Weaponised Devices

On just about every flight I’ve taken recently, a voice from the front of the plane has read a statement to the effect of:

The United States Federal Aviation Authority has limited the carriage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device. If you have one of these in the cabin, or in your checked in baggage, you must advise us immediately as you are prohibited from carrying a Galaxy Note 7 onboard.

For example, here’s the official statement from Air New Zealand.

This wasn’t some marketing ploy by Apple to eliminate a device from a competitor that was setting the market on fire, but more ominously a device that was setting itself and its owners on fire. Having that happen in an airplane is a very bad idea.

In light of the above, I fail to see how adding a heat-based physical self-destruct mechanism to gadgets makes any logical or moral sense. With widespread adoption of such technology, everybody would be carrying weaponised devices that could be activated in the case of theft (the positioned use case), but also run the risk of compromise (time-based malware, GPS-based activation, etc.). Every gadget-toting flyer would now be a potential terrorist.

It’s worth reading the comments on the article too (e.g., how do you deal with your toddler taking your phone outside and now having first degree burns covering their body?).

We should indeed protect our devices – encrypted drives, strong passwords, remote wipe and brick capabilities, two-factor authentication, biometric logins – but not weaponise them.

Norway’s Ship Tunnel

A few years ago I was visiting Oslo to present a series of workshops, and on one evening one of my hosts drove me into the city centre for a meal out. I was intrigued by the underground/through-the-water tunnels that we drove through. With so much water around, the engineers had found a way of suspending vehicle tunnels through waterways. Very cool.

And now they’re building a tunnel for ships:

Norwegian officials have given the green light to fully finance what is set to become the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel, bypassing one of the most dangerous areas for vessels along the Norwegian coast.

The Stad Ship Tunnel will be blasted through 1.7 kilometers of rock at the narrowest point of the Stad Peninsula, allowing ships the size of Hurtigruten’s coastal steamers to navigate it.

What’s fascinating is that the tunnel isn’t expected to shave much time off the normal route, rather it is intended to allow ships to navigate more safely through the Stadhavet Sea, where the North and Norwegian seas meet. The Stadhavet Sea is considered one of the most exposed and dangerous areas for vessels along the coast of Norway, sometimes experiencing more than 100 storm days per year and a dangerous combination of wind, currents, and waves.

New ways of sailing, indeed. Talk about re-imagining the possible!

Intranets 2017

My friends at Step Two in Sydney are producing the seventh annual intranet conference in Australia:

Intranets2017 is in its seventh year, and it continues to power on as the biggest intranet conference in the southern hemisphere, running in Sydney on 31 May-2 June 2017. Today we officially open for registrations, sharing details on the first of our international speakers.

At Step Two, we know intranets and digital workplaces, and what teams need to know. An international call for speakers uncovered wonderful speakers from around the globe. We held four rounds of selection, organised interviews with potential speakers and finally selected 24 of the best speakers in the world.

I have attended at least three of the (first six) conferences. If you are counted among the “intranet folk,” get yourself along.

Learn more (and register)

A Workshop – One Day? Two Days? Longer?

Agnes outlines her thinking on workshop length:

The most common question I get about my upcoming workshop, SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice, is why I’ve decided to choose a two-day format.

I know it could be one day. Also, it could be three days, or even up to five.

I do have ten years of experience teaching and doing workshops around the globe. I’ve tried several formats. Some worked, some didn’t. What I’ve found is that I don’t like frontal teaching. It’s not my style. And I know, it can be exhausting as an attendee, too.

In her post, Agnes talks about:
– 3 teaching / learning approaches used in workshops, and
– the five reasons she has embraced the two-day design.

This is a question I have wrestled with many times too. It’s good to see someone else’s thinking … and decision rationale.

And if search in SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 is important in your work, you should sign up to attend.

The New IT Department

The experience of Hollands Kroon, on reimagining what it means to work in a municipal government, and the impact on the IT department:

One of the key decisions that Hollands Kroon administrators made as part of the workplace transformation was to empower employees by eliminating standard job hierarchies and reporting structures, freeing up more of the workers’ time and energy to help them better serve citizens. All employees are now organized into self-governing teams based around shared specialties—for example, one group is all people who work on tax issues, while another covers youth and elderly social programs—and the emphasis is on outcomes, rather than micromanaging processes. “Each group hires its own new colleagues, and they are allowed to work in whatever way they believe will achieve the best results,” says Cremers. “Every employee has an education budget for training and development, and their own IT budget to buy whatever sort of laptop or tablet they want. What I think is really beautiful is how eager everyone is to make this transformation to the new working paradigm. They are running faster than I can predict or direct, so my role becomes doing whatever I can to support all these exceptional, talented, motivated people, and that’s a great position to be in.”


Update on Microsoft Teams

Update from Kirk on the Office 365 Team on the new (still in preview) Microsoft Teams service in Office 365:

… Microsoft Teams has picked up momentum since its launch last November. In the last month alone, 30,000 organizations across 145 markets and 19 languages have actively used Microsoft Teams.


We’re especially inspired by this early usage. Not only does it show that the product fills a real market need, but it gives us a ton of information to help shape the product leading up to General Availability, which is still on track for this current quarter, Q1 2017. Our customers have been a great guide as we’ve delivered numerous features into the product even since the preview launched—including built-in audio calling on mobile and named group chats, an easy way to keep track of the context of a conversation.

Having access to “tons of information to help shape the product” is a significant benefit for any vendor, and is greatly enhanced in cloud-delivered services. In addition to this information on usage, I hope that the Office 365 Team takes on board the significant early feedback from MVPs and market analysts who weighed in when Teams was announced, including:
– Marc Anderson, Dear Microsoft: I’m Confused. Can You Help Me Collaborate Well?
– Pramit Nairi, Only Microsoft Could Make Teams
– Stuart McIntyre, My musings on Microsoft Teams
– John White, Microsoft Teams and the New Microsoft Social Landscape

A Change of Pace in 2017

In early 2013 I was attending a conference in the United States, and on the man-made beach at the hotel resort was introduced by one of my readers to her boss. It became evident fairly quickly that my interest in user adoption and collaboration strategy was commonly held between the three of us, and after getting back to New Zealand I was invited to present a one-day workshop based on my user adoption book for their clients. That happened in June of that year. The next year it was October (and the workshop was presented twice). The year after that was June again (and presented twice again). And while there was no workshop last year (due to my unavailability mid-year), I helped the firm with its positioning to do more in the user adoption and change management space across a wider geographical footprint. And when we met in person again during my September visit last year, we started talking about a more regular and formalised collaboration in 2017.

Net-net: With thanks to Roland and Effy, I’m joining Silverside as a Research Consultant for PACE, Silverside’s implementation methodology for change management. I will be working from New Zealand most of the time, with a couple of visits scheduled to work with my new colleagues (including the first in a couple of weeks to IBM Connect in San Francisco).

It’s pretty cool how business relationships that start small can flourish into something much larger when the people stuff is done right. In our highly connected world, I’m grateful for readers, friends, colleagues, and advisors across the globe, and I look forward to making a contribution in a changed way in 2017.

The “Other” Consideration of Collaboration Tools; Welcome to the New World of GDPR

Collaboration tools provide amazing capabilities for helping people work together across time and space, and selecting the right tools for your organisation is important. However, there’s another side to the whole area that I haven’t often written about on this site: compliance. And if you or your organisation does anything with the personal data of European citizens – regardless of where your organisation is located in the world – you need to know about GDPR – the “General Data Protection Regulation” released in May 2016 and due to go into force from late May 2018. Given its wide scope, as the white paper below points out, it would be better to refer to it as the “Global” Data Protection Regulation. Seriously. And it has implications for how your organisation uses collaboration tools too.

Osterman Research recently published a new report on GDPR – exploring what it is, and the types of organisational and technological responses that will be required:

GDPR Compliance and Its Impact on Security and Data Protection Programs
Protecting personal data has been an important issue in the European Union (EU) for more than 20 years, and the recently ratified General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes data protection to an entirely new level. In addition to a new set of legal requirements that necessitate both organizational and technological responses, the GDPR is applicable to almost every organization around the world that collects or processes data on residents domiciled within the EU, including permanent residents, visitors and expatriates.

It’s worth a look … because it is likely to cause a lot of soul searching (data analysis, policy formulation, technology considerations) for organisations across the world. Including yours.

See: The Impact of the GDPR on Your Business

Sam Marshall on Re-Imagining Productive Work with Office 365

Sam from Clearbox Consulting recently posted his comments on my Office 365 book on CMSWire:

Sampson …. has managed to steer a line that shows deep technology understanding without losing sight of why companies acquire these technologies in the first place.
I really like the “opportunities” approach. Countless blogs and articles on Office 365 tend to focus on specific tool capabilities or are written for an IT audience. Sampson’s book therefore fills a much-needed gap because it looks at how the tools might be used together, and the trade-off between using one tool or another when features overlap.

Sam offers some good ideas for improving the book too, specifically the layout format I chose didn’t work great for him, and how to deal in a book like this with the firehose of updates that comes from Microsoft. The first I won’t do like that again, and the second is … complicated.

See: ‘Re-Imagining Productive Work’ Offers Practical Office 365 Advise.

Thanks Sam!

BlueJeans Huddle

BlueJeans Network announced the introduction of BlueJeans Huddle, a new way of setting up meeting rooms for video conferencing:

The BlueJeans Huddle system is a combination of standard hardware and BlueJeans proprietary software that can turn any room into an interactive meeting space for a fraction of the cost of legacy in-room systems. Currently an average of eight to 15 minutes of every video meeting is wasted getting participants connected. BlueJeans Huddle democratises video by freeing employees from difficult to navigate systems and giving them an in-meeting experience they will love.

Group video conferencing usage throughout the enterprise will increase 400 percent by 2019, with huddle rooms showing particular momentum, already doubling in market share since 2015, according to leading research firm Gartner. Yet while huddle rooms and video meetings are in growth mode, businesses have been plagued with adoption hurdles. BlueJeans Huddle eliminates these obstacles, including the hassles of set up, dial in, connection, and meeting management– the issues that equate to a sort of “tax” on the use of live video in the enterprise. BlueJeans Huddle users are automatically recognised and can initiate live video conversations simply by walking into a room, and the video solution delivers the same great user experience powered by the BlueJeans Enterprise Video Cloud™, regardless of whether people are using their desktop, mobile device, or are in a video-enabled room.

Thinking of it as a “tax” to be reduced is an appropriate metaphor.

Read more: BlueJeans Network Eliminates the ‘Video Tax’ with Introduction of BlueJeans Huddle