SMH – Bolder, coherent and cool: the new SAP?

I’ve been writing about the German enterprise software company SAP for as long as I’ve been writing articles about the technology industry – a good 18 years now. In that time SAP has built a reputation for being solid and reliable, but also somewhat clunky and inflexible.

Recently however the company seems to have learned a lesson from more nimble peers such as Amazon and Google, embracing a culture of innovation to drive it back into the game where some had written it off. And while SAP is still struggling to assert an offering in cloud computing, it is moving in the right direction.

In any technology revolution there are two kinds of winners – those who grow up in the new paradigm (sorry, gratuitous use of a buzzword there) and those that adapt to it. As we shift further to broad adoption of cloud computing, SAP is certainly striving to the latter kind of company, and you can read more about its transformation in this story for the Sydney Morning Herald’s IT Pro website.

SMH – Health in the third dimension

3D virtual reality has long held promise as a new medium for interaction, but outside of the world of gaming few implementations have delivered strong results. That all appears set to change however as 3D makes a strong comeback in the world of simulated training, and Australian companies including VastPark and Simmersion are poised to cash in.

In this story for the Sydney Morning Herald’s IT Pro site I had a chance to look at two implementations of 3D in training in the health sector, and it seems that these are only the tip of the iceberg.

As broadband speeds improve and processing power gets cheaper, you can expect further developments that will see the virtual environment begin to more closely mirror the the real.

ABC – NBN: Broadband’s rural 7 per cent – out of range, out of mind

Travel a few tens of kilometres outside of a major population centre in Australia and you get a very different picture of the importance of broadband. It’s a perspective that few city dwellers seem to consider.

What’s even more rarely considered however is that even with the deployment of the National Broadband Network – which is in itself a significant booster of rural broadband – the gap between what city dweller and country residents will experience will grow even wider. And it is arguable that, as isolated as many of Australia’s regional residents are, access to high speed broadband for them is even more important.

Recently I had the opportunity to deliver a series of presentations on the digital economy to residents of Western Queensland, as a guest of RAPAD. I’ve tried to capture the essence of what I learned in this column for the ABC.

SMH – 3D world takes shape

For the past year I’ve been fascinated with 3D printing. The ability to create a solid object on demand in minutes is probably the closest we are going to come for some time to StarĀ  Trek’s transporters, but its potential is only just starting to be realised.

While 3D printing has enormous potential in the manufacturing sector, it is also poised to wreak chaos on the design community. Pirate design files can already be found online, enabling you to print your own designer jewellery, figurines, and other copyrighted items. Indeed, despite the best intention of 3D printing companies, as prices of printers come down and quality rises, the design industry could find itself victim of similar acts of piracy as those that hit the music industry over a decade ago.

But we are a long way from that scenario today, and right now 3D printing presents a wealth of opportunities, which I explore in this article for various Fairfax publications.

Bit.com.au – Is the NBN your big business opportunity?

Australia’s evolution towards becoming a high-speed broadband society will bring disruption for a wide range of sectors and jobs. But will also bring a huge range of new opportunities. So how can business take advantage of the new network?

It turns out that while the NBN will be many years away for a lot of small Australian businesses, there is still plenty they can do today to capitalise on what is already there, and put themselves in the best position for what is to come, as I try to show in this article for the recently launched Bit.com.au site.