Tuesday, November 22, 2011

High, or low, value - all transactions are valuable …

I am travelling through Europe and visiting new places and I have been reminded of how the value proposition of NonStop remains as relevant today as it ever has … checking out of a hotel and finding the authorization network offline (for Visa and Am Ex) had the staff scrambling for the old card impression swipe-machines!

It was only a few weeks back where I first wrote of how much I was looking forward to my upcoming trip to Europe and of comparisons made to former times when those in Europe simply referred to what I was planning to do as The Grand Tour. Separately, in email exchanges with others I promised to work into the story line more observations about Italy, Croatia and the other places I visited. Now that I am mid-journey I can begin to make good on these promises and how expectations have developed – good and bad.

Since I have also covered some of this ground in a recent post to Real Time View, I will not revisit everything but I will say that Croatia came as a complete and pleasant surprise. It proved to be a place I hope I am able to visit again at some future time. Unfortunately, while in the early post on The Grand Tour I had suggested that I would be looking from ATM’s from Intesa Sanpaolo – good friends of comForte and who have enjoyed their partnership with them – I didn’t come across any during the stops I made, but I was quite surprised by just how many different financial institutions had installed their own branded ATMs even among some of the oldest buildings I have visited.

However, this post is not just about the travels, but before I continue I would like to briefly revisit the subject matter of the last post, “Of things” where I discussed just how connected we had all become and how the information being gathered about us is escalating. Yes, the many ATMs I came across were just one example of this, but there’s more. In that post I briefly referred to RFIDs but did qualify my comments when I opened with “putting to one side for one moment the whole issue of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and how it is finding acceptance but when you start to consider just how networked the world has already become, you cannot help thinking that with simple technologies, there’s even more that will be networking in the future!”

Yes it did generate some observations firstly from within comForte (before I even posted to the blog) and then later, by others where comments were received. From my perspective, I wasn’t suggesting that the growth in RFIDs per se would lead to more dependence on NonStop – I see RFID’s coming through several layers of concentrators before ever touching a NonStop - but rather, the pertinent information they produce and of interest to users will find its way into the databases of large servers and there’s no reason why a percentage of these cannot be NonStop.

A signal from a container may be missed and the significance of it may not at first be apparent. Nor is the signal from a box of bolts proceeding down a line to an assembly point. But if you are Boeing and need to be absolutely sure which bolt made it onto which 787, the significance isn’t trivial. Just as if the container wasn’t carrying bags of rice but flat-screen TVs or premium Scotch whisky. Whether of high or low value, all transactions are valuable. There will always be value in transactions no matter how miniscule and it may only ever be in the eye of the beholder but all the same, to that user, at that specific time even the lowliest of transactions has value.

Yes, the info will flow through several layers of concentrators before touching database servers but the capturing of signals is only one aspect of what is occurring across our very modern world. The feeds from CCTVs, the exchanges made on our phones whether voice, data or video and the output from our GPSs are all of interest to one party or another. Whether it’s all legally acquired or not I will leave to others – all that I know is that it’s out there, it’s growing and it’s of great commercial value. But will these fuel new, modern solutions on NonStop? Will NonStop continue to be relevant when it comes to these latest most modern of transaction sources?

The NonStop community has witnessed a rich variety of options come from the solutions and middleware vendors operating in the NonStop marketplace and I am sure that through working with end users and from the partnerships that may develop directly with them as well as with other vendors, there will be even greater choice in the future. Changes continue to come from this community as new allegiances are forged and I see no letup in this process any time soon. My recent conversations with comForte suggest that this process is well understood by the comForte executives and they are among the few vendors with the presence across today’s global marketplace well-positioned to capitalize on any changes that arise.

“We continue to monitor what is developing today in terms of new sources of transactions,” comForte’s Thomas Gloerfeld reminded me before adding “it is not as if comForte isn’t aware that more can come through greater leverage of partnerships just as it’s still a little early for the company to be too specific about what will happen next. But when it comes to alliances and partnerships, the process is always on-going.”

There’s still more to see on my Grand Tour and shortly I will be in Rome. And like every traveler, shortly my bags will be tagged and I will keep my fingers crossed that they make it safely to mu next destination. Whatever the source of data is, no matter how it is collected, we simply cannot do as much as we do today as simply as we do it – and yet, how many of us would like to return to the past with paper tickets, traveler’s checks, and letters of credit!

HP has done a terrific job in making the essential NonStop Server as modern as any other platform and vendors such as comForte provides many of the tools to take better advantage of NonStop – so when do we see the NonStop community reaching consensus that yes, the transition from Tandem to NonStop has been completed and yes, the validity of NonSto to provide the solutions we need in today’s business world is unquestionable! Now, where is that ATM? I know it’s around here somewhere …

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