Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Digital Future: Services Oriented Architecture and Mass Customization, Part 5A

From Previous Parts

Part 1 discussed the four ages of mankind.  The first was the Age of Speech; for the first time humans could “learn by listening” rather than “learn by doing”; that is, data could be accumulated, communicated, and stored by verbal communications.  It also transformed the hunting and gathering into an economic architecture of small somewhat settled communities over the course of 300,000 years.   Settlement produced first significant increase in economic activity, wealth per capita, and in the academics in the form of the shaman for tribal organization.

The second, the Age of Writing, produced a quantum leap in data and information that could be accumulated, communicated, and stored.  This was over a period of at least 6,500 years.  During this time, academic activity evolved from everyone working to survive to a diversity of jobs and trades and the economic stratification of political organizations.   Again, the total wealth of humanity took a leap of orders of magnitude as the economic architectures of city states, then countries, and then empires evolved.  The academics evolved from the shaman, to priests, clerics, researchers, mathematicians, and universities (e.g. the Museum at Alexandria ~ 370 BC and the University of Bologna, 1088) and libraries.

The third, the Age of Print, started with Gutenberg’s press in 1455, but blossomed with Luther’s radical admonition that everyone should “read” the bible about 1517.  Suddenly, the quantity of information and knowledge to a leap of several orders of magnitude as all types of ideas were accumulated, communicated, and stored.

Part 2 dealt with history of Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) as it developed hand in glove with computing architecture—a natural fit.

 Part 3 A, deals with how SOA works with mass customization of products, systems, and services. 

Part 3 B, discussed the three economic architectures, infrastructure, mass production, and mass customization will be employed in the Digital Age.

Part 4 discussed how the Mass Customization (Services Oriented Architecture) will change the culture within which the individual lives.
Part 5A and B will discuss the effects of the  paradigm shift to Mass Customization (Services Oriented Architecture) will effect various industries and the Mass Production Culture currently in vogue. In Part 5A I will forecast how I see Mass Customization will effect Golf Club, Education, Retailing, and Entertainment industries.

Future Mass Customization Changes to Various Industries

The Services Oriented Architecture model used in Mass Customization will sooner or later completely supplant the mass production architecture in most industries in the Digital Age.  It will affect all industries to a certain degree.  The following are examples that I see coming; some are currently changing. 

Mass Customization of Golf Clubs

Recently, I saw a new ad on TV for Golf Clubs.  This was not from a golf club manufacturer, but from a golf club Mass Customizer.  The ad claimed that the firm would match the grips, the shafts and the heads to the golfer.  While I’m not sure how they do this, they are advertizing Mass Customized golf clubs.  This is the future in the Digital Age.

Mass Customization of Education

Education is likely to see change as massive and discontinuous as the change from the Age of Writing to the Age of Print.  Currently, education, from elementary schools to university, is based in the Age of Print’s Mass Production.

All children are offered the same education from the same books and taught by teachers that went through roughly identical class work of learn by listening. The problem is that people learn in one of two ways, by listening (which includes reading) and by doing.  The Mass Production education of the Age of Print focused primarily only on learning by listening (which includes reading).  The result is that many students are left behind.

These students are the ones that learn by doing.  They are the ones who looked down upon because they take “shop class”, “auto mechanics” or others of this ilk.  And these are the people that take the “blue collar” jobs, like carpenters, and plumbers; the ones that actually maintain portions of the infrastructure that everyone needs.

In the Digital Age, there will be Mass Customization of education will lead away from degree-based education toward individual certification on any topic.  There will no longer be bachelors, masters, or doctorates in any “discipline”.  Alternatively, with a certain level of certification the student could “earn” a bachelors, masters, or doctorate.

Apprenticeships

Actually, this is currently happening, though as a sub-culture of education.  And it is happening in two ways.  The first is the oldest method of education, apprenticeships and internships; yes, learn by doing.  The second is technology.

The “learn by doing” method never really stopped being used since before the dawn of human civilization.  However, with the advent of Mass Production education, it fell out of fashion, relegated to the backwaters of high school and college education.  It was turned over to “trade schools”; and the graduates of these programs and schools are considered inferior to “college graduates” and paid accordingly.

However, the best, not only in trades, like carpentry, painting (Yes painting, cars ,walls, and boats), plumbing, and brick laying, but also “fine arts”, dance, composing music, and so on, are trades and should not be treated as anything else.  In fact, even today most of the best composers, (best being defined as those that are most well known in their time, and made or make the most money, learned by doing. 

None of the great master composers of the baroque or romantic periods went to college.  Instead, “they studied under…” These composers were and are well known and made money during their life time.  In my opinion, the best symphonic composer of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, John Williams, studied composing privately.  Taylor Swift is one of many highly successful composers who never finished high school, yet made it because she learned her craft by doing within the milieu of a composing studio.  Like rap-poets of the 1990s through today, didn’t go to college and study poetry, they learned by doing.

Additionally, today there is a movement among some groups of parents to home-school their children.  Again, this has gone on since before the dawn of history, but, as I will discuss shortly, will be much more available due to the Digital Age Technology.

 So why not have publicly funded music academies, or better yet, music academies funded from the purchase of music; have dance schools funded by dance, and so on.  In fact, to some extent, we do.  So why can you get a Ph.D. in musicology, or an MFA in dance, but no masters or doctorates for plumbing, etc?  Getting rid of all of the “arts departments” in colleges would save a huge amount of public dollars in indirect costs etc, the same way getting “trades” out of colleges has.

Digital Age Technology

 Now the Digital Age technology comes into play.  Already there are hundreds of courses “on line” for every grade from 1st grade to graduate school.  And this is only at the start of the Digital Age when only early adopters are trying these classes out.

As these become more mainstream and accepted these “classes” will become much more customized to the individual students, needs, wants, proclivities, and language, that is, mass customization of classes.  I envision a time when students in Tel Aviv, Teheran, Nairobi, Nantucket, Keflavik, and Kiev all take the same class across the Internet, interact with the “teacher” and each other in their own language, but understanding each other through a translation function built into the software.

I put “teacher” in quotes because a teaching function can be implemented using data showing what the student’s interests are, what type of learning they are best at, and so on.  So, for example, in teaching math, “the teacher” can choose “story problems” that interest the student.  If the student learns better with images, then “the teacher” can teach with images; if the student learns better by listening or reading, then “the teacher” can use those methods.
 
Students will be able to learn in group sessions, if that is the best way for them to learn, or in tutorial/coaching sessions, if they learn better (quicker with better retention) in individual settings.  So with technology, Mass Customization of education is possible.

It is impossible for me to describe all of the ins and outs of how I envision the functions of technology to be assembled for each and every student, even at a high level, because there are over 7 billion ways of learning by 7 billion bedroom biological experiments.  I may try in another post.

It will not be until all elementary, secondary, colleges and universities are disbanded that Mass Customization of education will take place—as radical as that sounds, because it will require a rebellion against the current educational system that produces “parts” for governmental and business organizations.

Mass Customization of Retailing

As described earlier, the clothing industry will change radically in the Digital Age.  Customers will be able to order almost any clothing and accessories custom-made for their bodies across the Internet.

Up to a point, this will serve all customer types better than “heading to the mall”.   As I describe in my dissertation, there are three types of customers, hunters, comparative shoppers, and shoppers.

 The Internet/web serves the hunter type (the ones that have a specific set of requirements) because they can find the part or component quickly and easily; even compare costs.  It serves the comparative shopper type (the ones that have a fuzzy or an incomplete set of requirements) well because they can comparison shop quite readily on “the Net”.  However, it will not serve those shoppers who treat shopping as a recreational or interpersonal activity.  This is at least in the near future, though it might be better in the future.

Already, today, Amazon, Google, and others are serving as the Internet’s concierge service, analogous to the concierge services in a hotel.  These inform customers of the products, systems, and services that best meet their requirements, in terms of function, cost, and schedule.

A little further down the line, necessary consumables like food, will come to the customer using one of two procedures or a combination of both.  The first is a method that could only be implemented in the Digital Age; having the person decide on a menu, having the “smart” cupboards and refrigerator check the inventory to ascertain that all of the ingredients are available, and order ones that are not for home delivery (by drone???).  Obviously this will include completely catered meals.  For many people this may mean a large reduction in the kitchen footprint.

The second is for customer’s that want to comparative shop.  They will still be able to “go to the market”.  However, “the market” will be like current “farmers’ markets” in the U.S. and markets in the rest of the world.  They will be filled with vendors instead of shelves.  These will be for “foodies” and other comparative shoppers that want to choose their fresh foods.

I suspect that in the next 20 to 30 years, town centers and most shopping malls will go under the bulldozer (Have a CAT D10 renovation?).  They will be replaced by these types of markets, by group entertainment centers of all sorts, and by barbers, hair dressers, auto service centers, and other services.  If you think about it, this is what applying SOA (Mass Customization) to the physical footprint of retail industry should look like.

This does not mean that “brick and mortar” stores will entirely disappear.  From the description above, it’s readily apparent that there will be a need for a town center.  I suspect that these town centers will have the physical architecture more akin to the medieval and current European towns than to the American sprawl of large and strip malls. And since, as discussed above, major cities will become cost ineffective and obsolete, there will be a return to a grid of small cities and towns.

Further in the future, I think there will be opportunities for customers to look at the products in virtual reality (already a customer may try out a system or service before purchasing).  But the concierge service provided on the Internet will be focused on understanding the customer’s requirements before recommending a product, system, or service.

Mass Customization of Entertainment

When broadband cabling came into vogue, before the real acceptance of the Internet, it was used to provide more television channels with higher quality video and audio.  So the “cable” companies combined the broadband cabling system (a utility and therefore using the Infrastructure Architecture) overlaid with content (using Mass Production Architecture).  And local governments treated the cable companies as utilities, not content providers, so they agreed to allow them to be monopolies.

Initially, adding content was to market the cable to potential customers; they could get more of what they wanted to see (e.g., sports) on cable in local areas.  However, small cable companies were “bought out” by other cable companies, which have turned into large cable monopolies that are only semi-regulated.

These companies provide their “customers” with content bundles.  This means that someone who likes history, science, and travel must also pay for sports and “news spin-doctoring biased” channels for which they have no requirements.  This means that to get the channels the customer wants, they must “rent” and upgraded bundle (or package).  This, again, has many channels the customer does not want, coupled in the bundle with the one or two that he or she does want.

Then, to add insult to injury, they added an increasing amount of advertizing on each channel, to the point that the actual program material runs about the same as a half hour program did in the 1960s and 70s.  Additionally, they’ve nearly doubled the cost of “the bundles” including the basic bundle.  One consequence of this is that the entertainer’s (e.g., actors, athletes) salaries have skyrocketed; but so, too have that of the content providers and the cable companies; all this defrauding at the expense of the customer.

There are two methods for resolving these monopolist behavior, laws and regulation, or market forces.  First, we could legislate the separation of content provisioning from the communications infrastructure, legislate against bundling of content, and break up large content providing companies, and communications infrastructure utilities.

The other alternative is to let economics take its course.  With the advent of the high-speed Internet and WIFI systems, allowing data streaming of video, and Netflix, Hulu, and especially YouTube the natural course of entertainment is toward Mass Customization of entertainment, rather than Mass Production of entertainment. In the process there will be many more “channels” to meet all types of customer interest (requirements); that is, the entertainment market will be a plethora of niche markets.

 A good example of this is the SV Delos channel on YouTube.  This series started out as a Video-log of the sail of SV Delos and because its creator did an increasing professional job with the assistance of the rest of the Delos crew has produced an income stream sufficient to enable the young crew to sail without the need to stop to make freedom chips (money).  They work at creating videos and subscribers support them because they enjoy the videos.

Eventually, maybe in 50 years, maybe in 10 years, the utility functions of the current entertainment empires will be separated from the content provisioning and the content provisioning will separate into services, some providing the actual content, some providing services (e.g., animation, editing, and so on) to the content providers.

A Look ahead to Part 5B

As you can see from my forecasts, Mass Customization is and will continue to drastically change the architecture of the industrial complex that creates value and thus wealth for humankind.  However, like the transition from the Age of Writing to the Age of Print, the transformation of industries and cultures during the transition from the Age of Print to the Digital Age will create stresses on the current cultures that will break out into war, destruction, and all sorts of problems, unless these are recognized early.  Putting too many rules and regulations in place, like the liberal religion wants, like the Catholics before, will create additional stress that will definitely lead to civil strife.

But at the end, and if we can make it, the economic world will have a much higher level of wealth for all people.  Please keep this warning in mind.  I will repeat this warning at the end of Part 5B.

In Part 5B I will forecast how Mass Customization will effect, transportation, housing (and cities), healthcare, and space.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Digital Future: Services Oriented Architecture and Mass Customization, Part 4

From Previous Parts

Part 1 discussed the four ages of mankind.  The first was the Age of Speech; for the first time humans could “learn by listening” rather than “learn by doing”; that is, data could be accumulated, communicated, and stored by verbal communications.  It also transformed the hunting and gathering into an economic architecture of small somewhat settled communities over the course of 300,000 years.   Settlement produced first significant increase in economic activity, wealth per capita, and in the academics in the form of the shaman for tribal organization.

The second, the Age of Writing, produced a quantum leap in data and information that could be accumulated, communicated, and stored.  This was over a period of at least 6,500 years.  During this time, academic activity evolved from everyone working to survive to a diversity of jobs and trades and the economic stratification of political organizations.   Again, the total wealth of humanity took a leap of orders of magnitude as the economic architectures of city states, then countries, and then empires evolved.  The academics evolved from the shaman, to priests, clerics, researchers, mathematicians, and universities (e.g. the Museum at Alexandria ~ 370 BC and the University of Bologna, 1088) and libraries.

The third, the Age of Print, started with Gutenberg’s press in 1455, but blossomed with Luther’s radical admonition that everyone should “read” the bible about 1517.  Suddenly, the quantity of information and knowledge to a leap of several orders of magnitude as all types of ideas were accumulated, communicated, and stored.
 
Part 2 dealt with history of Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) as it developed hand in glove with computing architecture—a natural fit.

Part 3 A, deals with how SOA works with mass customization of products, systems, and services.

Part 3 B, discussed the three economic architectures, infrastructure, mass production, and mass customization will be employed in the Digital Age.

This part, Part 4 discusses how the Mass Customization (Services Oriented Architecture) will change the culture within which the individual lives.

Changes for the Individual in the Digital Age

As can already be seen the Digital Age and the Mass Customization (Services Oriented Architecture) will change human culture; and will likely change it as much as the cultural change with the discontinuity caused the move from the Age of Writing to the Age of Print.

Already children, those below the age of 21, spend as much or more time interacting with others through their informational interfaces, (smart phone) as they do in direct contact with their peers and elders.  They have little idea what a dictionary or an encyclopedia are, using a web browser and search engine instead.  Additionally, they no longer learn cursive writing, except perhaps to sign their name; they have little need for this artifact from the Age of Writing.  They will continue to shop online more and go to the malls less; with some exceptions that I will discuss later.

The Economics of the Digital Age

 The economics of the Digital Age will change drastically.  There is a paradigm shift with the discontinuity caused by the revolutionary changes of Mass Customization.  And it is a shift only whispered about in the financial markets and by economic gurus.

During the Age of Print, and especially with Mass Production, there was always a need for an increasing customer base.  This was based on the increase in the economies of scale as production increased.  At the time this increased the need for additional labor.  In short, the total wealth and the general wealth of a culturally/political/geographically cohesive organization increased with increased population.  This is with the caveat that the organization had access to the raw materials.

An additional factor, already discussed in this paper was the skill-level of the population, that is, the education by listening and by doing.

So in the Age of Print, the creation of wealth (the amount of value) of a country was linked to:
·         The population size and its increase
·         The integration of society (not its diversity)
·         The ability to have access to raw materials and  to transport the finished goods to markets
·         The Security of the country

So much for wealth creation in the Age of Print.

In the Digital Age the creation of wealth will have different linkages.  The reason for this is the overlay of Mass Customization (Services Oriented Architecture) Architecture over the current Mass Production Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture.  And it will replace them in much of the economy.  I will give a few examples in the next section of this paper.

One thing that will happen is that economies of knowledge will continue to replace economies of scale as I’ve already described.  What this means is what I’ve discussed in one of the later chapters in my Book, Organizational Economics: the Formation of Wealth, that a great many small firms will replace the Fortune 500 of today.
 
In the future, either confederations of small organizations (using orchestration as a guiding principle) or concierge-based alliances of small organizations (using choreography as a guiding principle) will create both giant and small products, systems, and services. Additionally, I would expect that in some or many instances, alliances of confederations to implement the greatest/largest projects and programs.

Both confederations and alliances will require standardization of contract laws, regulations, and business rules to operate effectively.  Knowing the government and the current power and lobbying power of Wall Street (financial firms), large corporations, and unions, the ride to full acceptance of this new economic architecture will put the most fantastic roller coaster to shame just as moving from the Age of Writing to the Age of Print did.

In the end, these current economic empires will fall, just like the political/economic power of King and Pope did.  And since this is a revolutionary change, (while I hope not), there may be revolutions, counter-revolutions, and strife caused by it.

The New Order

At the end there will be a new order of economic activities.  It will be very much more a meritocracy not caused by policy but by “the invisible hand” (in evolution it is called natural selection).  In totality, there will be much more wealth because the knowledge of individuals will be turned into value.

 Additionally, it will be a version of “Jeffersonian Democracy.”  There will be a great many small independent firms, and so there will be a great many owners of these firms, in the way Jefferson envisioned it for small farmers/land owners.  This means a resurgence of the “middle class” as small business owners.

These small businesses will need to fully understand the requirements of their customers and tailor their product, system, or service to meet those requirements.  Consortium/confederation and alliance program manage process will be wrapped around the customer’s product, system, or service requirements, instead of focusing primarily on cost, schedule, and the finance engineers bottom line.
It also means that the Mass Customizers will focus more attention on meeting the customers’ requirements than advertising to tell the customer what the customer should want, which is their product, system, or service.

Government will provide security and infrastructure (meaning physical, cyber, and basic research).  Everything else will change based on Mass Customization (SOA) Architecture.  This includes many industries that most people think of as infrastructure-based, including education and medicine.  These two among several I will describe in more detail in the next section.

In economic terms, the result could be that the GDP will fall, while the GDP per person and the wealth of people generally, will increase.  The reason is that knowledge of the steps in a process breeds tooling to make the steps simpler, easier, and faster.  Tooling is the economic equivalent of weapons being a “force multiplier” in the military.  In the economic case, tooling is a “process multiplier”, as first discussed by Adam Smith.

As a process multiplier, tooling enables the same number of workers to create orders of magnitude more uniform quality products, faster and therefore cheaper.  But tooling costs stored value (i.e., money).  This is the reason that the Mass Production Architecture and money are linked and called Capitalism. (Aside: It probably should be called something else like Value Creation because it isn’t a form of idealism or utopianism, like socialism or communism, and it isn’t a religion like Liberalism, it’s a proven model of the way things actually work, at least in part.)

Throughout the Age of Print tooling was constantly improved and refined.  In the early and mid-1950s, there was an ongoing controversy as to whether analog (mechanical) or digital computers were the wave of the future—that’s how good the mechanism became. (Aside: And it is a clear demonstration of the Superiority Principle: “The first instance of a superior principle is always inferior to a mature example of an inferior principle.”)

Then, in the 1960s to 1990s, enter the CNC machine, that is, the Computer Numerically Controlled machine.  At this same time robotics was being hyped as the way to continue to reduce costs for Mass Production in the future.

In the 1960s through the 1990s, the Mass Production Architecture (and paradigm) focused on a totally automated factory, with little or no warehousing because everything would be JIT (Just In Time).  I worked on two or three such projects during that time, wrote a number of articles the future of the automated factory based on my experiences, and worked on several national and international standards committees.

In 1985 and 1986 I worked on a paperless shop floor information system that became the information backbone of a state of the art factory.  It not only integrated the shop floor systems, but had communications linkages with the engineering and MRP (Materials Resource Planning) systems. It won the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Lead Award in 1987.

I read about the GM’s fully automated engine plant that built to produce a single engine.  The assembly line was a mile and a half long, but without a single worker.  I thought this might be a poor investment because I could already see the glimmer of the Digital Age on the horizon.

Subsequently, I visited The GM SATURN plant.  This plant was both state of the art and attuned to Mass Customization (SOA) Architecture.  It could produce multiple types of engines off a single assembly line and it could produce (within reason) multiple types of vehicles.  While it wasn’t totally automated, at assembly stations with workers, the stations were set up ergonomically so that petite or large workers could work at the station comfortably.  Unfortunately, the SATURN product either did not meet the customers’ requirements or was not properly marketed.

In the future, all manufacturing will be somewhat the same, but also quite different.  There will be two key differences.  The first is the standardization of contractual, requirements, and design interfaces among the various functions of the confederation and/or alliance. 
   
The second is that there will be standardization of highly business sensitive communications across a physical and logical network separate from the current Internet.  The interfaces for users will be locked down both in terms of communications protocols and data formats.  No documents or interpersonal communications (e.g. e-mail) will be allowed.

These two key differences will enable and support both business confederations and alliances the agility to act quickly to customers’ requirements, the heart of the Mass Customization (SOA) Architecture.

Changes to Habits (Cultures)

In the Digital Age there will be significant cultural change.  I will discuss two of these changes.

Home office/business

Beyond these two key requirements for the successful implementation of Mass Customization using Services Oriented Architecture, a third, only slightly less important is product transportation.  In the future, allied organizations are less likely to be collocated and therefore transportation of their output to final assembly and to the customer enables and supports Mass Customization.

In the Age of Print collocation was of seminal importance.  In a paper I wrote (Industrial Location Behavior and Spatial Evolution, Journal of Industrial Economics, Vol. 5 (1977) pp. 295-312.) I discuss how a region around Detroit MI became the center of the automotive industry, though initially there were auto manufacturers all over the country.  The reason was simple; it was the center of innovation, the way “silicon valley” has been for information technology.

Now there is no need for geographically regions to be the centers of innovation; I know.  By 1990, I had the personnel of the advanced data communication laboratory I managed, working from home most of the time.  By 2003, I was leading nationwide software development teams and producing software that met the customers “product” requirements and their “business” requirements (cost and schedule).  So, I know there is no need to collocate software development personnel in a high cost, high tax state where the environmental restrictions are such that houses can’t be built and people live in RVs.

In the Digital Age, centers of innovation will occur in virtual space.  Personnel can work from home, wherever home happens to be.  For example, this means that someone who wants to sail around the world, but has a high tech design job can do both.  That is he or she will be able to design the latest widget from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Finance and work on various financial markets can already be done from anywhere, so there is really no need for the New York Stock Exchange being located in New York. It could be located in eastern Kentucky or in West Virginia, with backup systems in Mississippi.  This would mean a lower cost of living and lower taxes for all.

Additionally, this means that there will be less or no need for office buildings.  Since people can work from their homes in home offices, or from wherever and get the same tasks and activities accomplished, it’s pretty silly to spend money because of an “edifice complex”.

I would see the “great cities” and regions diminish in size and population, while small and medium cities and regions regain population.

Developmental versus operational/maintenance

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be all facilities, just that facilities will be sized for the product that the organizations are implementing; i.e., you can’t build an aircraft carrier in a bathtub.
Consequently, for the near-term future these plants and the infrastructure supporting them, supporting the communication, and the rest of the physical and information infrastructure will require maintenance personnel.

In the Digital Age there will be two general categories of jobs/workers.  Not White Collar and Blue Collar, but Developmental and Operational/Maintenance.

In fact, most jobs will be in the operational/maintenance category.  This will include plumbers, lawyers, electricians, nurses, auto mechanics, medical doctors, landscape maintenance, and so on.  Most of these jobs will be structured after the Mass Customization Architecture.

For example, when the doctor provides the analysis of an illness together with a customer’s DNA, the pharmacist will manufacture a dosage of one or several medicines (or drugs) in exactly the formulation that will best target the disease, heal the customer, with the least side effects.  While some of these “drugs” may be mass produced, most will be formulated at the pharmacy from various chemicals.  This means that every pill will be produced for just one person.  This is an example of the future in the Digital Age.


Relatively few people will be involved in development of new products, systems, or services on Earth.  These will be talented out-of-the-box thinkers and doers.  And they will not be what we think of today as “college educated”.  In all likelihood, there will be no such thing as a college degree in the future.  Education too will be on a Mass Customization basis, as I will discuss in the next section of this paper.