Nobody seems to think the Amazon Kindle Fire has a chance of succeeding in business.
InformationWeek thinks the Kindle's Android OS is both insecure, and un-securable via Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. CIO Insight dismissed the Kindle tablet's reliance on the cloud, while eWeek calls the Amazon brand too fundamentally consumer-y. Meanwhile, CIO magazine said the iPad's just got too commanding of a lead within enterprises.
Whoa. I just had the strongest feeling of deja vu wash over me. It's as if I read and heard these same exact opinions 22 months ago, except it was about the iPad vis-a-vis laptops (I might have even been guilty of writing some of it).
You know what they say: learn from history, or else you'll let it repeat itself.
I know that's not enough convince tech-savvy, logical readers like yourself. So here are five arguments for why the Kindle Fire will surprise enterprise skeptics:
1) Developers are coming! Like moths to a Fire, Android developers are being attracted to the Amazon tablet and making it their highest priority. 49% of North American developers are very interested in building for the Fire, according to an Appcelerator survey, ahead of second-place Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Some developers are no doubt attracted by things such as the Kindle Fire code becoming open-source. But most developers simply go where they think customers will be. That was the feedback loop that boosted the iPad. And it should boost the Fire and Android overall.
2) So are consumers. According to a accurate survey, 77% of tablets used in the enterprise are purchased and paid for by employees via Bring Your Own Device plans.
Consumers, in other words. Who by and large remain extremely price-sensitive. For the cost of equipping mom and dad with $499 iPads, one could equip the parents, two kids and even the family dog, too, with five $199 Kindle Fires.
This is why there are studies like Retrevo's that show more people planning to to buy a Kindle Fire than an iPad this Christmas. Or why DisplaySearch expects 6 million Fires to be shipped (versus 9-11 million iPads).
Expect millions of workers to start nagging their IT administrators in the New Year about when they can connect their Kindle Fires to the corporate network.
3) And so is IT. In an IBM-sponsored survey of 4,000 IT pros worldwide released last week, 70% said they plan to deploy apps for Android devices, versus 49% for iPhone and iPad, 35% for Windows 7, and 25% for BlackBerry.
On a more anecdotal level, I know two CIOs who have already started testing the Kindle Fire for internal use: SAP's Oliver Bussmann and Sybase's Jim Swartz. I have to believe that plenty of other CIOs are investigating Kindle Fires.
The reason is simple: consumer tablets are so inexpensive that they are the enterprise IT equivalent of a "disposable razor," according to Yankee Group analyst Eugene Signorini. And no mainstream tablet is less expensive than the Fire.
(Interested in seeing some Android enterprise tablet deployments today? Check out my list here)
4) Also, corporate e-mail support is here. Microsoft's Exchange email server dominates businesses, hands-down. And e-mail along with Web browsing remain core business uses for tablets.
Android may not offer native support - it's a Google product, remember? - but there are capable and secure third-party Exchange-friendly apps already available. NitroDesk, for instance, announced earlier this month that its TouchDown e-mail client app for the Kindle Fire was available.
5) The Zen of Minimalism. For IT managers, less can definitely be more when it comes to technology. How do you think on-board graphics became near-ubiquitous in desktop PCs? Because companies wanted anemic graphics so as not to encourage their employees to while away hours watching Netflix or playing Halo.
So the perverse upside of the Kindle Fire's 8 GB of storage and 512 MB of RAM - half of what the BlackBerry PlayBook has - means less data stored (and potentially lost), and fewer movies and games to be watched and played by procrastinating employees.
Similarly, the Kindle Fire's lack of 3G/4G connectivity means one less headache for IT administrators thinking about exorbitant data roaming charges from salesguys streaming movies in their overseas hotel room. The same goes for the inability of Kindle Fire owners to access the Android Market. Fewer apps, sure, but also much less exposure to malware.
Time for a quick commercial: Sybase, an SAP Company, has just released a new book,Mobility Manifesto: Transforming the Enterprise, for which I was the editor.
You can obtain it at www.MobilityManifesto.com.Expect a mix of snarky observations about the plight of mobility-starved workers, possibly like yourselves.
Mixed in also is helpful business strategy and actionable IT tactics. All with a minimum of shilling for Sybase and SAP products.
You could even send a copy of the book or e-book to your boss or CIO. It’s easier than Occupying his or her office, and may turn out to be just as effective.
Anti-virus software ranks high in my book of 'cures' that are worse than the disease. Sure, AV software can do a good job of blocking crash-inducing, bank-account-emptying malware. But it's always been such a drag on my PC's performance that it might as well have been infected, you know what I mean?
So count me among those people who would love to wave buh-bye to anti-virus software. Unfortunately, I can't completely buy Forbes' Andy Greenberg's argument that cloud-centric mobile devices like Google's ChromeBook are a "death knell" for anti-virus software.
Even with the reported 400% rise in Android malware in the last 9 months, there are still far fewer trojans, viruses, scripts, etc. on mobile devices.
Which is why only the most paranoid consumers today bother to get anti-virus software for their phone or tablet.I don't see that changing.
It's a different story for businesses, which have to be more security-conscious. I can see some of them getting antivirus software to protect company-issued tablets and phones, but usually as a component of their overall mobile device management software. For example, Afaria, from my employer Sybase, can come configured with both anti-virus and firewall components.
As demand for standalone anti-virus software wanes in the post-PC era, the need for securing and managing devices rises greatly.
Not a lot of data is stored on mobile devices today. But as devices get smarter and apps more sophisticated, they inevitably will. Not everything is going to the cloud/Web. For instance: contrary to Google's claims that the ChromeBook is a Web-only notebook, the company has said it will release an SDK for developing local apps.
That local data still needs to be encrypted and protected by strong passwords. These security policies need to be centrally enforced. App and OS vulnerabilities need to be patched automatically over-the-air. These are things that can be done, and done well, using MDM software.
That's why Disney is thinking about getting Afaria to secure the multiple thousands of iPhones and iPads used by its employees.
Demand for MDM software is why Gartner debuted an MDM Magic Quadrant this year. Afaria was one of the leaders. You can obtain the full report here. Afaria had already been the market leader for 9 straight years, according to IDC.
Now for something semi-different: today, Friday May 13 is World Enterprise Mobility Day. So proclaimed my pal Philippe Winthrop over at the Enterprise Mobility Foundation.
As fake holidays go, this is at least no worse than Odometer Day (May 12) or Mailman Food Drive Day (May 14). So celebrate it by giving your mobile administrator or enterprise developer a hug, or heading out of the office to knock out some e-mails at your local Peet's coffeeshop, or working ONLY using your tablet and smartphone today. Or tweet your support with the hashtag #WEMD.
InfoQ spoke to SEAM creator Gavin King (who is also speaking at the QCon conference in London in March) to go indepth on the new release and what matters. For more background context, see also InfoQ's Seam 1.0: Rethinking web application architectures coverage.
Gavin talked about what's new and cool in SEAM 1.1 from his perspective:
SEAM developer Michael Yuan also blogged more about SEAMs POJO component model (an alternative to EJB), eliminating the appserver dependency.
First, platform support. Seam 1.0 was extremely well received in the JBoss community and has been adopted by lots of JBoss users and also by quite a number of people who use Seam with Hibernate on Tomcat. There are also a few people using Seam on GlassFish today. But there were some teething problems on GlassFish, and it just plain didn't work on J2EE environments like WebLogic. We heard a huge amount of feedback that people wanted to use Seam, but couldn't because they were stuck on an application server that did not yet support EJB 3.0.
So, Ram Venkataraman (one of the product managers at JBoss) called me up and knocked some sense into my stubborn head. I was arguing that EJB 3.0 integration was a central part of the vision and that we would look confused and silly if we started to back off of that. He finally said "you know as well as I do that Seam works anywhere!". Well, that was not quite true then, but it is true now. You can even run it on WebSphere.
Second is the new concurrency model. With the death of the old paradigm of coarse-grained synchronous request/response, the assumption that concurrent requests in the same session are very rare is totally turned on its head. It's now absolutely essential to have strong constructs for managing session-level concurrency.
Third is the integration of ICEfaces and Ajax4JSF. Seam is the killer platform for Ajax. Without a conversation model, Ajax can't possibly scale. Most people don't realize this yet. If all those little fine-grained requests have to hit the database each time, you are in trouble. You need to have contextual state cached on the server, either in memory or on local disk.
Fourth, James Williams (one of the SEs at JBoss) has got Rails envy and wanted us to have a commandline tool. Much earlier on, I had put together an Eclipse-based reverse engineering tool using Hibernate Tools that could create a Seam application from an existing database, but I was never really happy with it. The generated code was over-complex and we did a bad job of keeping it up to date with Seam releases. So, I put together a simple application framework (think of it as a DAO framework if you like), James built a Grails-style commandline tool using Ant, and we merged the code into the main Seam distribution. It's now super-simple to get started with Seam, create a project, create some simple actions, reverse engineer an application from the database.
There are too many other new things to list. Asynchronous methods, an enhanced XML configuration format, atomic conversations, features for building RESTful applications, much more.
Asked about Atomic conversations, Gavin explained:
SEAM also improved it's clustering abilities for developers building apps using POJOs:
An atomic conversation is basically a conversation where you can make changes to your persistent objects over many requests to the server, but those changes only become persistent when the conversation ends (or at some other well-defined point). This is a really common thing to want to do in Ajax-based applications.
The first thing to consider is that it only works with Hibernate. We fought really hard to get this functionality into the EJB 3.0 spec, along with Sun, Sybase and others. Some other members of the expert group decided they didn't like this stuff or were scared of it because they didn't quite understand it completely and they blocked it, and that is a real loss to the community. Hibernate offers this feature as an extension to the spec. Seam 1.1 supports this in its conversation model, but only when Hibernate is the underlying JPA provider.
On the new concurrency model in Seam:
The most important thing is that Seam-managed persistence contexts (these are conversation-scoped persistence contexts) can be clustered extremely efficiently, without the need for a lot of state replication. We can actually do this more efficiently than the EJB container can cluster extended persistence contexts, because the EJB3 spec requires certain behaviors that it probably doesn't need to require (we will try to get this changed in the next rev of the spec).
If you're already using EJB stateful session beans, not much else is new in the clustering model. But if you aren't using EJB, you don't have stateful session beans, and you have not traditionally had good constructs for holding state across requests in a clustered environment. But we wanted people stuck on J2EE application servers to be able to use Seam! This meant that we had to really work on a model which would support efficient clustering of plain JavaBean components, for people who couldn't use stateful session beans. So now we have a solution which is not quite as efficient as SFSBs in JBoss, but at least can be used anywhere
Gavin told InfoQ that Seam has been well adopted within the JBoss community and is recieving over 5000 downloads a month. One reason it never got far out of the JBoss community is because Java EE 5 support is not yet widely available across the appserver ecosystem, which is why the EJB 3 dependency was made optional in Seam 1.1. Gavin compared Seam's current maturity and community as the early days of Hibernate, except that:
The most important element of it is that Seam serializes the processing of all requests that take place in the same long-running conversation context, on the same machine. We also provide robust constructs for serializing access to components that have a scope larger than a conversation (eg. session scope). Note that Java synchronized keyword does not count as robust since it has no deadlock detection.
Talking abut specific interesting customer use cases, Gavin mentioned Lexicon Genetics, a life sciences company who built a workflow management system Seam and JBPM for managing the lifecycle of batches of mice used as test subjects. Another example is Nuxeo 5 who migrated their popular content management product from Python & Zope Java with Seam (see InfoQ coverage). "Their comment was that Seam helped them get their new platform up and running in just a few months. These were guys who were coming from a Python/Zope background, they were used to a highly productive environment. So don't let anyone tell you that enterprise Java can't be productive. A lot has changed in the past 18 months."
What is completely different about Seam is that people have started to build really serious and interesting large-scale applications with it, right off the blocks, because for certain types of requirements you almost can't live without it. If you're using jBPM for business process management in a web application, you're crazy to not use Seam. If you already use EJB 3.0 and JSF, Seam will simplify your life so much that you would be silly to not use it. If you want to build an Ajaxified JSF application using ICEfaces or Ajax4JSF, you will run into all kinds of performance and concurrency problems if you don't use Seam. And there is simply no comparable alternative solution for any of these cases, apart from build-it-yourself.
Gavin acknowledged that "the riskiest bet we made with Seam was picking JSF for the view layer," particularly considering the poor adoption and perception it had in the community at the time. JSF had no clear Ajax strategy and had some missing features Seam had to find workarounds for. However, looking back Gavin explained how the choice to use JSF worked out for the better:
Gavin also clarified the difference between Seam and the Web Beans (JSR 299). Web Beans is a JSR to formalize some of the same ideas that were implemented in Seam into the JCP standards. JBoss will provide the RI for Web Beans, based on the Seam codebase. "It's much too early to say how similar the final specification will be to what you see in Seam today."
The bet paid off. JSF created an ecosystem of quality addons like Facelets, ICEfaces, Trinidad, Ajax4JSF, RCFaces, Seam, XULFaces, etc. A lot of this stuff is starting to get really mature and the various projects are talking to each other and trying to make sure everyone works smoothly together. This is exactly why you need standards. Without the JSF standard I would have had to have built JSF, Facelets, ICEFaces and Seam from scratch by myself. This would have taken a really long time. That's exactly why there is no comparable ecosystem for any of the other web frameworks out there. So JSF has leapfrogged the competition in the past year. The accurate opensourcing of ICEfaces ups the ante again.
Future versions of Seam will focus on Seam/Security and Seam/WS:
Seam/Security is a dynamic ACL-based security model for Seam that Shane Bryzak is building on top of Drools. Today, Java EE security is a disaster, and one of the weakest links in the platform (along with the truly atrocious Servlet spec)."
Seam/WS brings Seam's conversation, orchestration and stateful component model to SOA. You'll be able to write stateful components that take part in a Web Services conversation, and orchestrate the conversation using jBPM. Of course you'll get all the same nice Seam functionality that people love so much using Seam for web applications.
Today in Tech
Automation Anywhere appoints Rob Ferguson as chief revenue officer to help customers embrace a digital workforce
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Automation Anywhere, a global leader in intelligent automation, today announced the appointment of Rob Ferguson as chief revenue officer to empower organizations to build and succeed with a digital workforce.
Effective July 1, Ferguson will be responsible for leading global sales working closely some of the world's largest customer and partner organizations to fully leverage automation and digital workers.
He joins Automation Anywhere from Salesforce where he has served for more than a decade in senior sales leadership roles managing North America and global go-to-market organizations focused on helping customers achieve their digital transformation objectives. Prior to Salesforce, he spent seven years at Oracle leading strategic accounts and held senior sales roles at Sybase and PTC.
Automation Anywhere's mission is to help every company build a digital workforce and succeed with automation so people and teams can focus on what they do best: collaborate, create, and grow the business. With the increased demand for digital workers, as organizations acknowledge the need to offload tasks and automate processes so they can focus on innovation, Ferguson's experience will help accelerate business transformation and help to scale the digital workforces of some of the world's largest enterprises.
"The promise of automation is to empower every team and every employee with more time to solve problems, build relationships, and drive business success," said Mihir Shukla, CEO and co-Founder, Automation Anywhere. "Rob is joining Automation Anywhere at a pivotal moment when automation and digital workers have become core to business transformation, and he will be the change agent to help companies transform the way they work."
"I am thrilled to join Automation Anywhere to enable more organizations to embrace the transformation to a digital workforce in response to shifting market challenges," said Ferguson. "I'm excited to have a front-row seat to one of the most transformative disruptions in technology, and to expand our leadership position in this space by helping our customers be wildly successful."
Interact with Automation Anywhere:
About Automation Anywhere
Automation Anywhere is the No. 1 cloud automation platform, delivering automation and process intelligence solutions across all industries globally to automate end-to-end business processes for the fastest path to enterprise transformation. The company offers the world's only cloud-native platform combining RPA, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to automate repetitive tasks and build enterprise agility, freeing up humans to pivot to the next big idea and build deeper customer relationships that drive business growth. For additional information, visit www.automationanywhere.com.
Automation Anywhere is a registered trademark/service mark of Automation Anywhere, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
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SOURCE Automation Anywhere