Apple puts its environmental initiatives front and centre at its spring event

 

LisaJacksonAppleRenewableEnergyApple held it’s annual spring event yesterday in Palo Alto to make iPhone, iPad, and iOS related announcements (amongst others).

However, this year for a change the first executive invited to address the audience was Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, former EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson.

Lisa was greeted by warm applause which became more enthusiastic when she announced that 93% of Apple’s facilities worldwide are now powered by renewable energy. This means Apple is now well on its way to achieving its stated aim of being fully renewably powered globally. And in 23 countries, including the United States and China, Apple is already 100% renewably powered.

In China Jackson explained, Apple has a 40MW solar farm which has a minimal impact on the local environment, and allows for the local Yak farmers to graze their animals and grow hay under the panels (seen above). This solar farm produces more electricity than Apple uses currently in all of China.

Apple’s data centres are also fully renewably powered, and it has a policy of siting new data centres only if the site has access to renewable power. This was one of the reasons behind Apple’s choosing Ireland and Denmark for its two newest data centres last year.

In fact, since hiring Jackson away from the EPA, Apple has made some extremely positive moves in reducing its footprint, and greatly increasing its transparency. This focus on transparency may go some of the way to explaining Apple’s decision last week to move a significant portion of its iCloud storage business away from notoriously opaque Amazon to Google (although, it is as likely to do with diversifying suppliers, moving to a supplier more in line with Apple’s views on data privacy, and possibly easing the transition to eventually self-hosting the data).

Jackson also talked about Apple’s investments in forestry, and how Apple are using paper sourced from sustainably farmed forests for 99% of its packaging now.

Apple is demonstrating tremendous leadership in the energy and sustainability space (as well as the privacy space, but that another story!). Kudos to them, and interestingly Amazon appears to be finally getting around to supplying some of its operations with renewable energy too – though, it still shuns any kind of auditing or reporting on its energy and emissions. Sigh, maybe someday after seeing Apple put their environmental initiatives front and centre, Amazon will also see the value of doing this.

More prestigious speaking engagements

I recently received an invitation to address the bi-annual meeting of the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) in Athens.

CEPIS, if you are not familiar with it is

a non-profit organisation seeking to improve and promote a high standard among ICT professionals, in recognition of the impact that ICT has on employment, business and society. CEPIS currently represents 33 member societies in 32 countries across greater Europe. Through its members, who are the professional ICT bodies at national level, CEPIS represents 450,000 ICT professionals

Quite an honour to be asked to address them.

This got me to thinking of all the prestigious talks I’ve given in the last few months.

I addressed the European Commission’s European technology platform for Smart Grids on Energy Digitalisation last November.

DrivingATesla

I addressed the TeslaWorld event in Antwerp last year (see video above). This was a spectacular event with two Tesla Model S cars on either side of the stage, a phenomenal line-up of speakers, and I got to drive a Tesla on the way back to the airport! So that was pretty awesome, and I have to admit to seeing my Prius in a less favourable light when I arrived home 😦

I gave the opening keynote at the SAP for Utilities event in Huntington Beach last September on the topic of The convergence of the Internet of Things and Energy, and I was bowled over by the positive feedback I received afterwards from the attendees.

And I was very honoured to be asked to be the keynote speaker at the EclipseCon event in Toulouse last year.

There were other events I spoke at last year as well (SAP TechEd and ThingMonk off the top of my head).

But with the CEPIS invite, and another I’m not allowed to reveal just yet, 2016 is definitely shaping up to be an even better year for speaking engagements!

 

Libelium launches its IoT Marketplace to make Internet of Things projects as painless as possible

In a time when Spain’s economy is in the doldrums, it is nice to see some good news coming out of the Iberian peninsula, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) space – technology’s new hotness!

Libelium, an IoT hardware and software provider based in the North of Spain, and recently profiled in a Financial Times piece where they were referred to as a “baby unicorn”, just announced that it has launched an IoT Marketplace.

The marketplace currently has 15 boxed IoT solutions for sale, but Libelium plans to increase this to 50 as the year progresses.

The solutions cover the Smart Cities, Smart Environment, Smart Parking, Smart Agriculture, Smart Water, and Air Quality verticals.

LibeliumMarketplacePurchase

As well as the kits covering verticals, there are also Application Development kits for developing IoT solutions for Microsoft Azure, esri, IBM Bluemix, Thingworx, and Telefonica’s cloud platforms.

And there specific Solution kits created together with partners like Indra, Thing+, IOTSENS, and elementblue. These kits include pre-configured hardware to speed up time to live.

In a move likely to be popular with their customers, Libelium took advantage of existing partnerships with cloud providers to ensure that kits were available with trial access to cloud offerings. This cleverly allows Marketplace customers to try the different cloud platforms, seeing which one works well, before buying.

And, this is a true marketplace. Clicking on the Buy button, brings the user to a screen with fields for entering credit card details, or using a Paypal account to buy the kit (I didn’t attempt to purchase an actual kit, so I can’t verify that part of the site works, but I’ve no reason to think it doesn’t).

I asked Libelium CEO Alicia Asín about the genesis of the marketplace and she explained that Libelium’s VARs were often not finding it easy to sell solutions to customers because they were working from a 70+ page catalog, and architecting a solution for a customer wasn’t something they were necessarily comfortable doing.

So in order to make it easier to come up with the right equipment Libelium launched a trial with four vertical kits last year in June. Despite being launched half way through the year, they were some of the company’s top selling products by the year’s end, and so the marketplace was born.

This marketplace idea is an interesting one for organisations looking to run a pilot or proof of concept, without too much risk. The variety of hardware, communications standards, and software protocols to be taken into account in any significant IoT project can be daunting, and any attempt to simplify this should be lauded.

 

Using the Internet of Things to keep people safe

At the 2014 SAP TechEd && d-code event in Las Vegas, I spoke to Dr Severin Kezeu of SK Solutions. His company has developed an Internet of Things based safety technology which has been deployed on building sites throughout the world.

What it does is to send in realtime, the positions of all vehicles, and workers on site, so that in the case a potential collision is detected, action can be taken to avert the collision, thereby saving expensive equipment, and more importantly, keeping people safe.

For a short time only…

 

Yesterday was my last day working for RedMonk. I headed up RedMonk’s cleantech, energy and sustainability practice which we called GreenMonk, for almost eight years, but all good things must come to an end.

Here’s some of what I got up to while I was with RedMonk.

I’m fortunate now that I’m talking to a number of people about next steps, and some exciting opportunities are already starting to present themselves. However, if you know of something you think could be interesting for me, or some organisation that you feel could do with my help, do please let me know.

Nothing has been signed yet, so all possibilities will be considered 🙂

My contact details are:

Email – tom@tomraftery.com

Mob – +34 677 695 468

Skype – TomRaftery

Twitter – @TomRaftery

LinkedIn – http://es.linkedin.com/in/tomraftery

My blogging will resume here once more, and I’ll drop the occasional post over on Medium as well, so do feel free to follow me there too.

 

 

 

Photo credit www.tradingacademy.com

Word Cloud of all my Tweets to-date

Word cloud of my 42,051 tweets to-date Word cloud of my 42,051 tweets to-date

Twitter announced last December that they were going to make it possible for any Twitter user to download a full archive of all their tweets.

Since then I have been occasionally checking my Settings in Twitter to see if the Your Twitter archive option had yet appeared, and today it did. Wohoo! The option when clicked, creates your archive, and then emails you a link to download it in zipped form.

I downloaded the archive and was delighted to find all my Tweets there (right back to my less than profound first Tweet!). *cringe*

Even more useful is that the archive is searchable and it contains links to the original tweets on Twitter.

I mentioned this on Facebook where Darren Barefoot spotted it and commented that he’d created a word cloud from his archive. Nice idea I thought.

He wrote a blog post on how to do this which boils down to:

  1. Concatenate the csv files in the data->csv folder into a single file (you can do this on a Mac by issuing “cat *.csv > outputfile” in Terminal)
  2. Sort and delete the surplus headings from your concatenated file and
  3. Copy the text of your tweets into the Create field in Wordle*

I was interested to see in the word cloud which emerged just how much I use the old style RT.

Other nice take-aways for me from this are that my Twitter stream seems to use mostly positive words (Thanks, good and great are some of the most used words in my stream), and that I seem to talk to @dahowlett, and @monkchips most of all (and for some reason I seem to talk to myself (@tomraftery) a lot too – first sign of madness?

Ok, now I have my archive down, I may need to do some more slicing and dicing on the Tweets – anyone have any suggestions for interesting things to look for?

Also, I need to check if the archive download link which Twitter emailed me is a perpetually updating archive, or if it was a point in time link. Hopefully the former.

*You will need to have Java turned on for this to work

My Twitter ‘Magic Number” is 16, what’s yours?

Twitter post

Twitter is a superb medium for getting a message out.

And it’s RT (ReTweet) convention means that tweets can go viral very quickly. However, if you want to be ReTweeted, you need to make it easy or people won’t do it.

What do I mean?

Well, if you have a tendency to fill up your 140 character allowance in your tweets, the chances are that you won’t be ReTweeted much – why? Because people wanting to ReTweet you will have to do work (edit the post) to get it to fit within their own 140 character limit! Reduce that workload by ensuring that your Tweet will fit within their 140 characters effortlessly and you will be ReTweeted more often.

Hence the Twitter “Magic Number”. What is the Twitter “Magic Number”? It is the number of unused characters you need to leave at the end of your tweet so people don’t have to edit your post if they want to ReTweet it.

My Twitter ‘magic number’ is 16 – I always try to write my tweets leaving at least 16 characters free at the end. this allows people to do a “RT @tomraftery: ” – so they can easily RT my tweets without having to edit the content to get it to fit in 140. Of course, leaving more than 16 spaces at the end of my tweets allows people to add a comment or bit of context to their RT which is even better.

How do you calculate your Twitter ‘Magic Number”? It is the number of characters in your username (11 for @tomraftery) + 5 (for the RT, the : and the requisite spaces).

Now might be a good time to take another look at your Twitter username and see if you can find a shorter one that works – obviously the smaller your ‘Magic Number’ the more you can fit in your own Tweet, while still facilitating easy RT’ing!

You should follow me on Twitter here.

How to use LinkedIn to land your dream job

Adrian Weckler Twitter Post

I was scanning Twitter this morning when I spotted a question from Adrian Weckler of the Sunday Business Post asking if anyone found LinkedIn useful and what for.

I emailed Adrian the following story of how I used LinkedIn to help me get my current job. I’ve told this story quite a few times now but having finally typed it out, I might as well blog it as well, then I could point ppl to it!!!

My wife is Spanish. She lived in Ireland with me for over 10 years before losing her head completely and saying she wanted to move back to Spain. That was in June 07. We had just enrolled our 4yr old in school for the coming Sept so we decided to give ourselves 12 months to organise the move – that way he’d also finish out his first year in school before we moved (don’t worry, I’m getting there!).

I was involved in a couple of businesses in Cork at the time, but nothing that would move with me, so I knew I needed to cast around for a new job. One that would allow me to work from Spain in English as my Spanish was poor (still is, but that’s another story!!!).

I put the word out on Twitter – but Tweets have a short half-life and that didn’t elicit much response. I also put the word out on FaceBook and I did receive on half-hearted offer of a possibility of a part-time position from a friend (but I think that was more a pity thing, than anything else tbh).

Then I decided to try LinkedIn. I took a slightly different tack there. I had built up quite a decent network there of very well known people in the Web 2.0 space internationally. I went through the list and cherry-picked about 70 of them. I sent them an email saying that I would soon be moving to Spain (this was around March 08), and that as I’d be looking for a new position, it’d be great if they would consider writing a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.

Within a few short days I had over 20 stellar recommendations on my profile. And four job offers. I interviewed with the four and narrowed it down to two I was really interested in.

Then RedMonk came along, matched the offers, and the rest as they say, is history!!!

The secret to following lots of people on Twitter

Tom Raftery Twitter profile Feb 14 2011

Twitter is a fantastic tool for disseminating information, and the obvious corollary of that is that Twitter is a superb app for consuming information as well – depending on how you use it.

What is the best way to make sure you get the most information out of Twitter? Follow lots of relevant, interesting people!

It sounds obvious (if you aren’t following people, you won’t see their posts) but I see lots of people on Twitter who are following 100 people or less. Many of those 100 will be friends and family, others will be infrequent posters so out of 100 accounts, you are lucky if 20 are regular sources of good information.

Now, what if you increase the number of people you follow to 200? Or 2,000 (I’m currently following 2778)? Well then, the number of friends/family type accounts you’re following is unlikely to increase proportionally, so as long as you chose the people to follow wisely, you will vastly increase the amount of interesting news you will be receiving from Twitter.

Now, I often hear people say they have difficulty keeping up with the number of people they are following and asking me how I follow over 2,000. The simple answer is I don’t try to keep up with all the people I follow! I dip in and out of Twitter and if the people I follow happen to post, I will likely see the post. If they post when I am not looking at Twitter, I probably won’t see their post.

And that’s fine.

The major limiting factor in trying to follow more people on Twitter is obsessively attempting to catch every tweet. Let go. Learn to live in the now and more than likely if you do miss an important tweet, it will be re-tweeted anyway.

Of course, a flipside to this is that you shouldn’t follow people simply to increase the number of people you are following. Only follow people who will bring you useful/interesting information – otherwise you are reducing the signal-to-noise ratio and similarly if you realise that someone you followed is not bringing you any value, don’t hesitate to unfollow them.

So, how do you find interesting people to follow on Twitter? That’s a topic for another blog post – stay tuned!

You should follow me on Twitter here

15 Twitter tips for beginners – updated

Twitter home page

I wrote a post a couple of years back called 15 Twitter tips for beginners which, though two years old, still has useful information for Twitter users – especially if you make sure to read all the comments as well.

Needless to say, things have moved on considerably in the intervening period – bear in mind that post was written over a year before the launch of the iPad and seven months before version 1.0 of Android was released!

So here’s a quick updated version of the tips:

  1. Start off easy by posting a few innocuous posts introducing yourself and your interests, “I’m Tom, a Social Media and Sustainability expert”, “I recently moved to Seville, anyone on here from Seville?”, – that kind of thing. Then be sure to mention why you’re using Twitter, e.g. “I hope to learn more about cleantech”, or whatever it is you are hoping to get from it.
  2. Then build up your network. Start with friends who you know to be on Twitter. Start following them. But also look at the list of people they are following. You may know some of them too, if so, follow them as well.
  3. If you precede someone’s username with the @ symbol in a post on Twitter (i.e. “@tomraftery how is it going?”) then your post appears in the @Mentions tab on their Twitter page. This works whether they are following you or not. When you @reply to someone, and they see you appear in their @Mentions tab, they are likely to check out your profile and posts and may decide to follow you. This is a very powerful way to build up your network with people who don’t necessarily know you but with whom you want to connect.
  4. Check out the TwitterGrader page for your area, for instance, if you are based in Andalucia, in the south of Spain, like me, check the TwitterGrader page for Andalucia and you’ll find some interesting people you may want to connect to, to get into the local scene.
  5. Follow some of the people there, check who they are following and talking to (@ replying to) and consider following them too.
  6. Sidenote: if you precede someone’s username with “d ” (i.e. “d tomraftery how is it going?”) this sends a private message only to them – called a direct message or DM. You can only send DMs to people who have chosen to follow you.
  7. Also, don’t be shy about asking your friends to pimp you to their followers!

  8. Then, using Twitter:

  9. On the computer use either Seesmic Desktop or TweetDeck for posting/reading posts. I prefer TweetDeck. Having said that, the Twitter web interface is still prob the best for checking people’s profiles and seeing who they follow.
  10. On the iPad /iPhone I use the Twitter iPhone client; On Android, I’m told Tweetdeck is best; and on Blackberry I hear Seesmic, Tweetcaster and Socialscope are good (though Socialscope is still in private beta) and
  11. On any phone the Twitter mobile interface and dabr – are great web-based mobile Twitter clients
  12. Always remember, if you @reply someone looking to get their attention or hoping they will follow you, they will likely click through to check out your Twitter page. There are many bots on Twitter so to weed out real/interesting users from bots I always look at a persons most recent posts to see what they are talking about (if their posts are all links to one site, forget it!), I look at the number of people they follow vs the number of people following them. If they are following 1,000 say and have very few followers, it is a sure sign that they are a bot who just auto-followed lots of people.
  13. I also check out what the person says about themselves in the bio (so, if you want people to follow you, be sure to fill in your own bio!) and click to view their website site, if they have one .
  14. If you want people to follow you, then ensure your updates are not protected. Someone coming to your Twitter page and seeing Protected Updates is very unlikely to see any reason to follow you.
  15. Purely a personal preference, but I think it is far better to use your own name on your Twitter account than a handle. It is a matter of personal branding but to my mind, a Twitter account called @JohnDoe tells me more about the user than @stargazr49!
  16. Finally, a photo is also very important on your account, be sure to add one to your profile
  17. BONUS EXTRA TIP!!! – Use your Twitter username everywhere – add it to your email sig, put it on your business cards, leave it in blog comments – don’t spam, just do it where appropriate.

FWIW I’ll be writing many more posts about Twitter best practices, with a special emphasis on Twitter for Sustainability obviously, in the coming weeks and months – stay tuned!

You should follow me on Twitter here