Click here to close now.


@ThingsExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, AppDynamics Blog, Pat Romanski, Sanjay Zalavadia

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Creativity and Design Meets Real-World Mobile App Development

We strive to offer the next generational wave of services that are generationally symbiotic with our populace

My colleague Peter Rogers shares how his team is developing strategies for merging creative forces with real-world projects and delivering rapid beta products. This is a big challenge as many of you know! Enjoy!

In this article I will introduce the following:

  1. The concept of ‘Creativity meets Technology'
  2. A new form of resourcing which combines education with recruitment
  3. The next generation of web application development
  4. The relevance to iOS 8 development
  5. An example of service design being used to help companies harness their workforce

I begin with the following question: What happens when Creativity meets Technology? Studio 13 is Cognizant's Beta Studio. Our strategy is to start with Service Design and build-up from there to offer actualisations of creative visions. We apply the following:

  1. Technology
  2. Creativity
  3. Deep understanding of people

We strive to offer the next generational wave of services that are generationally symbiotic with our populace. What does that mean? It means rather than just designing creative visions, we want to back them up with a technological blueprint which is achievable today, and then offer some level of future proofing.

The technology component is of critical importance. By considering technology as a parallel to creativity it takes us beyond a Service Design Studio and gives us the power to bring Beta products to market quickly and efficiently with a carefully defined handover point to the massive scalability of a traditional consultancy. It makes us a Beta Studio with the scalability of a consultancy and that is our ultimate goal.

The more time I spend in technology though, the more I realise I should be spending time thinking about people. A digital transformation can only be successful if the people come along on that journey. Too many times we suggest a new technology without asking the developers. The impact of technology on people is as important as the technology itself.

With Google Glass finally launching in the UK we will see the challenges with the law in regards to driving a vehicle while potentially distracted, potentially recording a film in a cinema and spying on people in public places. The way people react to this technology is probably the most important aspect of wearable technology and certainly Steve Mann devoted a large portion of his time to the sociological aspects.

Let me share my recent experience. We opened a Nearshore Centre in Europe.  We started by hiring, training and on-boarding students. It took three months for them to be ready to work for a world class financial institution. I have long complained about the merits of resourcing methodologies, so why not hire the people fresh from an area of large unemployment, personally train them and then arrange for commercial experience to follow. Of course we needed to filter the students for aptitude to learn and English skills, and most importantly to get customer buy-in upfront. We chose a location where students were hungry for work and looking to prove their skills in the real-world.  The added bonus here is that we were able to also solve unemployment challenges and provide these young adults a chance to kickstart their career.

This sounds difficult and it is. First, we needed a University, of which we found a suitable location and acquired a floor to build lecture theatres and secure network connectivity to the customer. Second we needed eager students which took a lot of filtering and a dedicated customer buy-in session from one of the University halls. Third we needed a teacher, and this is where I came in. I did not want to teach the team in the local language, as the end customer was in a different country and spoke a different language. Luckily my wife is Czech and I speak none of the language, so I constantly find myself communicating in near telepathic and body linguistics to get my point across. This three-point plan was enough to open a Nearshore Centre where we successfully trained and employed our first batch of students.

What was I teaching the students? The next generation of web frameworks - Web 3.0. Web 3.0 brings us governance. Gone are the days of fly-by-night JQuery Web Apps consisting of 10,000 lines of code inside a single function. The decade of 'Write an App in 30 seconds' long expired its sell by date and in its place a generation burnt by the promises of yesteryear and eager to consider what happens in the next 6 months of a project. Life cycle management is the new 30 second app. Of course you cannot trust people to actually do governance these days as most people will just self-govern and who governs the governor? The answer is simple, choose a framework which has governance built into it.

We selected Angular because it was supported by Google, open source and most importantly built to support Test Driven Development. It clearly learnt from the past. originally didn't want to support Angular but now it has the largest activity because they listened to the community and are working on delivering what they wanted. Angular offers governance through its very DNA. It does not stop there though, we wanted to use CoffeeScript which is a far more intelligent scripting language than JavaScript and that easily compiles into it. Most importantly it produces one output which is the very best JavaScript that can be produced. It Lints as it goes along and throw in Strict Mode and the resultant JavaScript is even stronger.

We used a next generational workflow using technologies like Jade, Compass, Jasmine and the philosophies of Test Driven Development and Continual Integration.

We also introduced the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express, Angular and Node) which allowed us to use MongoDB as a Service offerings (like MongoLab) in combination with JSFiddle. This in turn allowed us to prototype, teach from code examples and share code snippets. In means that the students can start programming from day one without having to set up dedicated environments.

I believe this is the most reliable and future proof web development stack. This is what I am currently teaching at the micro-University. The most important aspect here is the people. Training is not easy. Training in a locale with a different language and a populace of mostly graduates possessing a general lack of cutting edge commercial experience, is even harder. If it works then we have a new form of combined resourcing, recruitment and education which is ready for the next decade of staffing requirements. I give this the handle of 'Edu-cruitment' which is the combination of education and recruitment which focuses largely on the people aspect.

On the last day of the course Apple announced Swift for iOS 8.  Whilst a million Objective-C programmers shed a silent (and not so silent) tear, a whole new batch of hungry students were born overnight. Of course on flicking through a few Swift guides it became abundantly clear that Apple's plan was to lower the point of enter for App developers. This appears to involve taking a strong steer from ECMAScript 6 and CoffeeScript. After teaching both the languages for many weeks then I felt far more confident that I could pick up Swift and even teach the language, than I could pick up C# as a professional Java developer.

How does service design relate to enterprise mobility? Well this is where Studio 13 is offering their first product, an Assessment App called Kuwiz. This enables you to assess the capabilities of your staff at varying levels of engagement. We want companies to be able to find the right skills from their workforce. Everyone is tired of the "we have 5000 C# developers" only to find there is one guy who once read a book on C# but got eaten by a bear last year. If you can accurately assess the skills that your company already has at its disposal then this gives you the power to tackle any problem without always resorting to hiring contractors.

Often that Chinese translator you were looking for is one desk behind you in London and really you don't have 5000 C# developers at all and so it is really time to start hiring. It also gives staff the capability of assessing themselves and seeing in which direction they want to take their careers.

Identifying potential at an early stage makes career planning far easier for companies and this is traditionally a big challenge in the IT space. The mobility aspect gives you the chance to push assessments out to your workforce and to socially collaborate with them in real-time. It becomes far more than just a limited desktop based exam that nobody really wants to take. Mobility allows you to bring the assessment to the people, rather than the people to the assessment. People will generally only do things if they are enjoyable and that is where the limitations of traditional assessment falls flat.

Studio 13 wants to help the world solve problems and this comes from a deep desire to listen to what customers are saying. It wants to offer not just an unattainable creative vision, but one that is deliverable through the carefully considered application of next generation technology - and that also takes into account the wider impact on the people involved.

Maybe the combination of creative, technology and people will cause the Universe to explode, but if it does then I feel the Universe was somehow broken in the first place.

"Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning."  [Matthew McConaughey , True Detective]



Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Browse the Mobile Solution Directory
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....