Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

August 17, 2012  1:02 PM

The Internet of Things is already here — it’s eating grass right there out in the pasture

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“At first glance, the Internet of Things concept can appear as yet another vendor attempt to get end users to install more products they may not really need in the hopes of achieving some kind of business acceleration nirvana. In reality, it’s the end users who are driving vendors down this road to adopt an Internet of Things way of thinking.” — David Greenfield

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is Internet of Things, a scenario in which every single thing you can think of has a unique identifier and the ability to communicate over the Internet or a similar wide-area network (WAN).

The concept has been around for about ten years when it was first associated with RFID tags, bar codes and supply chain management. Today, IoT is a hot buzzword used in city planning, big data analytics, automobile manufacturing — and just about any other industry you can think of.

I get it. Internet of Things is another name for machine-to-machine (M2M) communicaiton. Pervasive computing.  “Smart” everything. It’s especially a hot topic for privacy advocates. They don’t like the idea one bit.

My smart car sends data to my phone to tell me I have half a tank of gas left. My smart electric meter can send usage data to the power company and my son will never get a job as a meter reader.

But I didn’t REALLY get the concept of Internet of Things until I saw a foal being born three months ago.

You see, this particular foal was bred to be a show horse.  Her birth required a lot of help from the Internet and this little filly is one of the “things” in the Internet of Things. She’s not a machine, she’s a real live horse. But her parents each have a unique identifier — she has a unique identifier  — and without the Internet, machine-to-machine communication and real-time analytics, she would never have been born.

The horse that just gave birth in the picture above is a brood mare — a surrogate.  The filly’s real mother is a show horse worth tens and tens of thousands of dollars.

The people who own the show horse wanted to breed her — but decided to have a surrogate carry the foal. Horses carry their  young for 11 months — that’s a year off the show circuit, which translates into a financial loss.  And if something went wrong during the pregnancy and the mare died, the owner would lose any chance for future income from the horse.   For similar risk-management reasons, the filly’s dad is a sperm donor.  Yep, show horses are an investment.

So far, this story is kind of “old school.”  The scenario above could have taken place on any horse breeding farm in the 1970’s.   The only technology involved is maybe a telephone.  There’s no Internet of Things.  It’s just another artificial insemination story. Yawn.

To paraphrase that old radio host Paul Harvey… “And now for the REST of the story.”

After the show mare’s owners decided to bred their award-winning mare, they needed to find a surrogate whose breeding cycle matched their own mare’s.

They used the Internet and a distributed database,  not a telephone, to find a compatible mare.  The information in the database is captured in real time from equine veterinary records around the world and the records contain real-time data sent by enhanced RFID chips implanted in the horses.

The brood mare just happened to be out in Wyoming running with a herd, so a helicopter equipped with an RFID scanner found her and separated her from the rest of the herd.

Then a vet in Wyoming used PACS and telepatholgy  to share images and other data with the vet in New York to make sure the mares were in sync — and the egg from the show horse in New York was removed and flown to Wyoming.  (The owners used another database registry on the Internet to search for the right sire.  His sperm was captured and also sent to Wyoming.)

Timing was everything and it couldn’t have happened without the Internet. The logistics were coordinated with the help of UPS so the egg and sperm would arrive at exactly the same time and the brood mare could be impregnated.

Once the vet in Wyoming determined there was a viable pregnancy, the brood mare was returned to her herd and monitored by the GPS in her chip and satellite imaging. Her vet monitored her remotely;  heart rate and temperature were just a mouse away.

Seven months later, the helicopter went out and culled the brood mare from the herd again so she could be flown to Ravena, New York, where the trainer took charge of the brood mare and awaited the foal’s  birth.Three months after that, the show horse’s filly was born, healthy and beautiful.

The filly was chipped with an even more enhanced RFID technology than her parents have.  When she grows up, she’ll have a tag on her halter that automates how much grain she receives.  Her water trough will know when it’s low and automatically refill itself.  Sensors in her stall will regulate the temperature by turning on fans or turning on the heat.  Her trainers can use desktop, iPad or iPad  apps to monitor the filly’s heath and report on whether she’s in a stall or out grazing in a pasture.

When I heard this whole story about the helicopter scanner using the mare’s RFID tag to locate the right horse, it finally clicked.  This filly, who is about the size of a llama now — and puts everything in her mouth just as every baby does — is a walking, grass-eating member of  the Internet of Things.  And if we humans work out the privacy issues that surround the concept, so will we be some day.

The filly doesn’t have a name yet.  I’m voting for IoT.

August 15, 2012  5:57 PM

802.11ac, otherwise known as Gigabit Wi-Fi

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“By the time the IEEE finalizes 802.11ac and its shorter-range sibling 802.11ad, max data rates will reach 7 Gbps—another order of magnitude..” — Lisa Phifer

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is 802.11ac,  also known as Gigabit Wi-Fi. It’s a proposed specification for the 802.11 family that promises faster throughput.

August 14, 2012  1:00 AM

Word of the Day: Nexus 7

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“The Google Nexus 7 is not only the first device to run the new Android 4.1, aka Jelly Bean, it’s also Google’s response to the Amazon Kindle Fire and the latest entry in the consumption/budget tablet market. ” — Grant Hatchimonji

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is Nexus 7,  a tablet PC developed jointly by Google and Asus. Two versions were released in July 2012:  the 8 GB (gigabytes) version sells for $199 and the 16 GB version sells for $249.

August 13, 2012  1:00 AM

Word of the Day: data recovery

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“When disaster strikes and you need to recover your environment, you need to be able to do so swiftly and with 100% success. There is no room for error and no option to redo it — you only have one shot at making it work…The solution has to be designed with the possibility in mind that the person executing the recovery is not the person who designed and/or implemented it.” — Ashish Nadkarni

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is data recovery, the process of restoring data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible for some reason.

August 10, 2012  12:48 PM

Word of the Day: iCrime, otherwise known as Apple picking

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
” After pressure from police departments, the wireless industry is moving to adopt a national registry system that would deny service to such devices. The idea is simple: When a smartphone is reported stolen, its ID number goes into a database. When another user tries to make a call or download data, the device pops up on the blacklist and the carrier denies service.” — Rolfe Winkler

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is iCrime (Apple picking).  According to New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly, 40% of the mobile devices stolen in NYC are made by Apple.


August 9, 2012  12:55 AM

NERC CIP standards protect North America’s bulk electric system

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Though nominally directed at “critical infrastructure,” the NERC CIP is all about management of cyber assets (IT infrastructure) — the systems that support the operation of the bulk electric system.”Scot Petersen

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is NERC CIP. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection plan is a set of 9 standards and 45 requirements designed to secure the assets required for operating North America’s bulk electric system.

August 7, 2012  10:09 PM

WhatIs.com Word of the Day: SIPOC diagram

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“The SIPOC is a key tool used in the Define phase of a [Six Sigma] DMAIC project. It provides clarity for the project team and stakeholders regarding the process boundaries, the customers for the process outputs, and the suppliers for the process inputs. ” — Heidi Wiesenfelder

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is SIPOC diagram, a tool for mapping a business process. Basically it’s five columns labeled suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers. You start in the middle with “process” and then work your way out, filling in the rest of the columns.  Once the diagram has been filled out, it helps everyone on the team to see the business process the same way from beginning to end.

See also: business process discoverybusiness process modeling

August 6, 2012  2:02 PM

WhatIs.com Word of the Day: project scope

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“In traditional project management, the project ends when the scope is complete. Success is determined by whether first, the scope is complete; and second and third, whether it’s completed on schedule and on budget…The agile method is flexible on scope, but holds schedule and budget constant.” — Joseph Flahiff

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is project scope, the part of project planning that involves determining — and documenting — a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines. During the project, this documentation helps the project team remain focused and on task. The scope statement also provides the project team with guidelines for making decisions about change requests during the project.

August 3, 2012  6:47 AM


Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“CloudSwitch, Racemi DynaCenter 4.0 and Citrix NetScaler Cloud Bridge are three tools that help move applications among clouds. These tools do not require modifications, and they allow applications to be managed as though they are still running in a private cloud.” — Bill Claybrook

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is Racemi, a data center software vendor that specializes incloud provisioning and cloud migration products.

August 2, 2012  10:48 PM

IT service catalog

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“As a service catalog is created, the CIO can start to see where the organization has redundancies, or if there are high-cost services with low demand that can be outsourced at a lower cost.” — Craig Symons

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is IT service catalog. An IT service catalog contains information about deliverables, prices, contact points and processes for requesting a service. Typically a catalog will have two views, a customer-facing view in which services are explained in plain English — and a technical view that documents exactly what is required to deliver each service in the catalog.

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