Friday, 14 February 2014

Changing Landscapes

Yesterday I gave the opening presentation at the UCISA Changing Landscapes event organised by the Staff Development Group and held here in Sheffield. My job was really to set the scene for the day, and I decided to outline what the "Changing Landscape" was from my perspective as an IT Director, the way these changes are affecting how we deliver services, and the impact on the skills needed by our staff and students.

As usual, I enjoyed giving the presentation, despite staying up late the night before writing it - it doesn't matter how much notice you give me (almost a year in this case), I'll still be finishing it off
right up to actually standing up and talking! Changing Landscapes was perhaps an appropriate title for a conference given the effects of the weather at the moment!  The main trends I covered were:
  • Consumerisation
  • Mobility
  • Cloud
  • Social Media
All are linked, and together with the rapid changes in technology we're seeing, are having a major impact on the way we deliver services.

To illustrate consumerisation of IT I like to find some gadgets that are around, or just being developed - a sensor in a babies nappy with tweets you when it needs changing, a football with a sensor inside to tell you how to improve your game, an internet enabled fridge which send recipes depending on what's in it to your internet enabled fridge. These all go to make up the Internet of Things I mentioned the other day, or the Internet of Useless Things as someone referred to it yesterday....

We had some interesting stats on mobile, where the number of students owning tablets or eReaders has gone up from 7% to 29% in one year. We are definitely entering the post PC era, and its expected that tablet sales will outstrip PC sales sometime this year. A recent Gartner prediction is that by 2017 there will be more words typed on glass than on keyboards. And the iPad was only released in April 2010.

 I like to showcase a bit of what we're doing here in Sheffield, so I showed how we use social media to interact with staff and students, using our Twitter feed and Facebook pages as examples where our aim is to have a conversation, and not use them merely to give out notifications. And we're looking to engage with innovative videos and infographics. No-one can forget our Save it Like a Hero video (which despite much criticism from within the department has been a huge success with the audience it was aimed at - students), and today we have a Valentine's theme to our tweets and posts - Fall in Love with Safe Computing. Sweet.

The talk was filmed, so I'll post a link when it's up, just in case anyone is interested in watching it.

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