Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age

Michael Hugos, Principal, Center for Systems Innovation | 2/5/2014 | 30 comments

Michael Hugos
At present we are living in the twilight of the Industrial Age from the last century, just as people in 1914 were living in the twilight of the Victorian Age from the century before that. In many ways the 20th century did not really start until 1914, and perhaps it will be in this year of 2014 that we see the real start of the 21st century.

In 1914, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo triggered World War I and a chain of events that dramatically demonstrated the power of the new technologies of that time. It ushered in a new age.

There had been wars before, but what caught everyone by surprise was how World War I became such a point of focus for applying new technologies. They created a new kind of war that was far more deadly and destructive than anything seen before. It marked the start of the Industrial Age.

Now in 2014, I find myself wondering what kind of incident today could draw the whole world into some momentous chain of events. This incident, whatever it might be, does not have to lead to war again. There is already lots of warfare going on at great cost, and it’s producing very little in the way of results. Maybe we are collectively even getting a bit tired of war.

As I see it, the big incident and the resulting chain of events that really marks the start of the 21st century will stir up strong emotions around the world. In 1914, the assassination stirred up strong emotions of pride and national patriotism that drove people and nations to take sides and begin fighting with each other. What strong emotions today could motivate us and drive us to do something other than make war? How could we apply new technologies -- real-time, mobile, social, big data -- to create something more powerful than anything we have seen before?

The new age of this century will occur when we focus on combining the strengths and capabilities of these technologies to create something bigger than the sum of the individual parts. The true significance and full potential of all this technology is not so much to be found in any one technology, but in the synergies that arise from combinations of technologies. Remember, the Industrial Age was not so much about individual factories, railroads, and steel mills but about what happened when all those things were combined into larger, interconnected systems of production.

Diving into the details of cloud computing or mobile devices or social media or big data or some new app tends to miss their larger significance. That significance becomes clear only when we explore what can be created with different combinations of these technologies. In articles this year, I’ll explore interesting combinations and show what those combinations can do when they are applied to specific business problems in areas like marketing, sales, product design, manufacturing, and supply chain management.

Whether the big event that ushers in the new age happens this year, or next year, or the year after, it hardly matters. We can be sure that something will happen, and when it does, it will create a point of intense focus. We face problems that are ecological, economical, political, and social. We feel the increasing urgency to do something more than business as usual to respond to these problems. One or more of them will trigger an incident, and then a chain of events will stir emotions on a global scale. When this happens, we will apply the full power of our new technologies to respond, and in doing so, the next age that comes after the Industrial Age will be born.

The answers we develop for these problems will be made possible by technologies that have already emerged in the last 10 years. Combinations of real-time, mobile, social, and big-data technologies are going to drastically change the way companies organize themselves and perform work in the coming decades of this century. The archetypal corporate cube farm of the late 20th century, that monument to bureaucracy and wasted effort as portrayed by TV shows like The Office, will fade away as companies find other ways to organize and operate.

Now is a great time to be in the information technology biz for people who can figure out how to create powerful combinations of technologies and apply them to solve the problems that confront us. What we now call the Information Age is only a variation on the old Industrial Age, because most companies are still using information technology primarily to improve traditional industrial processes by lowering costs and increasing productivity.

That’s fine, but it’s no longer enough. The new age that this century will be known for is going to create completely new products and services that will enable completely new ways of working and living. Great fortunes will be made by those who deliver those products and services.

I don't really know what we'll call this new age. I’m sure it will be named in some way for the technologies that make it possible, but I think we'll need to come up with a shorter and catchier title than "real-time, mobile, social, big-data age."

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Michael Hugos   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/25/2014 6:56:06 PM
Re: Emotional solidarity
@kstaron - Hear, hear... I second that motion.

User Ranking: Blogger
kstaron   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/25/2014 5:18:16 PM
Emotional solidarity
I can only hope it is something good to bring about this strong showing of emotions, but too often it is things like war or some tragedy that bring the human race together in emotional solidarity. Even within my lifetime I have seen so much change in technology and what it has allowed us to do, and my children have not known a day where there wasn't a computer and the internet and phone in mommy's purse. So I hope when that pivotal shift comes to move to even this level of technology to it's next age, it is something wonderful and amazing instead of tragic and horrible.
tekedge   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/20/2014 7:09:51 PM
Birth of the Real Time< mobile , Social, Big Data Age
The big change is already started, what is the piviotal point for everything to change is immaterial.Already high school kids using the different resources and trying to come up  with something different to further technology It  is so awesome to watch. They are starting younger and younger and very soon something will bring the big change so this century starts looking Victorian to them....
MDMConsult   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/20/2014 12:36:43 PM
Re: new age?
Customers are more empowered socially today with information making in purchases. Organization's use digital technology in implementing customer centric experiences. Reaching across multiple channels and platforms is in high demand by consumers. 
soozyg   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 3:59:24 PM
Re: article
Now i have to watch the movie.
Michael Hugos   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 2:53:42 PM
Re: article
Soozyg - I hear you. They make me nervous too for all those reasons. That's why we passed the Antitrust Acts at the turn of the last century - monopolies stiffle competition and fix prices...

We'll have to stay engaged and figure this out. Single line answers won't always be helpful because of the complexity and newness of everything. But if we aren't careful most of us will wind up like the Matt Damon character at the start of the movie Elysium.

User Ranking: Blogger
soozyg   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 2:39:25 PM
Re: article
Michael, i just don't like monopolies. They make me very uncomfortable. Out where I live, the only choice for cable/tv/phone is Optimum or Direct TV. And Optimum is so expensive and their stuff breaks down all the time.....
Michael Hugos   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 2:15:23 PM
Re: article
Soozyg - thank you, I do cut a dashing figure on a soapbox don't I...

And YES most companies, some that even think they are big, don't have a clue what to do with all this new tech. Big data is about more than just putting cookies on my PC and stalking me with goofy ads just because I visited a website or stayed at a hotel.

And YES the pace is picking up. Companies still trying to figure out if they are going to allow their people to use smartphones or use the cloud or all sorts of other once important and now increasingly irrelevant questions, are going to get blind sided by how quickly things are changing and how easy it is to become lost.

User Ranking: Blogger
soozyg   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 1:54:11 PM
Re: article
Michael, you're looking quite confident on your soapbox....

And what's scary about the monopolies is that they the resources to deal with Big Data, especially. Most companies don't even know what to do with it and will get behind really fast.
Michael Hugos   Birth of the Real-Time, Mobile, Social, Big-Data Age   2/13/2014 12:20:40 PM
Re: article
Hi soozyg - I feel your pain. And yet consider this - is Comcast a cable TV company or a global telecom provider or a home entertainment company? It's all of those and more - because it has to be to compete with everyone from Google to Apple to Netflix and Verizon.

For the first time we are seeing real-time competition on a global scale in industries outside of finance and stock trading. There is a lot of merging and acquiring goin on between what once seemed big companies who now realize they have to get even bigger because the game they play is not just in North America but is global. Yikes...

These things are gonna happen - they are propelling us into the real start of the new century. It's 2014 and events are happening and we're seeing things we never saw before. Welcome to the 21st century. It's going to be a wild ride. And it's going to be brought to us courtesy of the new technologies that make this century possible - real-time, mobile, social, big-data. 

(soozyg - all that said, please excuse me for climbing up on my soapbox here...)

User Ranking: Blogger
Page 1 / 3   >   >>

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Michael Hugos
Michael Hugos   3/11/2014   9 comments
CIOs and COOs generally play a more supporting role than their more glamorous counterparts in marketing, sales, and finance. You can turn that to an advantage if you want to build a better ...
Michael Hugos   3/5/2014   15 comments
CFOs can appear to be a smug and self-assured bunch, but underneath that smug exterior there lurks much uncertainty and doubt.
Michael Hugos   2/25/2014   26 comments
In our continuing series about whom the CIO should make friends with, the next most pressured person in your company (behind the CMO) is probably the VP of Sales. There might be ways to ...
Michael Hugos   2/19/2014   21 comments
If you are a CIO who wants to ensure your place in the organization, a good place to start is with the CMO. That is because the CMO is most likely the C-suite executive under the most ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
[email protected]
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.