Thursday, February 16, 2012

A connected community …

The surprise for the NonStop community with the explosive growth of tablet and smartphone usage is that really – well, it’s a surprise! Read on …

It’s proving hard, near impossible, to escape the impact of mobile devices. Whether it’s a visit to the local coffee shop, waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store, or standing alongside your car pumping gas – a quick look around will provide ample evidence that today few of us can be seen without a mobile device in our hand or to our ear.

As a source of transactions the evidence is overwhelming – even the local auto shop around the corner accepts all of its payments via the Square card plugged into the top of the iPhone. And there’s little curiosity anymore when a business traveler walks up to the TSA agents at security screening and shows them their mobile phone holding their boarding pass. As discussions continue over the merit of mobile payments and electronic wallets, the role our phones, and perhaps tablets, will play in the way we live will only continue to gain momentum.

However, what it does highlight is standards. By now we are all familiar with UPS codes, with RFID tags and even NFC as is used today in pursuit of contactless payments. Being mobile and being able to pursue commerce seems such a natural extension to how we have always done business, and with the standards in place for pretty much anything we want to do, there’s not going to be a limit to how pervasive they will become. Yes, it’s a mobile world.

For the NonStop community this holds a couple of surprises as well as the potential to really amplify the value proposition that comes from deploying NonStop. Surprises? Well, perhaps the biggest surprise is that for most of us within the NonStop community, there is no surprises. By this I mean to imply that, with the modern NonStop Server we have today, HP has provided us with a platform where network support is already in place – it’s easy to connect to NonStop!

And this is goodness, as with the explosive growth of smart mobile devices, phones and tablets, the volume of transactions to be processed will only increase – and database will increase in size accordingly, with not much of the new requirements being placed on NonStop – it is ready!. When I asked comForte’s Thomas Burg last week about what he thought the impact of the increased usage of mobile devices would be, he was hard pressed to think of any “While I do see tablet usage on the rise, I find it very hard to see the impact on NonStop. Or, on comForte either,” was Burg’s initial response.

This is exactly the right answer as it is also an underlying reason why mobile devices have become as popular as they are – getting to information whether it is a bank account, a music of video download, or simply texting a friend, the infrastructure that has grown up around these devices has been almost immediate and automatic. Simply because good protocols and services were already in place – from HTML to XML to all the work done embracing a services orientation as we see today with SOA.

Yes, tablets may still require a terminal emulator to access some applications, but this is true of even the lowliest desktop PC. In general, if there’s support on the mobile device for a browser, then access to the wider world is instantaneous. It really is a testament to just how far NonStop has progressed on its modernization transformation journey.

There was a time not so long ago when at a user event exhibitors prided themselves on having the technology in place to support a simple iPAQ interacting with NonStop and demonstrating limited operator functionality. But not anymore – with NonStop supporting all the protocols we associate with the Internet and the World Wide Web, access has become a relatively trivial pursuit.

However, what will get our attention in the corporate world where NonStop becomes this easily accessed is security. When this topic was first broached it generated quite a different response from comForte’s Burg. “When it comes to the matter of ‘authentication’ in a corporate environment – how do you make sure only the proper iPads get access to the corporate resources? Yes, from a technical standpoint, there are a couple of standards being designed,” Burg explained. “Perhaps, even the potential for NonStop to have a real shot at playing an important ‘security gateway’ role.”

It was only a few years ago where conversations like this would never have included NonStop but so much has changed and for that, the NonStop community is appreciative just as the task of explaining the continuation of a role for NonStop within the corporate world has become a lot easier. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, walking through corporate data centers the presence and impact of NonStop will become as hard to escape as is today the presence of the mobile devices!


  1. Yes,this would be a hot topic in short future. More and more of nonstop guys own a couple of pieces of tablets, currently there are 3 main OS/platforms: iOS/iPad; Android; QNX/BlackBerry Playbook; Windows 8 will also join this line in later this year. Besides the functions like Internet surfing, email, gaming, video, more and more applications are developing on tablets. For us tandem guys, VPN and an emulator to access tandem servers will be dreaming for.

  2. As for 'For us tandem guys, VPN and an emulator to access tandem servers will be dreaming for' - check the lads at comForte as they may be a little further down the track on this than is generally known ....

    But yes, there's really no surprises here - I see the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones as just new sources for transactions and for more direct involvement in the transaction path.

    Check out an earlier post to ATMmarketplac:

  3. @Victor, as Richard indicated we are not quite ready to go public with our soon-to-be presented alpha release. Please feel free to contact me at to get some information right now.