Monthly Archives March 2014

25 Years of the World Wide Web

Anyone reading this blog post right now knows the significance of the World Wide Web. It’s an invention that has revolutionized our world and given rise to seemingly boundless creativity, innovation, collaboration and knowledge — but it hasn’t yet reached its full potential. Father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, named some of the key challenges we still face:

  • How do we connect the nearly two-thirds of the planet who can’t yet access the Web?
  • Who has the right to collect and use our personal data, for what purpose and under what rules?
  • How do we create a high-performance open architecture that will run on any device, rather than fall back into proprietary alternatives?

Berners-Lee and the Web Foundation are launching the net-neutrality Web We Want campaign to promote changes in public policy to make sure the web stays open, free and accessible. In his guest blog post for Google Berners-Lee writes, “On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more at and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.”

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The Quantified Cow: The Internet of Things for the Dairy Industry

The future is here. We’ve all heard about the Internet of Things, another buzz word circulating the tech community recently. Although technically in existence for more than two decades, the Internet of Things movement has gained greater momentum in the last few years—most notably stepping into a bigger spotlight with Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Nest Labs, a home device company responsible for the best-selling Nest thermostat. By keeping track of manually inputted temperature settings and surrounding environmental data like room humidity and lighting, Nest eventually collects enough data to learn the daily behavior and preferences of the residents in the home.

These ideas tie into the concept of the Quantified Self, the movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life. Things like daily food consumption, quality of surrounding air, blood oxygen levels, physical and mental performance, and even mood and arousal can be tracked, measured and analyzed—all in the name of improving daily functions and making better decisions (or maybe just nodding thoughtfully at the data instead).

Milking the Benefits in the Dairy Industry

So how does the Quantified Self and the Internet of Things fit with cows, pastures, farmers and milk? Three words: robotic milking machines. Dutch company Lely, self-proclaimed innovators in agriculture, created the Astronaut A4, a state-of-the-art “fully automated milk harvester.” Although the robotic milking machine will set you back about $200,000, the Lely Astronaut A4 collects a large range of cow data to help dairy farmers make better decisions regarding milk production and herd management.

cow 300x168 The Quantified Cow: The Internet of Things for the Dairy Industry

The A4 keeps track of each individual cow’s feeding and health history, preventing cows from sneaking back into the machine for more food if they return too close to their last visit. The system tracks different variables on each cow as it’s being milked: its weight, milk production, time required for milking, amount of feed eaten, and how long the cow chews on its cud. If there’s a health issue with one of the herd, farmers can isolate the problem right away. The machine collects data on the milk itself too, checking the color fat and protein content, temperature, somatic cell count and overall quality.

Equipped with access to more data, dairy farmers are able to gain greater knowledge into their industry and thus maximize outputs. All of this data have translated to better decision-making for the farmers, better quality control of milk production and generally happier cows—and who doesn’t want happy cows? Having a machine do the work allows farmers to focus their energy elsewhere too, freeing up time for really anything else. The trend is clear: as the technology continues to get better, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more quantifiable and actionable data. Quantified Self, the movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of not only a person’s daily life, but a cow’s daily life as well.

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Take Our CIO & Big Data Survey (and win $100 Amazon gift cards)

We learned a lot from our 2013 CIOs & Big Data report — for instance, that 96% of enterprises have Big Data in their top 10 priorities list, but 55% of Big Data projects aren’t completed. This year we’re interested in seeing if the stats have changed, and we want to hear from you.

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162e2ef6 f2d3 4701 97b7 4fd140b7a864 Take Our CIO & Big Data Survey (and win $100 Amazon gift cards)