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This syndicated post originally appeared at Yankee Group Blog » Zeus Kerravala.

I was on a flight earlier this week and watched one of my favorite movies – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It made me think about how the movie, and even the original TV shows that dated back to the 60, gave us a look into where technology was going and indeed has gone today.  I’d like to point out some of the more advanced technologies in Star Trek.

  • Virtual resource mobility. About a quarter of the way through the movie, the Reliant attacks the Enterprise and Mr. Scott tells Admiral Kirk that he’s diverting all power to life support.  A few moments later he diverts the power to phasers as they attack back.  Juxtapose the fluidity of IT resources that the Enterprise has compared to current IT environment.  Mr. Scott was able to move a compute resource — power — to the system that required it most, as business policy dictates from a centralized management console.  If Mr. Scott had to go manually move from silo to silo, the Enterprise could not have been agile enough to respond competitively.  This is a great example of why organizations should look to virtualization and pooling their own IT resources.
  • TelePresence and video. The majority of communications on the show are done over real time video.  Kahn was able to convey the hatred in him through his visual expressions.  In fact, Kahn made several hand gestures as well to be able to take advantage of the visual medium.  It’s worth noting that in other episodes, video is fully federated.  Klingon, Romulan and Federation communications all work seamlessly.  I’m guessing they adopted the TelePresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) to make this work.  Either that or VidTel or Glowpoint actually went galactic with their service offering.
  • Push to talk (PTT). The push to talk capabilities are amazing.  I’m not sure what network is carrying the PTT functionality but I’ve used both the IDEN based service as well as CDMA and there’s much more latency than with the Star Trek devices.  It’s good to know that the vertical usage of PTT for medical (sickbay) or military did not go away.  This is certainly good news for Sprint-Nextel who is still the de facto standard for this service.
  • Voice recognition. If you watch the show you’ll notice that the input mechanism for almost all computer systems is voice.  When Kirk gets the download on “Project Genesis,” he interacts with the computer through voice commands.  Security however was two-factor authentication with voice and biometric (retina scan) authorization.  It’s also worth noting that the keyboard isn’t dead.  Anything secretive they needed to do, like pull up the command codes for the Reliant console, was done via keyboard.
  • Tablet computing. There’s a point in the movie where Spock is given some orders to sign and he does so on a tablet.  This is the predecessor to the angled notepad that Kirk had in the original TV series.  Although not quite an iPad, it was very clear that tablets are a part of our future.  The one on the Enterprise was likely a dedicated, ruggedized version since it has military implications.
  • Mobility and cloud computing. When down on the planet Regula (where the Genesis device was), Saavik was using a Tricorder to measure readings and analyze the information.  The device was small enough that it was unlikely able to contain all information in the Enterprise data banks.  From the way the device was being used, I’m assuming that the Tricorder is a dedicated mobile device accessing the information in the Enterprise data center, acting as a “cloud based” resource for it.

Video, cloud, wireless, mobility, tablets and virtual workload mobility are all integral parts of the on going operations of the Starship Enterprise.  It’s on going mission to seek out new life and new civilizations simply would’t be possible without these emerging technologies.  Perhaps this is why the Anywhere Revolution has been such a key focus for Yankee Group research over the past five years.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.

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