BlockChain, IIoT or Industry4.0 ? Semantic Web or Big Data?

I realise I’m mixing categories here, that’s my point. There is so much hype (ie confusion and mis-expectations) over advancing web technology architecture “silver-bullets”, and which terms are really about technology, business or content – in fact there is a lot of entanglement of issues and lots of lessons learned in one domain not even considered in another.

Since I last posted an update, I’ve spent over a year working with a Chinese Aerospace R&D contractor – doing some actual engineering rather than information science, bleeding edge engineering too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even in a completely left-field domain all roads seem to lead back to web reference data.

So, for a bit of fun I’ve been doing a bit of a survey of all the initiatives in “Reference Data Based Interoperability” space, in order to understand how they all fit together, which could learn from each other and where common valuable gaps exist in tools and services. I’ve put the draft “State of the Nation” paper up publicly in order to share with potential interested parties, but it is very much incomplete / work-in-progress. I will be updating without posting notification. Any suggestions. you know where to find me.

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The Fog of “Containerized Algorithmic Services”?

The latest IBM jargon here made me chuckle. It disguises a very old story.

Let’s unpick it a little.
Fog is one of the buzzwords for low-hanging / near-at-hand / in-your-face “Cloud”
Cloud being the metaphorical buzzword for all things distributed and linked via the internet.
IoT is simply a reminder that those connected things can (and will be) anything and everything.

The internet is simply the ubiquitous communications network technology connecting pretty much anything and everything these days. Within that, as specific technologies advance, possibilities for physical distribution of those things change and grow, and the optimum arrangement in terms of traffic, volume, speed, reliability, security etc for different kinds of use, continually change too. That’s the technology, the IT (or ICT).

But, communication is much older than the internet.

What matters is meaning and know-how. As Einstein famously said “The communication problem is the illusion that it has happened.” – true on so many levels here – and “Communication is like a cat, you pull it’s tail at one end, it miaows at the other.”

Transferring the bits of information is one thing, but what it means, what’s meant to happen on arrival is a whole ‘nother thing. Without the latter – semantics – it’s Einstein’s illusion to call it communication.

Sure, most people believe Sir TBL gave us the Semantic Web – thereby giving our generation the focus that use of the internet is primarily about connecting information with meaning. In fact the Semantic Web was coined long before internet technology – by Foucault in 1966 – and, not in so many words, has existed as long as philosophy and epistemology.

The population of the world being very large, the number of ways different people and organisations are working on that is enormous. Old ideas are repackaged – in both knowledge and ignorance – with new metaphors and names, and that’s fine with billions clamouring for attention. That’s marketing.

The problem is if the re-packaging is too fast – an arms race of new jargon – the communication is all Einstein’s illusion. That’s a problem for (at least) two reasons.

  • One, is that rolling the whole topic under a single new set of buzzwords also hides the fact that problem does still have distinct technology and content, functional and semantic aspects to be addressed. Sure they may all be well understood in their distinct parts, but the packaging doesn’t change the fact that these distinct “workfronts” need to be addressed using different knowledge and resources in any particular application or solution. One size fits all may be true at some conceptual level but different solutions do have different parts.
  • Two, is that the value of parts of the solution that have already been perfectly well understood by previous work – using previous metaphors and terminology - is easy to overlook and forget, and will need to be reinvented again later anyway. Baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

I was prompted to write by David Hodgson’s comment on the original thread. The phrase that tickled me particularly in the piece itself was the one quoted in my title here: “Containerized Algorithmic Services”. Frankly, for reasons Dave states, I’ve not tried to decipher the jargon of the whole article in detail, but this one concept below jumps out as one that has been well worked already, but simply trampled under the endless stream of new jargon as each new technology cycle evolves.

  • Containerised Algorithmic Services at smart endpoints – is the original vision of our Shorthand or “Signature” Templates. (ask Hans, Magne or Onno). Having characterised your “packet” of data semantically – let’s face it packets have been fundamental to the internet and mark-up languages since day one – and having expressed it algorithmically in its signature, any number of behaviours, services and functions can be driven by such algorithms – anywhere in your extended network.

I’ve managed to resist writing on the irony of “Fog” before. I’d guess whoever first coined it knew what they were doing to cloud reality 😉


Opportunities Arising

With my current London project on hold whilst the customer sorts out his financial commitment, and between my own ongoing commitment to charity board projects, I am currently looking for new information and systems management project(s). Preferences would be opportunities to be part-time North-East England and/or London based, with travel no obstacle.

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New Venture

Having finished with JORD and other iRING projects back in July 2013 I am returning to the sharp-end of capital projects full time for the foreseeable year or more from 4th November. It’s a contract engagement as Engineering Systems Management for a grass-roots Kuwaiti refinery project using Intergraph (Hexagon) tools. If and when I return to enabling developments of the shared-RDS-based approach to flexible high-quality enterprise integration, it will be with fresh drivers from a current facilities business operation.

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A Lesson on Solutions Pricing

From a dead squirrel. (by Neil Baron, with hat tip to Ed Anderson on LinkedIn).


JORD Phase 2

Having fixed a number of systematic technical and procedural issues in Phase 1, the JORD Project now moves into scalable technical implementation and sustainable business development in 2013. For more information, the JORD Project page is maintained here.

GlencoIS continues 60% to 80% commitment to that one project in 2013. As well as providing additional consulting services in exploitation of RDBI-based interoperability, GlencoIS is interested in prototyping with those looking to develop tools in this area.

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Outage Apologies

Due to some test installs and reconfigurations of our server, I lost visibility of all my normal WordPress and other static content for a few days. But after a reset it looks like everything is up and back to normal. No damage done.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

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Flying in 2012

Here we are almost at the end of January 2012. JORD deliverables have made good progress, so the focus is planning the next phases. [Download the 2012 Update paper from the JORD Project page.]

Also taken the opportunity to publish and tidy up links to a few papers that were worked on over the year end.

Planning to be at PCA Americas 2012 (BP Houston, Feb 27th to Mar 31st) and FIATECH Showcase 2012 (Miami, April 2nd to 5th)

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Telephone Service Resumed

We can now confirm at last that the office phone number is unchanged and working again since the office move. +44 (0) 1287 203 922

We had some issues with the service provider (BT) but all now sorted, HOWEVER, any missed-calls and messages between 30th November and today 15th December are lost, so you will need to make contact again. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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We’re Moving

As of 30th November 2011 our new office address is:


Glenco IS Ltd.
The Old Parsonage,
Church Drive, Boosbeck,

(Post Note : The contact page is already updated. Apologies for any disruption to phone and email on that day, but all electronic contact should remain unchanged. Sounds like we may have some delays – up to a week – in getting phone and internet up. Eventually 15 days after the move the phone and internet are fully up and running.)

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