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The Fourth Revolution

How we think about our place in the world has been transformed through various revolutions of ideas from big thinkers such as Galileo, Darwin and Freud. Now, Philosopher Luciano Floridi believes that we are now into a new fourth revolution in the mass age of information and data. Could it be that now that we are regularly being outsmarted by computers that can reason and analyse better than we can. It’s no longer possible hold to the view that humans are better at thinking than everything else.

IoT and Transportation

The second VINT report on Design to Disrupt (D2D), titled “New Digital Competition”, contributes significantly across industries by focusing on the platform economy.

Ten principles were proposed in this document. It’s worth pausing on the principle “Getting the MOST out of SMACT.” By digging into the opportunities offered by the Internet of Things and working in a collaborative manner, it is indeed possible to offer the transport industry on a dedicated digital platform.

By combining the expertise of three complementary businesses – Kuantic for Embedded Device, Gruau for the Transport Business and Sogeti for IT  – it has been possible to practically and operationally illustrate the implementation of a ‘framework for corporations.’ [Read more…]

Blockchain: cryptoplatform for a frictionless economy

Welcome to the wondrous world of the complex and highly imaginative crypto-economy. The world of blockchain and bitcoin, of miners, sandboxes and hashes. If you are not well-up in this subject yet, you may easily fall under the spell of the fascinating and fast-growing crypto-environments. And even if you have already made a study of the subject, some elements of the crypto-economy may remain mysterious and to some extent intangible.


This joke aims to alert you to the serious stuff we are going to dish up. Sometimes the effect of the blockchain as well as its possibilities can be a hard nut to crack. Our advice is: read, leaf back and reread, and consult sources that we refer to. Even if it fascinates you and you might consider your own form of innovation, always keep switching between effect and possibilities. As mentioned, both will be dealt with in this report.

Just imagine that with every transaction that you effect on the internet a notary should look over your shoulder to make sure that nothing is wrong. That would be a very costly affair indeed. But it is an entirely different matter if it could be computerized. What you have then, basically, is a possibility to do friction-free business, as the transaction is already structured to deal with the monitoring. This may well be the key to lots of new possibili- ties. Such a system exists. It is called blockchain, a strong chain without weak links offering a solution to numerous actual problems within the digital economy. In this report we outline the new possibilities.

You can download the complete report (in Dutch) over here. An English version will follow soon.

Big Data, Robots, Apocalypse and Profit Improvement

Image Credit: Appleseed movie (© Masamune Shirow/Seishinsha)

Image Credit: Appleseed movie (© Masamune Shirow/Seishinsha)

For years, I have been fascinated by the apocalyptical stories about computers and robots… and how they will steal jobs, replace ‘us’, improve themselves, rule the world, then eliminate “us,” etc. etc.!

Of course there has been few ‘stray incidents’, with some HFT bots missing the point and losing billions, a military robot going berserk and shooting bullets at friendly soldiers, a popular social network announcing a teen pregnancy, showing lack of diplomacy.

However, most of these so-called ‘fears’ have more to do with us than the technology itself. About us ‘engineers’, as we are not exactly law specialists but think that we can establish laws for such machines, instead of working with and understanding how law specialists function; about us ‘humans’ with existential doubts about our own relevance; and also, about us ‘citizens’, lost in the global / micro / macro economy. [Read more…]

DUTCH: Blockchain maakt roboteconomie mogelijk

Tijdens de nationale Bitcoindag presenteert het Verkenninginstituut Nieuwe Technologie (VINT) van Sogeti vandaag het derde rapport in de vierluik van trendrapporten over disruptie *. Dit nieuwste rapport heeft de titel ‘De sterkste schakel’. De trendwatchers van VINT schetsen de mogelijkheden Blockchain; een geheel nieuw platform, vergelijkbaar met het internet, dat zonder eigenaar in een volledig transparante opensource omgeving een ‘digitale toezichthouder’ is voor een alternatieve betrouwbare economie. De bitcoin munt is de eerste applicatie die al enige tijd op dit platform draait. Dit derde disruptierapport van VINT geeft inkijk in tal van nieuwe disruptieve innovaties die blockchain mogelijk maakt. Zo voorziet VINT dat robotorganisaties daarbij een belangrijke rol gaan spelen. Dit rapport wordt gepresenteerd tijdens de nationale bitcoindag.

Blockchain is een gedecentraliseerd volledig transparant systeem zonder eigenaar volledig ondersteund met geavanceerde cryptografie. “Waar in de traditionele economie ‘trusted parties’ als banken, notarissen en andere toezichthouders transacties controleren, gebeurt dat straks in de crypto-economie 3.0 door ‘digitale toezichthouder’ blockchain. Met de inzet van dit cryptoplatform ontstaat een zogenaamde frictieloze economie waarmee mensenwerk vervangen wordt door volledig geautomatiseerde processen. Dat kost minder geld en sluit zwakke schakels (single point of failures) uit,” zegt Menno van Doorn, directeur van VINT.


Het rapport beschrijft mogelijkheden van het blockchain platform in drie versies van de crypto-economie. In crypto-economie 1.0 staat de bitcoin munt centraal. Bij de beschrijving van crypto-economie 2.0 gaat het rapport in op toepassingen als slimme contracten en slimme producten waarmee het economisch verkeer wordt versoepeld. Of anders gezegd, verspilling wordt weggenomen. ‘De derde schakel’ geeft een diepere inkijk in crypto-economie 3.0. Daarin komen o.a. de robotorganisaties aan bod.

Een recent voorbeeld is de slimme W9000 wasmachine van Samsung die op blockchain opereert. Via microbetalingen worden volledig geautomatiseerd afspraken geregeld met onderhoudsmonteurs, of betalingen aan de energiemaatschappij gedaan. Zo kunnen slimme producten in de toekomst volledig zelfstandig opereren.

Volgens Menno van Doorn is blockchain zeker niet alleen van toepassing op de financiele sector. “Dit cryptoplatform heeft de potentie om alle facetten van onze samenleving radicaal te veranderen. Iedere organisatie heeft te maken met waardetransacties. Al deze bedrijven en instellingen kunnen blockchain disrupties verwachten in hun marktsegment. Het huidige bitcoinprotocol staat nog in de kinderschoenen zoals de internetprotocollen HTTP en SMTP dat destijds deden bij de introductie van het wereldwijde web. In tegenstelling tot de eerste dagen van het internet, heeft nu iedereen een supercomputer op zak met de smartphone. Daarmee zal digitale disruptie anno 2015 sneller gaan dan ooit.”

Het rapport kun je hier downloaden.

Pardon my Scrum-But

Scrum-ButAn organization may know that they have to do something different in order to meet their goals consistently. They have been told that Agile principles and Scrum can transform them into a highly efficient company, but transformation takes a lot of effort and commitment. And maybe, they have been told that unless they adopt the principles fully, they shouldn’t even begin.

I say, let’s start with a Scrum-But instead.

The Scrum-But is a transitional stage in an organization’s Agile transformation. It’s a way to describe how the organization is implementing Agile principles. For example: “We are doing Scrum, but we are still getting used to all the ceremonies.” or “We are doing Scrum, but our stakeholders and product owner are not participating fully yet.”

Transformation is not instantaneous; it requires commitment – the kind of commitment that was demonstrated by the explorers of the New World when they burned their boats after arriving, and said, “There’s no going back and only discovery ahead.” So, an Agile transformation is marked by the creation of the Scrum-But, when the organization commits and begins their journey. Progress is measured by how the Scrum-But shrinks. [Read more…]

I Will Not Fight the Future


You don’t always need to imitate to innovate

Leonardo_Design_for_a_Flying_Machine,_c__1488If we look at the history of invention, we would see that a lot of our innovations have been inspired from the actions of animals.

We learned to fly by examining / observing birds and other flying creatures. Leonardo Da Vinci started developing the design of a flying machine based on the shape/pattern of a bat’s wings. Recently, the US Army was working on a boat surface that’s similar to shark skins, in order to stop bio-fouling (caused by small sea creatures that get stuck to the sides of ships).  Also, a new adhesive based on how geckos grab the surface with their feet is under development.

As such, we see that quite a lot of innovations come from imitation, but that definitely doesn’t have to be the case always. [Read more…]

Mobile: IT changes everything

Converged Systems + Analytics = Transformation

Big data - 3d rendered illustration

Technology has always been about hardware and software. We’re coming out of a crucial, multidecade era during which enterprises focused on the two, separately. More recently, though, the importance of transformation—and especially reducing the time-to-value of new systems—is driving a return to thinking about deploying hardware and software together.

Enterprises accrue significant benefits when their IT departments increase their focus on transformation. It’s not just a question of protecting the digital enterprise through high-availability solutions or using powerful analytics to detect and manage security threats. It’s also the idea of empowering the data-driven organization—that is, one that harnesses digital assets and enables data-driven decision-making for higher levels of innovation. Transformation also has a place in enabling workplace productivity while making data and collaboration tools available anywhere, from any device, with no degradation in performance.

These efforts, done in concert, contribute to the transformation to a hybrid infrastructure, one that not only builds the foundation for on-demand capabilities, but also simplifies IT’s ability to both deliver applications and manage them, with easier methods for automation and analysis. [Read more…]

Computer Says No – Part 2

Last week the VINT conference 2015 took place in the Netherlands. About 750 guests attended the meeting. We have recorded all presentations of the keynote speakers. In the coming days their speeches will be published online.

Below you can find the next three presentations.

Gerard Doll, CIO RDW, “Consequenties van intelligent vervoer”

Roel Steenbergen, Innovatiemanager Rabobank, “Watson bij de Rabobank”

John van der Wens en Mark Boog,“Poetry in Motion”

The previous three keynotes can be found here.

Trust goes all the way

TrustThe effect of trust on Scrum teams

Trust is something that any work situation demands. However, it’s hard to find trust nowadays, as it has been replaced by ‘control’ in traditional work environments. Our business models, leadership principles and relationships at workplaces, usually, do not accommodate trust.

I’ll give you an example from my youth. As a young student, I got an evening job in a supermarket. I helped replenish the store’s in-shop inventory. One night, my supervisor accused me of stealing. He claimed to have seen me putting something into my pocket (later, it turned out to be my own watch that had slipped off my wrist while doing my job). This incident questioned my integrity in a big way. I felt scared of losing the job and my reputation; and my expectation of justice suffered a severe blow. Although, I was cleared by HQ later, the relationship with my supervisor was never the same. He never trusted me after that and I must admit, I could never trust his judgment either. [Read more…]

Land Rover Autonomous Car Technology

Land Rover is researching a new remote control technology that represents a stepping stone towards the fully autonomous car. It could be used by the driver to manoeuvre their car out of difficult situations safely or negotiate challenging terrain, whilst walking alongside the car at a maximum speed of 4mph. The Multi-Point Turn Range Rover Sport is also capable of autonomously manoeuvring through 180 degrees, with the system taking over gear selection, steering, braking and acceleration.

When is the DoD “Done”?

What do you think of “Definition of Done” items like “All source code has been reviewed” or “All user stories have been tested”? I think they are poor, to the point of being useless …

Not everybody agrees with me on that. Actually, these are real life examples, so there are entire Agile teams that disagree with me ;-).

Wrong Definition of DoneThe first time I questioned a DoD, phrased like this, I argued that ‘just doing something’ does not guarantee quality. What if the reviewer’s remarks are not followed up? What if the tests fail?

I very quickly found myself in a rather awkward discussion around ‘others’ knowing what was meant and ‘I’ did not and ‘others’ knowing and trusting each other and, again, ‘I’ did not. Basically, the discussion became very personal with an implicit undertone of “you don’t understand Agile.” It ended very unsatisfactorily and in a bad, almost hostile mood. [Read more…]

Microsoft Hololens and Minecraft

Outsourcing might be a bad idea!

Outsourcing issues

Image credit: (Scott Adams)

Many companies think that managing IT infrastructure and/or application is not their primary focus area. Those that consider it important, believe that it’s “cheaper” to outsource the Infrastructure / Application Management (IM/AM) jobs to some other company. It might even work well as long as they’re performing “business as usual” activities.

However, as everybody knows, the “business as usual” phase does not continue forever. IT infrastructure needs to be strengthened not only for tackling high volumes of customers, transactions, etc., but also for implementing system upgrades required to address functional issues or security concerns.

Now, you might wonder… where lies the problem? Outsourcing is not a new phenomenon really; and several companies have been doing it for quite some time! Actually, the problem arises when something new needs to be implemented. In an ideal situation, the customer knows both the process and the technical solution. However, in a worst-case scenario, they don’t have much information about either of these because the job was “outsourced to a trusted partner”. If we adopt the outsourcing approach, nobody wins. At the end of the day, the customer gets things, which are not working properly … and that too after the due/delivery date! This happens because the specifications could not be written in-house (by the customer) due to lack of adequate knowledge/information of the situation. [Read more…]

Computer Says No – Part 1

Last week the VINT conference 2015 took place in the Netherlands. About 750 guests attended the meeting. We have recorded all presentations of the keynote speakers. In the coming days their speeches will be published online.

Below you can find the first three presentations.

Opening by Menno van Doorn and Sander Duivestein

Pieter Jonker

Maurits Kaptein

Will Apple be mobilizing VR/AR?

Every single wave of VR/AR innovation and products has come only a small step closer to real mass adoption. Will the latest wave of self-contained mobile VR/AR (short history below), finally, provide the long-awaited breakthrough? Big players such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have already, publicly, entered the ‘arena.’ It seems the biggest tech company is missing in an alternate reality…

BIG players competition

Google, Microsoft and Facebook are all well aware of the possibilities and see a huge market for AR/VR. They are not about to miss the opportunity and are positioning their solutions for a big chunk of the pie. While Google is ‘jumping in’ with rich experiences accessible via YouTube and overlaying information with the temporarily-discontinued Glass, Facebook positions VR/AR as the next logical step after sharing text, photos and videos as sharing entire experiences and adventures. [Read more…]

Meet Holus: The Interactive Tabletop Holographic Display

Holus provides a blend between the digital and real world by converting any 2D digital content into a 3D holographic experience.

Watch my webinar on “How to work with Startups”

Click here to download the presentation.