I hereby make the case for a new term to describe our rich, IP network delivered, information flow – “Digital Fuel”.
Put simply, the wealth of digital information circling continually around the developed world could be classified as a fuel source utilised to drive everything from our social activity to the global economy. It now feeds the world, transported by IP networks and ensures we can consume the ever increasing volume of information created all the time, by everyone – everywhere.
But should it really be called fuel, what does it drive or power? In this IT centric day and age it may be easier to describe what “Digital Fuel” doesn’t drive over what it does. And if we loosely align the “Digital Fuel” term with its fossil equivalent, what do we really understand about it? How is “Digital Fuel” generated and who dominates the supply chain? In the fossil fuel arena, certain geographic regions or nation states play a key role – does such a regional dominance exist in the “Digital Fuel” arena? And closer to home, as you read this blog, where does your “Digital Fuel” originate from – where is it refined and processed – how is it secured / stored?
For the purpose of this blog the term “Digital Fuel” is used as a play on words, analogous to other “powered” system based ideologies or indeed realities – but in a pause for deep thought the term may ring truer than initially considered. As I sought to find additional insight to support the term “Digital Fuel” I located the following definition online in the midst of explanations aligning fuel with combustible fossil outcomes, Fuel -. something that nourishes or builds up emotion, action, etc.
Surely that definition resonates and could support the notion of “Digital Fuel” as information transported, realtime, all of the time by networks and now fundamental to our societal existence. But do you protect the pipelines or “networks” that deliver your “Digital Fuel” with the same level of diligence aligned with our fossil fuel pipelines – do you deem it part of your organisations “Essential critical infrastructure?”
If “Digital Fuel” really exists it raises serious questions of the use and importance of this fundamental and increasingly critical energy source. In too many circumstances the IP network readiness, design and deployment discussions are an afterthought usually well behind other more glamorous technology or business centric outcomes. BYOD, VDI, cloud computing, end user mobility, (I could continue) – all create, process and utilise “Digital Fuel”. But without a network fit for purpose, available and secure all of the time everywhere, the fuel delivery stops. And with it so do we….
If you seeking business change and need more fuel, it’s time to make the IP network readiness conversation your first one not your worst one. If not how will your “Digital Fuel”, fuel?
Until next time
The British are famous for being quite reserved, at times cynical and in the views of many not that good at celebrating success. However all of that changed a fortnight ago when London 2012 captivated the nation. In the worlds of Lord Coe “we did it right”, and how we did it right. But the countrywide euphoria and team GB success wasn’t the only high point, “the Network worked”.
I must admit that I hoped it would but still feared the worst. This was set to be the “Digital games” and at times I joined the many prophets of doom prior to the Olympics with forecasts of network slowdowns due to the volume of standard and high definition video expected across worldwide networks. But like “Y2K” and many of the previous “digital Armageddon’s” nothing untoward happened. The digital universe underpinned by the Internet and mobilised by the new wave of highly interactive mobile users, watched, snapped (digital photos), streamed (video, online content) and “shared” when they wanted to – how they wanted to. And the Network just “worked”.
The recent figures released from the BBC are compelling and surely throw down the gauntlet for the Olympics in Rio 2016.
55m (global) and 37m (UK) browsers to the BBC Sport site in total across the Games (with the previous record for a single day was 7.4m global and 5.7m UK). And the records continued to tumble with 106m overall requests for BBC Olympic video content, more than double seen for any previous events. And let’s not forget our “on the movers” with 34% of the daily users mobile browsers with 12m requests for video from mobiles. I cant end this BBC digital roundup without mentioning my daughters favourite, “the BBC Red Button” with 23.7m viewers to the 24 SD, HD and Freeview streams throughout the Games, and every single stream seeing at least 100,000 viewers.
This leads me to a recent enlightening meeting with Jeremy Wallis the UK CTO of Netapp with discussions of the pervasiveness of 10Gb Ethernet as an enabler of simple, high performance storage connectivity. Checking back to the BBC figures, 2.8 petabytes of content was requested across the Olympics, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold with over 700 Gb/s. This is a sounding cry for those who forget to place storage and the network hand in hand.
Away from the anecdotes the hard numbers highlight the “network” took everything thrown at it across the Olympics period and more and just delivered. It even endorsed a working approach we have dabbled with from the earliest network “connected” environments – remote home & teleworking. Who can forget those empty central London streets and congestion free trains and UK PLC on mass where possible “working from home” (ok, maybe the park on a tablet computer). The remote access and corporate connectivity platforms seamlessly handled not just the existing corporate remote worker pool but also the short term “Olympic home worker” pool without a hiccup – surely heralding a new dawn in organisational approaches to redress the work life balance.
And what now, do we applaud gleefully the magical performance of global networks and shrink back into the “old way” of doing things. I suggest not, as the digital template delivered and embraced for the 2012 Olympics has surely proved the network is not only here to stay but is now a fundamental part of who we are.
Maybe those 70s and 80s SciFi films weren’t that far off the mark after all.
Until next time