Tag Archives: Virtual Reality


The Friday Update 6: Creating new opportunities through great leadership skills

Analysts expect virtual reality (VR) to be one of the key trends of 2016, with big vendors set to launch an array of related technologies. The consumer market for VR is evolving quickly, but how will such devices be used in the business?

My latest piece for ZDNet explores the trend. Late last year, mapping specialist Ordnance Survey (OS) created a 10km by 10km recreation of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. OS has now released a VR tour of the mountain scape for Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard.

David Haynes, software developer and VR expert at OS, says the firm’s experimental work shows how other businesses could use the technology. He says potential beneficiaries are organisations with transferable information:

“I’m fairly confident that VR has lots of potential applications. We’ve already talked to some of our partners about use cases, such as helping businesses to view a location virtually before a physical site visit. We’re still at the start of the journey but the possibilities are endless.”

My first article for The Register, also published this week, analyses the impact of new technology on the role of the CIO. It suggests that technology leadership, which is normally a demanding role, has become something else in today’s world. Modern CIOs must not only maintain day-to-day IT operations but also manage the heightened expectations of a tech-savvy user base.

There is good news. It’s the fact that most businesses, despite the ability to source technology on-demand through access to things like CRM delivered as a service, still recognise the importance of strong IT leadership:

Research from the Tech Partnership and Experian suggests there will be more, not fewer, specialist technology roles with growth likely the greatest amongst IT directors – 37.5 per cent growth between 2015 and 2025. 

Great CIOs, then, will always be in demand all over the globe. One such IT leader is Johan Kestens, managing director and CIO at ING Belgium. I spoke to the experienced IT director for Computer Weekly this week, who is approaching the end of his second year at the bank and is keen to help the business make the most of innovation.

To help deliver on his transformative aim of a new style of banking, Kestens is keen to modernise the firm’s application and infrastructure portfolio. Innovation is crucial, said Kestens, pointing to his bank’s continued efforts in wearable technology. The aim, he says, is to be as digital as possible – and that requires access to great talent:

“The power of imagination is crucial. Increasingly, the world is beginning to understand that engineers are like artists – there are engineers that make a difference and we all want access to those people.”

I’ll be writing more skills-based articles for The Register in coming weeks. If you have an angle or an idea, drop me a line. As in the case of Johan Kestens at ING, I’m always keen to hear from CIOs and independent experts who have an opinion or responsibility for areas of Europe beyond the UK. Just drop me a line if you’d like to get involved at mark.samuels@gmail.com or mark@samuelsmedia.co.uk.


The Friday Update 3: From the edge to the core – smart thinking in regards to start-ups and the cloud

I’m feeling a bit for Pluto this week. News of the potential discovery of a ninth planet at the far edges of the Kuiper belt must smart for a ball of rock that was only reclassified as a dwarf planet ten years ago. Hard times for a former planet named by an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford.

Down in London, I’ve been investigating the potential use of start-ups by big businesses. The piece for Computer Weekly presents top tips from people in the know and suggests that, with creativity seen as a key competitive differentiator, CIOs are being charged to help find new solutions to intractable business challenges, including from the start-up community:

CIOs must recognise that larger, fast-growing start-ups should be approached differently. Companies that float on the stock market can change their approach and even become destabilised, especially if they are burning through cash to reach a target size.

Many start-ups, of course, have the luxury of being able to start their IT set-up from a greenfield position, probably making heavy use of the cloud. For senior executives thinking of making a move on-demand, I’ve just produced an article for ZDNet presenting the three key areas to consider through 2016 – costs, processes and roles:

The cloud will branch into new areas of provision through 2016. Rather than just picking elements of enterprise IT to run on-demand, researcher Forrester says we are entering a new stage of the cloud, where executives will be able to run entire business ecosystems in the cloud.

I’ll be analysing the cloud further in a forthcoming piece in a Raconteur supplement for The Sunday Times. The article will consider the role of the cloud in innovation and future business models. Basically, how is cloud computing allowing enterprises to develop new products, services and lines of business? I’d be really keen to hear from anyone who has a view, particularly in regards to using the cloud in a business context.

I’m also investigating the use of virtual reality in a business context. It’s still a niche area but, once again, any views or opinions would be welcomed. If you have a view, just drop me a line at mark.samuels@gmail.com or mark@samuelsmedia.co.uk.