For those of you looking for the slides from my "What is Bitcoin" presentation, you may find them here: What is Bitcoin (pdf).
What follows below is a paper I wrote in Spring 2014 for a Business Outsourcing Course at UNLV. I apologize in advance for the less then perfect formatting.
The concept of currency dates as far back as 12,000 B.C. when raw materials were exchanged for tools. The need for currency is best represented by the classical economic problem of the double coincidence of wants. Joe wants a fish and has wheat to trade while Jane wants wheat but does not have the fish that Joe wants. This problem causes great economic stress unless a common unit of trade (currency) is introduced to the transaction.
As currency systems evolved, the modern day system whereby nation states control the money supply came to be. Prevailing economic theory is that the money supply must be liquid and controlled in such a way that inflation can be managed. This cornerstone economic ideal of the 20th century is being turned on its head with the invention of cryptographic based currencies such as Bitcoin. Deflationary by nature, the supply of Bitcoin is mathematically predictable and unchangeable.
Much debate has ensued over the viability of such a fixed supply currency but the application of the technology as a currency may be only scratching the surface. In this paper we take a brief look at the history of digital currency, explain the core innovations introduced by Bitcoin, and discuss the possible disruptions that its creation may fuel.
One of the IT projects I was recently involved in was replacing our aging phone systems. Ultimately we decided on a cloud-hosted VoIP PBX from Vocalocity, but as with most journeys the end result was not the most interesting part.
With the exception of an old security camera system, our company is now completely IP based. Data, video, and voice all travel over a shared IP network via common switches and wiring. Moving forward this should greatly reduce wiring costs and the need for costly rip & replace jobs. Interestingly however, this has spawned some internal debate over the future of communications.
As the world moves away from land line phone services (please move faster, world), I feel the age old schema of telephone numbers and their routing paradigms are ready for death. Does it makes sense in today's age to have a business phone number, cell phone number, and home phone number? Why should my mobile phone have a fixed area code, that supposedly tells a caller where I am calling from? With the growing use of telecommuting this can be applied to business phone lines just as well.
When data travels over the Internet, it does not cost the user a single penny more to reach a site in another continent then it does his neighbor's home web server. Long distance (and even international) calling is a dying concept and I can't wait for its glorious day of defeat.
And that brings me to the most interesting part, if Long distance calling is an idea that will soon be dead, how will communications look in the future? I believe SIP addresses and Google Voice hold some important clues. A SIP address is an alternative to a telephone number for a VoIP based endpoint (think internet telephone). They can look much like an email address (ex: "sip:firstname.lastname@example.org"), but you can literally dial a SIP address to initiate a voice/video call. Google Voice on the other end allows a user to setup rules that allow them to screen calls. Rules can be setup to block certain callers, forward other callers directly to voicemail, or disable ringing different endpoints during different times of the day.
So with all that, here is my prediction for communications in 2025:
- Traditional desk phones will still exist but will morph into large touchscreen devices that are driven by your computer (laptop/desk pc) and are more of an accessory than a stand-alone communication device.
- Each endpoint (cell phones, desk phones, PC's) will have HD video cameras and every call will be capable of video.
- Traditional voice service on cell phones and land lines will be completely replaced by data services - after all why should a carrier maintain voice and data networks if data itself can also support voice and video?
- Phone numbers will be replaced with a globally accessible SIP/email type address. The provider issuing you an address (3rd party or the company you work for) will provide tools that allow you to screen based on the caller, domain (@oceancold.com), time of day, and your own availability/presence.
- The lines between Voice/Video/Text communication will completely blur as your one address allows Unified communication via all media forms and allows your contacts to see your presence info (out to lunch/away/etc) in real time.
- Your new unified communication address will allow for new levels of integrated communications such as desktop sharing, collaborative white boarding, and real time document sharing/editing.
These may be pipe-dream ideas but if (a very big if - given the fragmentation present today) the different players in the communication arena can come together with support behind a unified communication address, big things will be on the horizon.
That is the best way to describe a true Business Intelligence project. As business processes and applications change, the need for steady development and re-engineering of any centralized BI solution is a constant.
One such project has been a big time sink of mine over the past 18 months, growing and adapting to the changing landscape that describes our (Ocean Cold's) operations. Equally juxtaposed to the frequently changing business processes is the frequently changing inventory management system we are using, Datex Footprint. With each new version comes changes to the database schema and new entities that can be exposed through new Fact/Dimension relationships. A rapid software release cycle ensures that there is always new things on the horizon.