Hello and Welcome!

The purpose of this web site is to harness the many years of acquired knowledge concerning the design, implementation, integration, promotion, commercialization and operation of information technology (IT) platforms. Of course, this knowledge was not assimilated in a vacuum and the information technologies first implemented in London's financial market companies has evolved to be orders of magnitude more complex today than those of previous decades. Today's paradigm shift towards Cloud Services represents merely the latest inculcation in a ceaseless march towards an "Internet of Everything". This vast matrix of interconnection will bring a tsunami of change and information technology convergence over the next decades that will transform the lives of every consciousness on this small (as yet) insignificant rock of ours.
The infinity of complexity that is dawning before us requires a new approach within the information technology ecosystem and this site represents an attempt to isolate four small corners of that infinity and to relay as much materially useful information as possible in the hope that others can initiate, innovate and imaginate. Those core domains of focus are:

  • Cloud - providing all IT services from across a network or the Internet;
  • Gamification - integrating game techniques into applications;
  • Videogaming/MMOG - incorporating technologies from Massive Multiuser Online Gaming(MMOG);
  • Big Data & Analytics - handling yottabyte (and beyond) sizes of data.

Cloud

The growth in use of IT has been astounding over the past five decades. From the outset in the 1930s to 1960s it would have been clear to Alan Turing, John Von Newman, John Bardeen, William Shockley, Walter Brattain, John Presper Ekhert, John Mauchly, Federico Faggin and many others that computers would become vastly complex computational devices capable of helping governments and businesses streamline operations, develop deeper insights, improve experimental outcomes, etc. In the 1970s a pioneering movement emerged around the creation of the Personal Computer (PC) spearheaded by people such as Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and latterly the emergence of the home computer with inventors and innovators such as Sir Clive Sinclair, Hermann Hauser, and Christopher Curry. These inventions had an astounding impact on our societies. They were and are being eclipsed though:

  • First, by the introduction of the SmartPhone to the market, first in the guise of the Nokia Communicator, Kyocera 6035 and the Blackberry but more importantly was the introduction in June 2007 of the Apple iPhone which opened up possibilities far beyond the mundane email, calendar and messaging; and
  • Secondly, by the introduction of the tablet computer in April 2010 - the Apple iPAD which spawned a new era of personal computing and has grown in popularity almost exponentially.

What does this have to do with Cloud?

In a nutshell applications and processing. The growth in computing includes all type of computers whether large scale systems housed in enterprise data centers or handheld devices. The applications or workloads growth speaks for itself in July of 2014 there were 1.2 million apps available on the Apple App Store and 1.3 million on the Google Play Store. Sales of tablets and SmartPhones vastly outnumber those of PCs and Laptops. Here's some more idle thoughts to ponder on:

Internet Connected Devices CAGR%

11%

Percentage of Global Population Online

52%

The Incessant Growth of Google Searches (Trillions)

The Ubiquity of Commercial & Private Websites (Millions)

Each of these devices is driven by the insatiable desire of users to run apps of all kinds. This in turn drives the need for developers and service providers to emerge to fill this void. For instance, look at the enormous growth in Google searches since 2008!

Many emergent service providers realized that there was a growing need in the market for services related to these devices themselves. They noted that consumers were taking huge quantities of videos and pictures which they wanted to store in secure areas, others wanted to store documents and spread sheets, others to play online games with saved statuses, etc. This coupled with the emergence in businesses of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, sensors & actuators in almost everything, Building Management Systems (BMS), and many more areas has led to an exponential rise in the amount of computing and storage resources consumed globally. In an EMC study the prediction is for 7.9 Exabytes Per Day by 2015!

This rampant demand requires a new paradigm of computing to be developed which can scale to meet these ceaseless growth challenges. This is where Cloud Computing comes enters.

An Introduction to Cloud

This short paper builds on the introduction above to outline in more detail the essential characteristics of Cloud and the emergence of Cloud service models in particular Infrastructure- as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service(PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service(SaaS).

Read More

Cloud: Some Legal Considerations

This slide deck outlines some of the legal considerations you need to take into account when assessing a Cloud Service Provider. Areas such as supplier due diligence, contractual terms, data protection and interoperability.

Read More

Negotiating a Services Contract

This short presentation seeks to provide an outline of commercial negotiation and to present the Top Ten areas of focus for the services' negotiations. The aim is to provide help both parties avoid (or at least alleviate) deadlocked or protracted negotiations.

Read More

Gamification

By our very nature human beings engage in games of all types. We like games. We may not all like the same type or style of game but we as a species like games. Early archaeology has unearthed rudimentary dice as old as 3000BC in the Americas and elegantly carved board game pieces in Turkey from 2900BC, so clearly this penchant for games was alive and well many moons ago. More recently games were used by military tacticians to develop the skills of officer recruits from 1780 onward with Helwig then Von Reisswitz and the introduction of Kreigsspiel in the 19th century. Stepping forward in time, by 1956 businesses and the US Airforce utilised programmes such as Top Management Decision Simulation and the US military started to use a modified version of the computer game Doom in 1998. To this day both are stalwart supporters of the efficacy of computer games and gaming as part of military training.

In education by the 1960s the concept of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) was coined and this drill and practice approach matured over subsequent decades to become adventure formatted games with titles from Lucas Learning and The Learning Company. Research and revenues point to a decline in the Edutainment industry during the 1990s, perhaps in part due to the word "game" having and continuing to have a negative connotation. Nevertheless this is now to a degree rebounding, not least influenced by the ubiquity of handheld devices and is likely to see significant growth. An introduction to the more recent inculcations of gaming and in particular, from an IT perspective, the rise of the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) is provided on the MMOG pages of this website.

So what is Gamification?

The best evidence suggests that the term "gamification" joined our vernacular some time during 2004 but did not become popular as a word to describe the underlying concept until 2010. Clearly this section of the website is aligned to the study and investigation of "gamification" and if you've navigated to this area then there is a high probability that you are also interested in this concept. As one of the four areas of convergence it is contended that this concept is, and will continue, to drive a revolutionary shift in perception for business persons, politicians, educators, scholars, researchers, scientists and just about everyone over the coming decade. In short, it is about harnessing the hugely powerful human emotions and psychological phenomena evidenced in game playing to drive increased engagement, performance and productivity. At length, it is the application of game design, game methodologies, game approaches, and game mechanics to non-game situations for a multiplicity of purposes of, including but not limited to:

  • Customer engagement, development and retention;
  • Employee & student behaviour modification, development and productivity/performance improvement;
  • Brand building, enhancement, recognition, consistency and loyalty;
  • Channel & Partner commitment, incentivising and experience enrichment;
  • Government publicity, outreach and population re-enfranchisement.

An Introduction to Gamification

This short paper builds on the introduction above to outline in more detail the essential characteristics of Cloud and the emergence of Cloud service models in particular Infrastructure- as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service(PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service(SaaS).

Read More

Gamification 2.0: A Concept

Initially re-treading the concepts outlined in the introductory paper on Gamification, this paper builds on that foundation to postulate a theory for the next level of Gamification where our ability to utilize big data and analytics can be harnessed to gain deeper insights and ultimately monetize the motivations of players, customers and employees.

Read More

Massively Multiuser Online Gaming (MMOG)

Ever since I first waited the nearly twenty minutes for the tape load to finish and the opening screen to be revealed of "Elite" (Acornsoft 1984) on my Acorn Electron I have been hooked to strategy style games. The journey to today's MMOGs, X-Box, PlayStation, Wii, online and, latterly, mobile games has been an extraordinary story of market growth.

Even back then video gaming communities were mushrooming up all over Dublin with these new exciting monster machines arriving, first into corner shops and then as dedicated video arcades. I remember fondly those halcyon carefree afternoons spent at Dave 'O Flanagan's arcade in Malahide. Today's video games market has surpassed, by some order of magnitude, what I then considered to be the potential for these "time wasters" (as my Dad called them!). The global video games market is now estimated to be worth an incredible $70.4Bn.

This market has expanded rapidly not least because of the ubiquity of SmartPhone & Tablet devices and their ability to deliver gaming content. It is estimated that this mobile revolution has grown to represent just over 15% of all gaming with PC's, Consoles and Online being 10.5%, 39.5% and 35% respectively.

Global Market Revenues ~$81Bn

Global Markets - CAGR%

Global Market by Segment

First Doughnut: Latin America(LA)  Europe, Middle East & Africa(EMEA)  North America(NA)  Asia Pacific(AP) 

Second Doughnut: Games Consoles  Handheld Games  Mobile Games  PC Games 

Data: NewZoo and Gartner

So Why MMOG's?

It is clear that the video gaming industry is now a massive giant of economic progress and that games are ever increasing in their scale, complexity and beauty. Growing up in the depressed economic environment of the 1970s meant that there was little to do but watch TV, listen to the radio, and hang around on street corners causing consternation to those unfortunate homeowners (apologies!). The start of the 1980s saw inklings of light come through and by 1982 the BBC Micro had taken me and many of my friends by storm. Hot on its heel were the ZX Spectrum which provided colour graphics and Manic Miner. My real passion, though, remained Elite and in some ways Elite isn’t a bad place to begin with MMOGs.

There are inordinate quantities of great introductions to what an MMOG is, how it evolved from the earliest single-player games, through Multiuser Domains (MUDs), into Multiplayer Online Games (MOGs) and then into the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). For more on the specifics of its evolution:

As mentioned earlier Elite is probably not a bad place to start. This game had me trapped straight from the beginning. The notion that you could trade across the galaxy in legal or illegal goods, that you could have skirmishes with pirate space captains and you could work your way up to Elite status. You can still play this game today on Windows - Download from here

The point is that from this acorn (forgive the pun) came an oak and that while, from a programming perspective Elite was a mere minnow, the thought process, the storyline ambition, the conscious construction of an altered galaxy sized reality was (whether realised at the time) to be a step of enormous significance psychologically, sociologically and anthropologically. Pandora’s box was irreversibly opened!

The Emergence of MMOGs

So aside from the pure pleasure of playing these amazing games, the interest in MMOGs stems from its ceaseless, fundamental and obligatory need to be bleeding edge across all of the following (note: non-exhaustive list) domains of human knowledge:

  • Art & Graphic Design;
  • Economics ;
  • Psychology & Behavioural Science ;
  • Mathematics ;
  • Literature ;
  • Education ;
  • Sociology ;
  • Anthropology ;
  • Political Science ;
  • Monetization & Commercial Modeling ;
  • Law & Intellectual Property Rights .

And of course the Information Technologies knowledge to realise an outcome product:

  • Computer Graphics
  • Engine Architecture & Parallelism
  • Networking & Communications

Learn more about MMOGs

BigData & Analytics

Where on Earth to begin describing such a topic as BigData? That's probably one of the biggest early challenges in starting to trawl this subject. As subjects, even Cloud, MMOG and Gamification pale into insignificance when addressing the breadth and depth of complexity involved in BigData. Indeed we touched upon an element of BigData in Gamification (see Gamification 2.0: A Concept for more details) alluding to the fact that until the advent (in many cases the depth of this has yet to be achieved) of BigData we did not have the ability; in anything more than a rudimentary sense; to understand, contextualise and predict the behaviours of customers at all. The evolution of computing which was covered very briefly under the Cloud heading of this website brought with it a new age of innovative capabilities and efficiencies with first governments, then companies and latterly individuals the world over able to harness computer processing to drive better services and be more organised than ever before. The arrival recently of SmartPhones has now taken the individual element of this evolution to new heights with the millennial generation expectant of immediacy of knowledge or facts wherever they are at whatever time. Even as recently as 2010, some commentators even mused that we were living through a stagnant boring age. Now though, any thoughts such as these are all about to irrevocably and stupendously change. We are truly witnessing "The Beginning of Infinity".

So what is Big Data?

At the highest level of aggregation BigData can be viewed as comprising of five specific functions each of which requires careful design across the domains of people, process and technology. In the simplest terms those functions can be viewed as being:

Each of the five functions is described in much more detail by following the link below.

Learn more about Big Data & Analytics