piloted any automation software?
  • Rich Content Aggregation/Management

  • How will your content evolve? What parts will become 'rich'?
  • Have you piloted any of the content management platforms?
  • How will you store & distribute content continuously?
  • Personal & Professional Portals

  • Have you run cost-benefit models for portal deployment to improve data/application/network access?
  • Have you piloted any of the leading portal platforms?
  • Is there an "owner" of your company's portal strategy?
  • Architectures: Embedded Applications & Peer-to-Peer Computing

  • What applications in your portfolio would benefit from continuous, peer-to-peer connectivity and processing?
  • Have you looked at any of the new peer-to-peer products?
  • Voice Recognition/Natural Interfaces

  • What applications in your portfolio would benefit from voice connectivity?
  • What voice input/put tools have you piloted?
  • Is there high or low voice awareness in your company?
  • Web Services

  • Is the "Web services" concept well or poorly understood in your company?
  • Have you discussed Web services with your primary service providers?
  • Have they offered to demonstrate their capabilities & measure their impact?
  • Services

    Outsourced Service Providers (ASPs, TSPs, CSPs, MSPs...)

  • Are you currently renting any applications?
  • Have you piloted a hosting arrangement with an ASP/TSP/CSP/MSP/VSP?
  • Have you benchmarked your currently in-house hosting versus outsourced hosting requirements and capabilities?
  • Application Integration Service Providers

  • Are you outsourcing your EAI/IAI requirements?
  • Have you measured the effectiveness of the outsourcing?
  • Have you developed any important partnerships or alliances with integration service providers?
  • Rich Content Management Service Providers

  • Are you outsourcing your content management service requirements?
  • Have you measured the effectiveness of the outsourcing?
  • Have you developed any important partnerships or alliances with content management service providers?
  • Development Services

  • Are you outsourcing your application development requirements?
  • Have you developed any important partnerships or alliances with application development service providers?
  • Have you assessed open versus proprietary opportunities?
  • Have you piloted Linux and other open systems?
  • Infrastructure Engineering Services -- Solutions

  • Are you outsourcing your infrastructure engineering requirements?
  • Have you measured the effectiveness of the outsourcing?
  • Have you developed any important partnerships or alliances with infrastructure engineering service providers?
  • Are you 100% IP? If not, by when?
  • Communications

    Wireless Applications

  • How would widespread wireless applications affect your industry, your competition, your company?
  • Have you launched any wireless pilots?
  • What wireless standards have you adopted?
  • What are your plans for 3rd generation (3G) networking?
  • Network Security Solutions

  • Have you assessed your security vulnerabilities in light of always-on, continuous transaction processing?
  • How will you protect the privacy of your customers in an automated environment?
  • Have you explored alternative connectivity options, such as the public Internet, WANs and VPNs?
  • How will you authenticate users of your applications and networks?
  • Bandwidth Management & Optimization

  • How much bandwidth do you have; how much will you need when ubiquity hits?
  • How will you ensure its quality and reliability?
  • How will you optimize bandwidth when continuous commerce and fully integrated supply chains emerge?
  • Telecom

  • Have you explored the potential of voice-over-IP (VOIP)?
  • Which of your telecom providers are the most aggressive moving toward a completely packet backbone infrastructure?
  • Broadband

  • Have you evaluated broadband options, including hybrids?
  • Are you tracking the implications of fiber to the consumer's curb?
  • Network Applications & Services

  • Are you exploring the implications of the integration of IP voice and data?
  • How would unified messaging affect your business models and processes?
  • Have you piloted any of the network and systems management frameworks or are you still relying on point solutions?
  • Have you considered how you would support a large wireless environment?

    Optical Networking

  • Have you assessed the impact that a ubiquitous optical mesh network would have on your business? And on your competitors' business?
  • Touch Technologies

  • How might your call centers change if commerce becomes continuous and automated?
  • Can your Web site support continuous commerce?
  • Five years from now we'll wonder why we didn't prepare better for the pervasive computing era. Perhaps the questions here can get us off to the good start.