Do we really own the rights to Privacy and Security relating to the data stored about us?

PrivacyThe surge in data growth through the convergence of technologies is mind blowing. The enablement of Wi-Fi, mobility services, online digital social interaction, cloud services, and information in general being created digitally instead of paper has knock on effects in our physical world around privacy and security of the data stored about us.  (Mellink 2013

  • Some figures predict a 10 to 50 fold growth of the digital data world from 2010 until 2020 this is driven by the transformation of our lives and the world we live in. (EMC Corp 2014)

Privacy and Security concerns come hand in hand with the explosion of the new information age and the availability of data. Some of the areas that have particular focus are: medical records, credit and financial, consumer and our personal or social information such as photos. Medical Industry and Medical Records:

  • The medical industry collects information at every interaction this information about you can now be captured and stored in an Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The privacy and security comes about how that data is stored, used, is it given to insurance companies, do family members have access to the information, what happens if a screen with a patients information is visible to others and what if diagnoses are incorrectly recorded and communicated and how does this information get changed. (NitroSecuirty FairWarning)
  • You might be surprised that once in the EMR system the Doctor or Organisation becomes the custodian of the data.  (Potarazu 2013)

Financial and Credit Information:

  • The safeguarding of you privacy and security of your data in the USA as an example is regulated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) but this is limited to the ability to opt out of sharing information onward with other 3rd parties or outside companies. (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 2013)
  • Privacy is dependent on the privacy notice sent to the customer and has to be sent out at least once a year. The data belongs to the financial organisation and you have rights to object to in accurate information. The GLB act only applies to individual consumers and does not cover business accounts or information. (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 2013)


  • Store loyalty cards might seem a great idea but you sign the rights away for the profile information that is collected to the organisation running the card. These companies are entitled to use that information as there business possibly selling it on to 3rd parties our using it to sell you other products and services. (Beckett 2014)

Personal, Cloud and Social Media:

  • Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook have all come under fire for allowing data to be viewed or accessed by 3rd parties. (Sangani 2010)Privacy policies have not been tight enough in the past. The data for example on Facebook is also owned jointly by you and Facebook, Facebook owns any IP you give it because you gave it permission via the Facebook statement of rights and responsibilities. (Facebook 2013). Security is focused around the user protecting the data and access as much as possible themselves.

Summary / Conclusions

proswpika_dedomena_437899392Analysts IDC estimate that only 20% of the digital world has protections around privacy and security and the level of protection varies globally, there is also much less protection in emerging markets. (Gantz and Reinsel 2012). The data and information is always owned solely by yourself when it is under your control and until you let it out to a third party. In the new digital world data privacy and security understanding is lagging behind the adoption and use. Information on how companies protect your privacy and security is varied and tends to be in the small print of privacy and security statements. When you have given over your data to a 3rd party in most instances the data is now owned by the 3rd party that is custodian of the data, you might have the rights to obtain a copy of what they hold and adjust in accuracies but not the rights for them to copy or use the data for their business purposes. (Pentland 2014). There is only one way to keep your information private and secure and that is not to share it in the first place, but is that really possible in the connected world we live in today, realistically probably not but could we change the model now?


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Autonomous (intelligent) software agents

Artificial Intelligence (AI) that incorporates Autonomous (Intelligent) Software Agents are being exploited more and more to resolve complicated challenges. The applicability of these solutions bring some benefits however, based on current focussed research trends and limitations associated, the opportunity and possibilities that this technology brings has not yet been fully realised. To look at this further we need to break down and understand the basic definition of what AI autonomous intelligent software agents are.

  • An AI autonomous intelligent software agents is anything that humans create that is capable of executing an activity based on information it perceives, (Carnegie Mellon University 2012) based on previous experiences and lastly is has to be autonomous to perform functions and make decisions how to execute the tasks it is asked to perform on its own.  (Brookshear, Smith and Brylow 2012)

AI                        (Terziyan) Some of the current trend areas of focus and applicability for AI autonomous intelligent software agents are:

  • Simulation of interaction’s and flows: Simulating environment usage, Film making, Digital animation or Video Gaming – Multi Agent Simulation System in Virtual Environment (MASSIVE) is the ability to use intelligent agents as crowds, oppositions, or movement simulations around buildings or roads. (MASSIVE Simulating Life 2011) such films as iRobot, Avatar have used (MASSIVE Simulaing Life 2013)  (Georgge 2009)
  • Interaction, Information retrieval, management and diagnosis: Agents that can communicate and create natural language speech responses, hypothesis generation, and evidence-based learning outcomes such as IBM Watson that is being used in healthcare diagnoses (Shacklett 2014)
  • E-Commerce platforms: Agents can be used in auction or buying sites such as amazon, ebay. Consumers can also use agents to shop for them, automated negotiations and decision-making. (Dignum et al. 2002)
  • Business process function management and planning: Planning or managing functions based on patterns of information such as scheduling on mass transportation systems. Scheduling or route planning of trains on the London Underground or analysis station patterns of movement. (Basra et al. 2005) (Skobelev 2011)

Some benefits of AI autonomous intelligent software agents based on the focus areas above can include:

  • Decentralisation of the tasks to agents allows each agent to execute tasks at their most reliable manner as they are able to. The agents are not tied to centralised system that will allocate and execute tasks as needed.
  • The capability to interact and connect to multiple systems and take feeds and react to information
  • Agents can become part of a large problem solving model by interacting with other agents

Some limitations of AI autonomous intelligent software agents:

  • Agents as stated are artificial creations that execute tasks assigned to them without doing anything greater than or less than the predefined task assigned.
  • Agents require input sensors to gather data, the more inputs the better the action can be defined and generate better outcomes. If inputs were limited the tasks can only be carried out based on simplest logic of the sensors available this could be limiting factor and could create errors. I.e. not creating enough complexity of the problem results in less complex answers. (Carnegie Mellon University 2012)

Example would be using IBM Watson as a doctor and only allowing it take inputs via speech. In this case if a patient had a chest infection and the patient said to IBM Watson “I have a temperature”, IBM Watson doesn’t have the ability to check the breathing of the patient’s chest that a regular doctor might have the result therefore from IBM Watson could be a wrong diagnosis to the patient “you have flu” instead of the a chest infection. (Shacklett 2014)

Developing technology such as Intelligent Software Agents isn’t easy and not that cheap to do, but over the past years this industry has grown significantly. Once they have been created though training an agent or creating groups of agents doesn’t need a very high level of skill. (MASSIVE Simulaing Life 2013) Therefore because of this companies have to see a business reason for using the technology to get a return on their investment. Software agents are in are actually more normal than we really think about.

  • Personal Assistants: Self-Contained systems that really look after that scheduling, organising and optimize people’s tasks. (Moraitakis 1997) (Salden 2013)
  • Visitor Hosting Systems: Carnegie Mellon University has a Visitor Hosting System. This system looks after events participated in by visitors at a site, and are organizes and coordinates through the cooperation of local agents with the visitors’ personal agents. (SYCARA and ZENG 1998)
  • Data Mining: This field is one of the fastest-evolving (as we read about Google and Facebook buying in to this technology) ones at the moment given the explosive growth of the amount of accessible information transmitted and received via networks and digital communications. (Bose 1998) (Yasemin 1999)
  • Network Management: Collaborative agents collect and exchange information on network statistics in order to achieve automation and optimization of network administration tasks these could be routing, access, service provisions, monitoring and statistical evaluation, within a global view or cloud platform. (Hermans 1996)
  • Air/Land Traffic Control: Multi-agent systems are installed in both controlling sites and travelling vehicles to help resolve control decisions in routing and scheduling. (Pinedo 1995)
  • Mobile technology: Agents to help with selecting and helping with finding frequently used functions or doing tasks (Mills and Stufflebeam 2005) (Intelligent and Mobile Agents Research Group)

Summary / Conclusions There are some outstanding use cases for AI autonomous intelligent software agents today and there is ongoing development and need to solve more and more complex challengers. This continuation and ongoing development of this technology in to new applications to support human lives, are being created all the time from mobile phones to films this also in turn sparks even more possibilities or ideas for this technology. The dream by some is to one day model human biology into a computing device thus no longer having a computing device be static logical thing but instead making a device that has “Intelligent and have the ability to think” and can even make decisions. One day this all might become reality and taking to a robot or system might become normal. (Brookshear, Smith and Brylow 2012)  


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IT Group Pulsant Seals £200m Sale To Oak Hill

IT Group Pulsant Seals £200m Sale To Oak Hill


Mark Kleinman, City Editor

One of the biggest providers of IT services to British small businesses is poised to be swallowed by a US buyout firm in a £200m takeover deal.

Sky News understands that Pulsant is close to being sold to New York-based Oak Hill Capital Partners.

The transaction could be announced as soon as next week, according to insiders.

It will land a handsome windfall for Bridgepoint Development Capital, the investment firm which built Pulsant from a series of acquisitions, beginning with Lumison in 2010.

A number of other businesses, including Blue Square Data, Dedipower and Scolocate, were also bought and integrated into Lumison, which was rebranded as Pulsant two years ago.

Pulsant has benefited from increasing demand from small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) for outsourced provision of cloud-hosting and managed data services.

The sale of Pulsant will provide further evidence of the robust nature of the so-called secondary buyout market, in which private equity firms buy companies from each other.

It will also underline the effectiveness of BDC’s ‘buy-and-build’ strategy, which buyout groups use in order to try to create businesses which are greater than the sum of their parts.

Oak Hill is understood to have seen off competition to buy Pulsant from rivals including Abry Capital and Summit Partners.

The US-based fund is a prolific investor in the IT infrastructure sector, having previously owned a large stake in Telecity, an operator of internet data centres.

Bridgepoint declined to comment, while Oak Hill could not be reached.

More at source

Benefits and Possible Dangers or side effects of Artificial Intelligence to Mankind

botThe rise of the artificial intelligence brings technological breakthrough benefits as well and a negative drawbacks and possibly dangerous side effects to how mankind lives our lives today and how we might exist and operate in the world of tomorrow.

Technology advances have driven the world to continually adapt or change more and more, this has changed the way humans live our lives. The example of the simplest communication tools such as the fixed line telephone has now become fully mobile computing device that also doubles as a telephone that we can use anywhere. (Rodriguez 2011)

Artificial Intelligence or (AI) can be described as a field of science making computing devices do activities that require understanding and intelligence when otherwise actioned by a human.  (Copeland 2000) There are many different branches of AI some physical such as robotic, some representing logic or programming tasks. (McCarthy 2007) Most however are trying to mimic or create human traits in computing systems such as knowledge, problem solving, learning, and planning. (Brookshear, Smith and Brylow 2012)

Some benefits of Artificial Intelligent Devices:

  • Robotic devices with intelligence are able to go and execute adaptive activities in places where it might not be safe for human beings to go. Such locations could be deep space, deep sea, military warzones, or contaminated areas. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA 2014) are currently running a robotic challenge to find devices to go in to such areas as disaster zones or military war zones as support platform. (DARPA 2014)
  • AI devices in theory don’t need to sleep or take a lunch and coffee break they can work until the activity is completed. (There are acceptations to this for maintenance, recharge if battery operated) Hyundai Motors has reduced delivery times on vehicle production by 20% by using robots. ( 2014)
  • There is an ability to mimic or reproduce copies of AI devices to do the same tasks which is not possible with humans without cost. When devices have become efficient and correct at executing a task the device can be duplicated or copied, therefore in the human sense forgoing the need of training & development and loss when the employee leaves which is equal to higher cost.
  • AI devices work on logic and are not prone to human errors or misunderstanding this would be good in tasks such as operating a vehicle.  Such jobs as pilotless cargo aircraft that travel from point A to point B and could run 24 hours a day. (Platform Unmanned Cargo Aircraft 2014) (FAA 2014)

Some possible drawbacks or dangers of Artificial Intelligent Devices:

  • Ethical dangers or drawbacks from trying to create AI devices into human like devices. If humans give intelligence and understanding to an artificial device then will the machine want to work for human benefit and can the device be switched off if needed. Who gets the right to choose to switch off the device and what happens if the device becomes more intelligent than humans by creating new algorithms or adapting it’s programing through learning. (McCarthy 2007) (Barber 2014)
  • An effect of the continued replacement of activities in companies or industries by some level of AI machine or device could be on the need for a work force. AI devices taking over jobs could create unemployment for both skilled and unskilled workers as companies want more efficiency and great profits.   (Turner 2013)
  • Lack of emotional understand or judgement leaves the AI machinery not able judge all the possible outcomes as a human might be able for such jobs as, nursing, security or military devices. The reason being the AI device answers are based on logic questions and not emotional values.  (Berkeley 1997)

Summary / Conclusions

There are many reasons to use and look at artificial intelligent devices or machines as well as there are many reason we should not. These reasons however mainly focus and play on the fundamental human conscious and ethical morals of most of us. Over the coming years governments, companies and people will all try to debate the pro’s suggesting life will be better and the con’s that humans are worried about technical armies and the thought the world could be taken over by AI devices.

There is a thought in place at the moment which is we are quite a way already on this journey. The car industry in point has already reduced work forces globally replacing them with robotic devices on efficiency based reasons / gains and selling it’s to us the consumer that it’s better us based on quality, reliability and cost, but to the workers they lost their job possibilities. In the early days on this change there was uproar but today it’s taken for granted but do we really understand the long term ethical or economical global because most companies and governments think for current business or political agendas one thing for certain right now there are people for and against artificial intelligence debate

Please complete the Poll below on your thoughts:

by Charles Aunger 05/06/2014



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Two Computing Systems from over 5 years ago – Trip back down memory lane

Two Computing Systems from over 5 years ago Trip back down memory lane

I was showing my daughter what I used to use as a computer many years ago (showing my age) and she was amazed more astonished so I thought I would share with you all a brief trip down memory lane.

Commodore 64

First of all if you can remember the Commodore 64 (C64) a 1Mhz, 8 bit, 64k RAM (Commodore Computers, 1983) computer created by Metal Oxide Semiconductor Technology (MOS Technology) also known as Commodore Business Machines (Veit, 1999) should be listed as one of the most symbolic and state of the art personal computing systems of the 1980’s. The C64 was focussed to provide a great video game machining experience, outstanding performance and value for money compared to the other market players of the time.

· In January ‘1981 engineers decided to produce a state-of-the-art video and sound chip. The VIC-II 6567 video chip and the SID 6581 sound chip were created to be the most powerful chips of their time. The C64 equipped with these chips was able to display 16 colours and be reproduce a human voice without additional peripherals. (Matthews, 2010). Personally the game I enjoyed was a flight simulation called Ace of Aces (Personal Computer Museum, 2006) Ace of Aces very simple compared today’s 32bit graphics and millions of colours in say Flightgear (Flightgear Flight Simulator Project, 2010 – 2014)

· Initially called the VIC 30 the C64 design started 1981 and main production ran from 1982 through to 1989 (Matthews, 2010) (Bagnall, 2005) even today not many machines can say they have lasted that long in production the Apple iMac G3 lasted 1998-2001. (Edwards, 2008)

· The C64 made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007. As of 2006 the C64 was the “Greatest selling single computer of all time”. Sources count units sold between 12 and 17 million (Peggy Mihelich – CNN, 2007).

· The C64 priced at $595 was less than half the price of the Apple II at $1395. (Commodore Computers Canada, 1983) and establish an estimated dollar value market share in the US of 43%. (Personal Computer Museum, n.d.)

· 20 Games That Defined the Commodore 64

Click for more on the references below or

Apple iMac G3

Apple iMac G3 computing system should be badged as the system that ignited the drove colour into the personal computer industry and enable internet experience. What also made the iMac a focus was it marked the return of Steve Jobs as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) role.

· The iMac G3 design was led by Jonathan Ive (Arlidge, 2014) and Steve Jobs. Steve jobs launched and marketed the iMac in 1998 at Macworld (Channel, 2006). The marketing line most generally associated with the iMac G3 was it wasn’t another ‘beige box’. (Edwards, 2008) Still today you don’t see many beige box computers mainly grey black or coloured. (Lohr, 2002)

· The iMac G3 was launched 1998 and discontinued in 2003. The G3 name came from the PowerPC 750 G3 processor, and coupled with an ATI Rage graphics card creating excellent rendering performance. The newest generations have replaced the PowerPC chip in favour for Intel chip sets. (Simon, 2009)

· The main case colour was “bondi blue” but later thirteen colours became available. Today nearly all Apple Mac products are White, Silver no more bright colours but still no beige (Simon, 2009)

· Making iMac G3 more user-friendly, with attractive design translucent back and at the time of i for internet, built in browser and modem enabling internet access brought Apple in to the future, on this Steve Jobs interim CEO 1997 (Stone, 2011) started to rebuild the company. The built in speakers and internet access was personally a simple and easy to use experience.

Click for more on the references below or

References locations you can find out more


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Microsoft MSDN Blog tells how to uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11

Internet Explorer, the browser you all once loved to hate, has grown stronger over the last few years. After ignoring its web-browser for a long time,
the software giant not only added many enticing features into it, but also made the browser much more secure and stable. However, there are some
of you out there that dislike Internet Explorer, for whatever your reasons may be.

In an MSDN blog post, a Microsoft employee has outlined the process to uninstall Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11
via command line. In order to proceed, you must be logged into your computer as an administrator, or an account that has administrative rights.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs. Copy and paste the following commands into the Command Prompt window,
and then press Enter (the first command is for IE9, the second command is for IE10, and the last command is for IE11):

Examples covered in this blog are for:

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 10

Internet Explorer 11

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 9

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*9.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 10

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*10.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.

Example for uninstalling Internet explorer 11

Log on to the computer by using an administrator account or an account that has administrative rights.

Close all Internet Explorer browser windows.

Click Start, type cmd in the Search box, and then click cmd under Programs.

Copy the following command:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%servicingPackages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*11.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /quiet /norestart

Paste the command into the Command Prompt window, and then press Enter.

Restart the computer.Once you have executed the command, you must restart your computer.

Internet Explorer 11 is a fantastic browser and is the company’s latest internet browser available on Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you dislike Internet Explorer, hit the comments below and tell us why! We won’t judge you for wanting to remove Internet Explorer – everyone has their preferences! Just keep in mind that Internet Explorer 11 sports some unique and intuitive features that make it stand tall against its competitors.

Click for more at source or Microsoft MSDN Blog

Microsoft Kinect for Windows 2.0 hardware design revealed, available by summer of this year

Microsoft is getting close to releasing the second version of the company’s Kinect for Windows hardware. In an official blog post, Microsoft is showing off the hardware design. "The sensor closely resembles the Kinect for Xbox One, except that it says “Kinect” on the top panel, and the Xbox Nexus – the stylized green “x” – has been changed to a simple, more understated power indicator," Microsoft stated in an official blog post.

The sensor requires the hub and the power supply, which accepts three connections: the sensor, USB 3.0 output to PC, and power. The power supply itself supports voltages from 100 – 240 volts.

Developers were able to get their hands on an alpha version of the hardware last summer, as well as early access to the SDK. Developers are expected to get a final version of the Kinect for Windows 2.0 hardware for free when it becomes available.

Microsoft plans to offer more updates as we inch closer to the release of Kinect for Windows 2.0. According to ZDNet, Microsoft is planning on releasing this product by summer of this year.

You can take a look at the new design below.

As Microsoft continue the march toward the upcoming launch of Kinect for Windows v2, we’re excited to share the hardware’s final look. Sensor

The sensor closely resembles the Kinect for Xbox One, except that it says “Kinect” on the top panel, and the Xbox Nexus—the stylized green “x”—has been changed to a simple, more understated power indicator:

Kinect for Windows v2 sensor

Hub and power supply

The sensor requires a couple other components to work: the hub and the power supply. Tying everything together is the hub (top item pictured below), which accepts three connections: the sensor, USB 3.0 output to PC, and power. The power supply (bottom item pictured below) does just what its name implies: it supplies all the power the sensor requires to operate. The power cables will vary by country or region, but the power supply itself supports voltages from 100–240 volts.

Kinect for Windows v2 hub (top) and power supply (bottom)

As this first look at the Kinect for Windows v2 hardware indicates, we’re getting closer and closer to launch. So stay tuned for more updates on the next generation of Kinect for Windows.

Click for more at source or Kinect Blog Link

Information Technology Service Providers use of Service Delivery Methodologies as a Trend in delivering successful IT Project.

Information Technology Service Providers use of Service Delivery Methodologies as a Trend in delivering successful IT Project.


Information Technology (IT) Service Providers Service Providers are companies that provide other organisations with augmented ranges of IT services to enhance or supplement the organisation internal staff, IT technology delivery or IT technology needs. The services provided can range from delivering simple services such as IT desktop support through to more complex technical consulting, application development, or datacentre solutions.

The IT service provider’s capability to successfully deliver these simple or complex IT projects to the organisation they are employed by can be aligned to two distinct items.

1) The use of the correct IT service delivery methodology:

  • An IT Service Delivery Methodology is a repeatable and extensible framework used to rapidly design, deliver, measure and improve your IT services. (Smith, 2010)

The service delivery methodologies that the IT service providers use are varied and can be made up of parts from many methodologies as well as industry standards. Key methodologies in use in IT service providers and IT departments are Rapid Application Development (RAD), SCRUM, Waterfall development, Prototyping, ITIL, TOGAF, Prince 2, Six Sigma, ISO 27000 Series (International Organization for Standardization, 2005). (ABC-Groep, 2011).

2) Correctly defining the key success criteria for the IT project and thus the IT Service Providers goals and objectives:

  • Defining a success criteria and what makes up what success is for the IT project and therefore the success of the IT service provider can usually be split into standard categories the main ones being “Business, Project Management and Technical Success” (SYMONDS, 2012). As well as these standard categories reporting on Key performance indicators (KPIs) are common (Suchan, 2003), an example of a KPI would be in an IT project “Reduce infrastructure costs by 10%” or “Increase application performance by 15%”

Delivering an IT project by identifying or not the correct service delivery methodologies and the success criteria’s can lead to a success or failure of the IT project. Identifying and aligning all parties involved in the IT project with the IT service provider’s service delivery methodology chosen and success criteria from the start of a project to an end of a project can streamline and drive toward having successful outcome.

Three summary areas or questions that can benefit and help to identify the correct service delivery methodology and success criteria’s

Three summary areas or questions that have worked toward streamlining and assisting identify the correct methodology and success criteria’s thus creating a framework for success and reducing miss-understandings are:

  • WHY are we:
    • Wanting to do the IT project?
    • Why should we use a specific methodology?
  • HOW are we going to:
    • Identify the correct methodology?
    • Align everyone and stay aligned to this methodology?
    • Execute on this project?
    • Measure we are succeeding?
    • Manage miss-alignment and change?
  • WHAT
    • Methodology are we going to use and stick to?
    • Are we going to report on?

With so many methodologies and criteria’s used there can be misunderstanding based on lack of knowledge or disagreements based on miss alignment. Once alignment has been created on these two distinct items Methodology and Success Criteria IT Projects and IT Service Providers can be focussed more on the delivery and execution of the project and successful outcome.


ABC-Groep, 2011. IT Buzzword Bingo, Ekeren,Antwerpen, : s.n.

International Organization for Standardization, 2005. ISO 27000 Series, Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.

Smith, D., 2010. itsmf – Service Excellence using an Integrated Service Delivery Methodology. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 28 03 2014].

Suchan, J., 2003. Define your project goals and success criteria, Seattle: Microsoft.


Facebook In $2bn Oculus Virtual Reality Deal

Facebook is making a $2bn bet that virtual reality headsets will be the next big social platform after computers and smartphones, with the sudden acquisition of Oculus VR.

The deal marks an unexpected move by the world’s largest social network into the hardware business, at a time when arch-rival Google is investing in robots, its own Google Glass headset and other long-term ventures.

Founded by 21-year-old Palmer Luckey in 2012, Oculus has not yet released a final version of its virtual-reality headset to consumers but has sold 75,000 devices to games developers.

While donning a VR headset is largely a solitary experience today, Facebook hopes to make it a more social experience, extending its applications beyond its current niche in gaming to replacing real-life visits to the doctors, sports games and retail stores.

“Virtual reality definitely sounds like something out of science fiction but science fiction has a habit of becoming fact,” said Oculus’ chief executive, Brendan Iribe.

Only last week, Oculus showcased its latest prototype as Sony unveiled a competing virtual reality device, Project Morpheus, for its PlayStation 4 console.

However, some games developers reacted angrily to Oculus’ sale, with several protesting on the company’s blog. Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, said he had cancelled plans to bring the wildly popular virtual world game to Oculus. “Facebook creeps me out,” he said in a tweet.

Nonetheless, Facebook believes that virtual reality’s applications could extend beyond gaming into entertainment and education.

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in a statement. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

The acquisition marks an early payday for Oculus’ venture-capital backers, including Andreessen Horowitz, which led a $75m investment as recently as December.

The deal is comprised of $400m in cash and 23.1m Facebook shares, plus a further $300m if certain performance criteria are met.

Oculus got its start through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where it raised $2.4m in September 2012.

“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” said one person close to Oculus. “It was done very, very quickly.” Several companies had expressed interest in buying the company, this person added.

The move is Facebook’s second unexpected acquisition this year, after it spent $19bn on chat app WhatsApp. The company is using its shares – which have risen by more than 150 per cent in 12 months – to acquire companies it thinks will help it maintain its dominance as the world’s largest social network.

As with Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook plans to operate Oculus as an independent entity. It will remain based in Irvine, California.

Mr Zuckerberg said the recent rate of acquisitions “will certainly not continue”.

With more than 1.2bn users, Facebook has the potential to popularise virtual reality which has until now been seen as too clunky and geeky for the general user.

Mr Zuckerberg said he felt Facebook was ready to move on from its focus in mobile to the next platforms which will enable “even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences”.

In a call with analysts, he played down Facebook’s entry into consumer devices. “We are clearly not a hardware company. We do this as a software and services thing,” he said, suggesting that Facebook could show advertising in Oculus’ virtual worlds.

Oculus complements Facebook’s long-term plan to build out the “knowledge economy” into new technology platforms, he said, putting it alongside other 10-year ventures such as, for bringing connectivity to remote parts of the world, and its research into artificial intelligence.

James McQuivey, analyst at Forrester, said virtual reality was destined to remain a niche technology. “Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus seems motivated more by fear than by good business alignment,” he said. “Facebook missed the shift to mobile and has played catch-up ever since.”

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Financial Times: Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler: Facebook bets $2bn on virtual reality March 26th 2014

Microsoft Is Working With Virtual Reality, Too

Everyone’s doing it. The Virtual Reality focus at this week’s Game Developer’s Conference may have been on Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift, but we can rest assured that no major technology company is ignoring a product with the potential to change so much. IGN caught up with Microsoft Studio’s boss Phil Spencer, and he said that Microsoft is indeed working with VR. He didn’t confirm a commercial product, but there’s definitely internal research going on.

“I think the technology is really interesting, and it’s definitely something we’ve been playing with for quite a while,” he said. He doesn’t think that “every experience requires goggles on my head,” but admitted to the value of “being able to completely audibly and visually immerse players.”

Chances are, considering the timing of this little hint and the fact that we’re getting it from Phil Spencer, that Microsoft is currently concerned with VR as an Xbox property, but the potential goes far beyond gaming. One hopes that the disparate other parts of the technology behemoth that is Microsoft are aware of whatever work is being done, because Microsoft is uniquely poised, given the strength of its other businesses, to capitalize on both the gaming and non-gaming aspects of VR. The enterprise space, for example, which Microsoft still dominates, could benefit from conference calls, training, virtual tours and more. Something as simple as Skype could move closer to face-to-face conversation. All of those things may be a while off, but Oculus and Sony have already proven to the public how far VR has come in the last few years. There’s no telling how far along Microsoft is in this research, but committing to VR could put it back ahead of the curve.

Spencer told The Verge that not only would 360-degree worlds immerse gamers, they could also benefit players who don’t have the physical space for giant displays. The enormous support for the Oculus Rift Kickstarter showed that gamers are getting more excited about VR than anything else. This year’s GDC reinforced that impression. This is one situation where the games industry is out ahead of the general market — with technology too exciting for anyone to discount.

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