Welcome!

Websphere Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Sanjeev Sharma

Related Topics: Web 2.0, SOA & WOA, AJAX & REA

Web 2.0: Article

Web 2.0 Is Fundamentally About Empowering People

Exclusive Q&A with IBM's VP of Emerging Internet Technologies, Rod Smith

"Unlocking content to be remixed into new business value" is the driver of Web 2.0 in the enterprise, says Rod Smith, IBM VP of Emerging Internet Technologies, in this Exclusive Q&A with Web 2.0 Journal's Jeremy Geelan given April 2008 on the occasion of IBM's release last month of a new technology created by IBM researchers, codenamed “SMash” - short for Secure Mashup.

Web 2.0 Journal: The movement to empowering business users via Enterprise Mashups in 2006 and gathered momentum in 2007. Do you think that 2008 will be the year that they go mainstream, or is that point still to be reached?

Rod Smith: We are seeing a number of activities blossom. First, the idea of unlocking content to be remixed into new business value is translating into strong adoption of RSS and ATOM, making enterprise data broadly available - and mashable.  Security is now being addressed with the SMash contribution into the OpenAjax Alliance, and will address the needs CIOs have regarding composing secure, interoperable mash-ups.  And finally, the introduction of products from us and others in the industry does indicate a shift.

Q. So if the enterprise, or a large portion of it, was waiting for the security issue still to be resolved, then it follows that IBM is hoping today's release of SMash will be a major adoption tipping-point?

Rod Smith: That's what we're aiming for.  Almost from day one of our participation in OpenAjax Alliance, security and interoperability were highlighted as the two major challenges that enterprises wanted to see addressed - in an open standard or de facto standard way, of course.  I  don't think enough credit is given to the folks in OpenAjax Alliance for taking on these issues - and we're pleased be a part of helping to achieve their goals.

Q.
Mashup security aside, to what extent do you still have to evangelize around the theme of self-service IT, and make businesses understand that high performance people can be empowered through mashup technology to serve themselves with the information they need and then choose themselves exactly how to exploit applications to solve their business priorities?

Rod Smith: Good question.  We still need to evangelize - but let's call it in a Web 2.0 style.  We're now able to show IT how empowering their high performance counterparts in business roles helps them as well, and seeing is believing. Instantly demonstrating the value has a huge impact.  What's exciting today is listening to a customer describe a dashboard or mashup they've been dying to have - and then let them drive!

Q. How would you unpack "situational applications" so that everyone knows exactly what IBM means by that?

Rod Smith: Wikipedia's excellent definition is it's software created by a small group of users for a specific purpose. I'm sure your readers think of useful applications that have been just out of their reach or skills to assemble - so we've expanded the thought a bit to include the idea of time to market - situational apps should be able to be composed/assembled quickly.

Q. So do Mashups mean the end of IT departments, or just a re-arrangement of priorities?

Rod Smith: There's no riding off into the sunset for IT.  This does offer IT a way to reshape their role with the line of business folks - offering SOA and Informational services to make their jobs easier.  It also means new responsibilities for IT around governance of information as data becomes easily sharable/remixable beyond the intranet, additional quality of service as business ecosystems grow, and of course new ways to approach security.

Q. At AJAXWorld next week in New York we have an entire all-day Bootcamp devoted to AJAX Security issues. Do you see any reason to imagine that such a Bootcamp would ever be less than fully subscribed (which it certainly is)? ;-)  If so, how long before we get to that point?!

Rod Smith: Bottom line, AJAX is going to be a cornerstone for open clients for enterprises.  Rich Internet applications will need to exhibit the necessary security - and I don't think there's a better place to get fully immersed than Bootcamp next week!

Q.
How great a role do standards play in all of this and how does IBM currently channel its activities in that area of things?

Rod Smith: Huge - both formal standards like W3C but also de facto standards like many of the technologies underlying AJAX.  As I mentioned earlier, standards are necessary for interoperability today - they go hand in hand.  In our area, we have a team dedicated to emerging standards who's full-time mission it is to collaborate broadly with customers and others in our industry. It's really in IBM's DNA to work across the industry to develop standards, and we'll continue to do that so that our customers can have the best functionality in the most secure way. 

Q. Is it your belief that non-technical users within the enterprise really can be persuaded to "get" 2.0 and avail themselves of the new benefits of freeform applications? Isn't there always a risk that even secure mashups will always be deployed only by the early adopters within each company, but not get adopted beyond that?

Rod Smith: Nope. I think there really is this thing called "shadow IT" where non-technical users have always looked for ways to be more productive - to empower themselves.  This is especially true as the younger generation enters the workforce, as they're more technically savvy than any generation before them. Because they grew up on blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 tools, this generation is largely expected to embrace mashups.

Q.
How will IBM know when the wider world of business has caught up with your team at Emerging Internet Technologies? What kind of metrics do you use to track adoption?

Rod Smith: IBM has had the pleasure of seeing a number of our industry collaborations blossom - Java, XML, web services and now Web 2.0.  We have a methodology on measuring the adoption of new, disruptive technologies - in part to keep from not drinking our own Kool Aid.  Each technology has a different set of metrics;  for mash-ups one measure was the reduction in time to market from months to years - to hours.  We measure every proof-of-concept with customers to validate our approach - which helped refine each iteration of the technology and standards.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.