Thursday, August 31, 2017

Changing world of communications …

Our desks may be cluttered with phones, laptops, tablets and PCs and there is still a need for cables but we have come a long way with comms and for the NonStop community, we have so much choice when it comes to media focused on NonStop!

Where do we go for news today and how do we keep in touch with colleagues and business partners worldwide? Once, these two matters were very separate topics – we had phones, email, faxes and newspapers.  When the fax machine arrived near my office at Nixdorf Computers, back in the early 1980s, I could see my skills as a telex machine operator go out the window (and after all the time I put into becoming a skilled operator) but on the other hand, I started faxing everyone I knew! When it came time to consider working for Tandem Computers I heard about its Tandem-based email system and I was hooked. So much so that on my first day in the Tandem offices at North Sydney, I accidentally sent an email to everyone in the company only to recoil in shock as it contained some sensitive material. So I cancelled the email …

And that was when I first came to know Ron LaPedis and I must admit, it wasn’t a pleasant conversation. Overloading the Tandem and essentially bringing the Tandem email system to its knees wasn’t the best way to introduce oneself to the company. However, we have come such a long way since then. There is Skype, Hangouts, WebEx, GoToMeetings and a bunch of other options including private deployments of the above to choose from when we wish to give a webinar. It’s almost as if we have replaced a series of simple communications with complexity on another level so much so that when I am called upon to participate in anything online, the ten minutes prior to the call sees me testing and preparing for the call!

Working for nearly all my business life at Tandem Computers I was involved one way or another with Systems Network Architecture (SNA). For nearly three decades this had been the premier communications solution for enterprises globally and even as IBM owned the architecture and dictated the protocols and supporting services, you couldn’t argue against SNA’s popularity. Furthermore, while it had been the presence of email that proved to be the enticement that sealed the deal when it came to joining Tandem Computers, it was the industry recognition that apart from IBM itself Tandem had the best SNA product offerings of any vendor. Cool! However it was only a matter of a few years later that I had to oversee the reduction of investment in SNA offerings on Tandem as the company shifted R&D behind the appearance of TCP/IP and this led to numerous traumatic encounters within the Cupertino campus.

However it has been the industries acceptance of TCP/IP to underpin all of the communication we depend upon today that has led to the explosion of material we can access today. Talking with my good friends at IR and the work they have done to fine-tune Prognosis to better monitor Voice over IP (VoIP) and the IP telephone networks that are blossoming within enterprises worldwide is but one example that comes with rationalizing networks. It was the fodder for many articles published in the 1980s when predictions about the integration of voice and data were all the rage but now, some three decades later, it’s almost a given that communications will be carried over IP whether data, voice, video or simply text messages.

When I turn to my iPAD among the very first things I do is check on the news published by The Sydney Morning Herald even though it has been a very long time since I last resided in that beautiful city. No matter where you live or where your interests lie, you can always check the news as publications worldwide have gone digital and can be universally accessed from any smartphone or tablet. 
Of late I have written about anniversaries as at this time of the year they just seem to happen. My last post to this blog was about wrapping up ten years of posts to this social media communications channel. A little earlier I had started my ninth year of posting to the Pyalla social blog that of late is attracting an even wider audience as some of the topics covered in the post are touching on current business issues. Without the ease with which you can create and publish content, I doubt I would have stayed the course and perhaps had few options open to me when launching Pyalla Technologies.

I still recall the reception I received at one of the last European ITUG Summits held in Brighton, alongside the English Channel, where I gave a keynote presentation only to have colleagues come up to me with counts of how many times I referenced blogs! Ten years ago there were few blogs being published with none focused on NonStop. How the world has changed and there should be no excuse for any member of the NonStop community not to be well-informed about everything that is taking place in the world of NonStop as many such blogs exist today!

Getting balanced information is always an issue – is the source of the story legitimate? Was the information cross checked? Fortunately, for the NonStop community there is a very vocal core of NonStop adherents that it is very rare indeed that anything misleading or simply dead-wrong makes it into the public domain. It is this active peer review process that ensures what we read is both accurate and useful. Even opinion columns of which this blog is typical attracts attention very quickly when the storyline strays a little too far off topic or descends into murky waters with little understanding of the subject matter. So too is the case today with the digital publication, NonStop Insider.

Hard to believe but with the upcoming issue the first full year of publication has been completed with no signs that there will be any letup in the topics being covered. With NonStop Insider Year 1, Issue #12, about to be wrapped up already sights are set on subject matter for inclusion in the first issue of Year 2. Much of the credit has to go to those NonStop community members who have worked with the editorial team on submissions. While almost everything makes it into an issue, a careful eye is kept on the directions some contributors take – after all, the overriding theme for NonStop Insider is NonStop - and when it comes to communicating anything at all on NonStop, there is a very clear bias favoring positive storylines.

Credit too must be given to the management team at TCM Solutions. They were present day one when the decision was made to product NonStop Insider and without their logistic support together with technical knowhow, NonStop Insider would still be an idea sketched on a whiteboard. At every step of the way they have been supporting this digital publication and many of their ideas are now captured in recent issues – and there are more good ideas about to be implemented. As it turns out, working with TCM has proved to be a whole lot of fun as well so that too helps with putting in the effort to ensure a quality publication reaches the NonStop community. The idea for “NonStop CEOs have their say” was first articulated by TCM and we are pleased with how well this has been received among CEOs of NonStop vendors.

The world of business communications has changed considerably through the decades – who remembers waiting anxiously each month for their copy of Datamation to arrive in their mail slot (and yes, do we even have mail slots anymore)? To say we have gone digital may not tell the whole story. When it comes to providing “useful and important information” we have come so far as we look back at how little information was available to us just a couple of decades ago. For a highly specialized product like NonStop to have attracted the variety of publications that it has of late is encouragement of itself – who remembers wishing to read anything at all about NonStop in the “papers” – is remarkable but pleasing all the same. And if as yet you haven’t taken a look at NonStop Insider or become a subscriber then it is not too late to check it out for yourself at:

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