The "Internet of Things " is Coming

IoT Image

If you haven’t heard much about The Internet of Things (IoT), you soon will.  Also called “The Internet of Everything,”  this refers to the connection of everyday objects to the Internet.  Once objects are wirelessly connected, using sensors installed in them, to the Internet cloud, then data can be transmitted from them and collected and  accessed by various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Appliance manufacturers like LG and computer network companies like Cisco are already installing hardware and software.  There are a bunch of companies, including an especially bright one named ” Evrything,”  that are producing software that collects data from the things and transmits it to the Internet.

Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars

The technology is already in place to connect all the things in our life, and to start them communicating with us.  All that’s required are:  a) Sensors, which measure things like whether a door is open or closed, or the amount of electricity being consumed by an appliance, or whether a parking space is filled or empty; b)Connectivity, either through a base station or embedded in the device itself; and c) Processors, to parse incoming data from the sensor(s) and transmit it.  IDC, a respected technology market research firm, predicts there will be 30.1 billion installed autonomous things connected by 2020, when  the  IoT industry will generate $ 8.9Trillion revenue in products and services.  ( Source:  Business Insider,  “The 6 Basic Building Blocks for the Things in “The Internet of Things,’  12/31/2013.

Public Trust Is Needed

People close to the industry tend to treat the connection of everything through the Internet as a fait accompli–because it can be done, of course it will be.  They point to the obvious benefits, including public safety and more efficient buildings.  When gas lines can be constantly monitored for leaks, and bridges can be constantly monitored for dangerous wear and tear, and bodies can be monitored for early heart attack signs, and food can be monitored for freshness, and products can be tracked throughout their manufacturing life cycle, lives can be saved and products can be produced more efficiently.  However, in the current environment privacy concerns may slow the growth of the totally connected world.  Today, we see the top executives of some of the leading technology companies writing public letters and making public speeches  to the NSA, decrying the government agency’s misuse of data collected from them. Tim Cook,, Apple’s CEO,recently called them “malicious hackers.”  This self-serving, all-too-public, whining is coming from companies who previously cooperated silently with the collection of all sorts of data about their customers.

 If tech companies cannot protect their customers’ information better than they have thus far, people will not trust the IoT enough to achieve the kind of comprehensive connectivity the tech gurus envision.  Tech companies have to make stronger, safer products–ones that can protect us from malicious  hackers.  If care is taken to build secure systems and gain public trust, the IoT will arrive as a natural evolution.   

Bill Patch


Websites that WORK

Congratulations!  You’ve  invested the time, energy, and resources to design and develop a website for your enterprise.  You now have a “home “on the Internet—a virtual real estate.  Website addresses are called “domain” names, and there are many similarities between a website and a  home.  If your site has been well-built with strong programming and software, it will withstand attacks from hackers trying to blow the house down.  If it’s hosted in a high-quality server environment, this “good neighborhood” will provide uptime and security.  Your website creates a good image with your customers and your competitors, but the best thing it can do is to help build your business.  To do that, people have to find your site.  There are about 200 Million domains registered.   How do you get found among so many sites?


Organic SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) or PPC( Pay Per Click)?

Most people–including your prospective customers–find websites by using a search engine.  Google is the most popular, with about 400,000 searches per day.  As most people know, you can pay to have your website’s info displayed prominently  on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages),while the rest of the page is filled with info about websites that appear organically—the search has found them,  and no ad fee has been paid.  If you have paid to have your ad appear, you will be charged every time someone clicks on the ad , which takes the person to your site. Thus the name, PPC—Pay per Click.  The other websites listed–the organically-generated ones–will also take the person to their website, but there is no charge when that happens.  Search engines are smart, and they remember.  They’ll remember, for example, that today, when someone searched for “homes for sale in Montgomery County,” it found your site organically.  Next time somebody does that same search, it will quickly post your website’s info.  In fact, your info will gradually get listed higher and higher on the page.  Your website builds equity in the organic search!  If you use a PPC program, once you stop paying, you were not building equity—it’s like you were renting that spot on the page, not earning it.  Once the PPC payment ends, it’s like you are brand new and your info goes to the back of the line.


Make Your Website Work for YouScreen shot 2013-10-05 at 4.45.23 PM

You can improve the performance of your website on organic searches by making it easier for the search engines to find you.  Search engines are smart, and they  have “spider” programs that crawl around the web gathering information… Cute, eh?  Spiders crawling around the web?    Spider programs look for info that will help them link searches to websites.  So, they look for words and phrases that are typical of what people type into the search for box.  Most of the time, people type in pretty simple words or phrases that  are related to the target of their search.  We call these words “keywords.”  To make it easy for the search engines to find you, you need to place appropriate keywords in the content of your site.  Picture the spider program scanning the pages in your site, reading what it sees.  What words and phrases might jump out at it?  For example, you might want to have titles on your pages and paragraphs, and place keywords at the beginning of the title.  As you can see, the concept of keywords is simple.  Next some work needs to be done to develop a program. The first step is to determine what keywords in your business processes that people will be typing —those things for which we are seeking prospects and leads.  As we said above, for a realtor, it might be “homes for sale in Montgomery County,” or “homes for sale in Boyertown.”  Determine the markets , products, and services, in which you want to compete most aggressively.  What are our  priority strategic market targets?  Then, the next step is to imagine what words or phrases people would type into the “search for” box in the search engine to try to find websites for providers of those services or products—you and your competitors.


Put Your Website to Work

Once you have determined what keywords the prospects will enter, then it’s simply a job of placing the selected keywords in the content of your site.  As we mentioned above, you may want to use titles for pages or paragraphs, but just including them in the prose content will also get noticed by the spider programs.  You should not sacrifice the quality of the writing in your content to include the keywords.  The content has another, more critical job to do—-Attracting the prospect and motivating them to contact you.

Once you have added the keywords to your site, they will start to work for you, and they will continue to keep working, 24/7/365——your website is doing the work!  For Free!


Building Equity vs.  Immediate Results

For those of  you for whom instant gratification is too slow, however, there is one drawback to using an organic program as opposed to  a PPC–Like most things with genuine value, it takes time for the organic, equity-building program to work.  It can take up to 16-20 months for a keyword program to show results in where your info appears on the SERPs.  With the pay-now PPC programs, you’ll see your ad placed very quickly.  Expensive, paying a premium for immediate results vs, do it the old-fashioned  way and working hard for lasting results that take a while . Renting vs. owning and letting your website home do the work.


Make Yours a Website that WORKS

You can start today—Make a list of the keywords for your highest priority strategic markets.  That’s a valuable exercise anytime. You can also help your website with its organic SEO work  by  adding a blog to your site .  Keep your keywords in mind when writing the blog, which will act like hyper content for the spiders.  Adding links from other websites will also help.  Blazing Systems is a web services company.  Please call us to arrange a free consultation for help in making your website work for you.


Bill Patch











We enjoy working with non-profit organizations.  The Internet offers great potential to help people who are trying to help people; and our latest project gave us a chance to help someone who is trying to help people who are helping animals.  Jake Raudabaugh is six years old.  He is my grandson.  Recently he was moved by a commercial for ASPCA on the TV.  He was surprised and saddened to find out that some dogs and cats did not have homes, and that some were mistreated.  Fortunately, Jake has great parents who are both intelligent and caring.  The conversation eventually developed to include the concept of charity.


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Jake liked the idea of charity, and decided that he wanted to be charitable to animals in need.  That night, he founded Jake’s Pals, dedicated to helping animals.  With his parents’ help, he developed a plan to help shelters and

any organizations that are caring for animals.
He decided to collect donations of food, supplies, and eventually money, and distribute those donations to worthy organizations.

This week Jake visited Blazing Systems and sat down for hours with his Uncle Will.  Together they designed a website for Jake’s Pals,   Will guided the work, presented the design options, and implemented  the design, using  a LAMP-stack/WordPress architecture;  and Jake made all the design choices on the spot in our dev lab, just as most of our clients like to do.


This summer Jake started building his donations by selling lemonade at yard sales, and he visited the Montgomery County ASPCA to find out their priority needs.  We’re hoping his new website will give his charity some visibility and help generate donations .   We’re honored to be his pals.


Google and the Open Internet

Google co-founder,  Sergey Brin, was recently quoted extensively in an article in The Guardian   about keeping the Internet open.  He said he is “scared” because current conditions and the trends he sees in the future are endangering the freedom and openness of the ‘Net.  He says that he and Larry Page would not have been able to create Google in today’s environment, due to efforts by governments, the entertainment industry, and “walled gardens, “like Facebook and Apple, to control content .   The warning that he could not have developed Google in today’s environment   is perhaps a bit of hubris from Google’s view of the rest of us.  He is making an argument, trying to convince the reader/listener of a point—that governments and others are controlling content.    To make his point, he’s assuming that we hold Google in such high regard, that we are swayed to his side of the argument by the fear that  a Google-like entity will no longer be possible …

He over-estimates the affinity for Google…..Too bad, Sergey, you wouldn’t be able to make a billion bucks…so sad!    He also seems to under-estimate how the 800 million Facebook users feel about Facebook.  They feel that Facebook is theirs, and they probably take Google for granted.


There are many issues involved with keeping the Internet free and open—-here’s

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s summary:

“We want to keep the internet open for the protester using social media to organise a march in Egypt,” Clinton said in a major policy speech last year. “[For] the college student emailing her family photos of her semester abroad; the lawyer in Vietnam blogging to expose corruption; the teenager in the US who is bullied and finds words of support online; for the small business owner in Kenya using mobile banking to manage her profits; the philosopher in China reading academic journals for her dissertation … internet freedom is about defending the space in which all these things occur.”

These are serious freedom-of-information and freedom-of-speech issues, as opposed to dire predictions and absolute judgements against entities trying to control content on the Internet by the organization whose goal it is to “crawl ” and control all the information on the Internet.  But in recent years Google has not seemed satisfied with acessing and aggregating all the content, they have seemed to be going through an identity crisis.  With Google Apps f0r word processing and spreadsheets, they seemed to want to be Microsoft.With Google Plus, they now seem to want to be Facebook.   They crushed the search engine market, missed the social media market, and are trying play in the app market. ‘Stick to your knitting ‘ is an old strategic planning concept that may apply here.

Keeping the Internet open is important, but we have to remember that we in the US have many decades of experience managing and protecting free speech ( tricky issues, like do the Nazis get to be in the parade in Chicago). The rest of the world needs our help in managing a completely free Internet.  There’s lots of work to be done there….No time for throwing stones at  and raising fears about “walled gardens.”

Google is a great search tool. We all use it, and depend on it more than we perhaps realize.  Let’s hope they thrive and continuously improve, and that the Internet remains free of control by governments….and giant media/entertainment conglomerates.

Bill Patch






“Mongo is but a pawn in Game of Life;” , or Why ‘Blazing Systems?’

Shortly after we launched Blazing Systems, one of my friends–a colleague in the IT industry –asked me how we came to choose the name of our new company.   He chuckled when he asked me, which is part of the answer to his question.
In this age of taking yourself too seriously, as in “Web Technology Solutions’,  we wanted to show our sense of humor, our human side, and show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We wanted to present a friendly image for customers. Many customers we encounter have been taken advantage of by technology companies who act like they are smart and the customer is not, like technology is some sort of mysterious stuff that only they can understand.  (This is a posture which positions the company to over-charge and under-deliver.)
Technology, as practiced by those companies, can be impersonal and even threatening; so we wanted to project the opposite.

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Technology doesn’t have to be painful, like the dentist–It can be fun and human -scale, like the movie.  The name Blazing Systems starts things out on a friendly note. “What about people who don’t get it?”  my friend asked.  “What if they don’t appreciate the humor, and they decide not to do business with you?  What if they do get it, but have no sense of humor, and don’t think it’s funny, or if they think it’s stupid?  My answer  was , “Fine.We probably wouldn’t want to work with them , anyway.

 Bill Patch


OPEN is Best for Clients

Blazing Systems is an Open Source development  company. We use tools such as PHP, Python,SQL, and Javascript, to build applications  and websites for our customers.


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Closed& Proprietary benefits only the software provider


In the early stages of the industry, and continuing still today, some software providers were closed, and proprietary. This was –and is–primarily a method to exert and maintain account control, by making customers dependent upon the software company . If you have an Open Source website, you can make changes to it yourself with a web editor program.

Closed is More Expensive

Today, there are some website providers who still control accounts by forcing customers to come to them to perform any changes or updates to the site.  They use proprietary Content Management Systems (CMS) to control access to the site .  This way, they get to charge fees to clients who need to make any changes. Given the fast pace of business these days, most organizations need to relatively frequently update their sites.  If they have a closed site, making changes becomes very expensive and time-consuming.

Organizations that are being victimized by closed, proprietary websites can save money and increase the effectiveness of their web sites by switching to Open Source technology.  While it may seem difficult to walk away from a site into which money has been invested, the future savings available and the advantage of controlling your own destiny make the change worthwhile–the sooner, the better, in fact.  You deserve to work with a technology partner that values your interest, rather than seeks to trap and control you.

Great Expectations

Expectations are powerful, and they affect our lives all day every day. High expectations are combinations of hope, optimism, and trust.

Negative expectations are based primarily on fears.

We set ourselves up for reality by expecting it to be either good or bad. When it happens and it’s better than our expectation, it’s a pleasant surprise.

Since the mid-’80s service companies have understood that customer satisfaction is tied directly to the customer’s expectation. If the service delivered meets or exceeds the customer’s expectation, then customer satisfaction has been achieved. The term ‘exceed expectations’ has become an idiom.

Negative expectations can also influence outcomes. Sociologist Robert K. Merton is credited with coining the term “self-fulfilling prophesy.”

In his book, Social Structure and Social Theory, Merton says, “The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come ‘true’. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.”

Examples of self-fulfilling prophesy happen many times in daily life. Every year it impacts grade school students, for example:

Little Johnny does ok in first grade, but he fidgets at his desk and talks a lot. At the end of the year, the first grade teacher notes these behaviors in Johnny’s record.

In August the second grade teacher is reviewing the students for the upcoming year, and Johnny’s behaviors in first grade are noted.

The second grade teacher decides to deal with Johnny right off the bat, and assigns him to the desk right in front of the teacher’s. His behavior is scrutinized by the teacher, more so than the other students’, and the first time Johnny fidgets or talks, the teacher comes down hard.

Pretty soon, Johnny starts forming his own expectations.

The Price is Right?

Pricing high-end technology services is a complex process, and it’s different from pricing a product.

When you price a program for services, all the costs have yet to be incurred.  With a product, the costs have been spent, and the margin can be more easily determined.

Sophisticated service organizations utilize complex algorithms and modeling to predict costs that will be incurred to deliver service.  There are lots of averages and metrics applied to the process:  The average time between failures, the average time to restore, the average cost of the labor component, the travel.  Unfortunately, some of these complex methodologies end up reducing the forest to the trees, and as a result services pricing is more art than science. We tend to me more inward-looking, and price according to our costs–rather than focusing on the market and what the customer will pay.

A true story from about 25 years ago illustrates this point, and a couple others:

The owner of a jewelry store in Santa Fe, NM, took a large inventory position in high-end turquoise and silver jewelry made by a leading local artisan.  Unlike the stuff sold on the roadside in the Southwest, this was very high-quality art jewelry.  She displayed it in one of the regular cases in her store, priced moderately.

For weeks the line did not move.  She moved it into the feature showcase in the center of the store, and featured some information about the artist.  The jewelry still didn’t move.

She was getting ready to go on a 3-week vacation, and she was reviewing the various items to be done around the store with her assistant.  Among the other items, she told the assistant to cut the price of the jewelry in half–she had decided to cut her losses and move out the inventory.

When she returned from her vacation, she noticed that virtually all the art jewelry had sold.  She mentioned to her assistant that it was a shame to have to lower the price to move it, but at least it was gone.

The assistant was surprised.  She informed the owner that she had misunderstood, and instead of cutting the price in half, she had doubled the price.

It is ingrained in each of us, “You get what you pay for.”

People expect to pay a reasonable price for quality services.

Nobody wants a “cheap” turquoise bracelet.