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Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership Interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on July 15, in Philadelphia.
We're here now with a panel of experts to explore the business implications of the current shift to so-called Platform 3.0. Known as the new model through which big data, cloud, and mobile and social -- in combination -- allow for advanced intelligence and automation in business, Platform 3.0 has so far lacked standards or even clear definitions.
The Open Group and its community are poised to change that, and we're here now to learn more how to leverage Platform 3.0 as more than a IT shift -- and as a business game-changer.
With that, please join me in welcoming our panel: Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer at The Open Group. Welcome, Dave.
Dave Lounsbury: Hi, Dana, happy to be here.
Gardner: We're also here with Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability at The Open Group. Welcome, Chris. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of this and other BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Chris Harding: Thank you, Dana, and it's great to be on this panel.
Gardner: And also Mark Skilton, Global Director in the Strategy Office at Capgemini. Welcome, Mark.
Mark Skilton: Hi, Dana, thanks for inviting us today. I'm very happy to be here.
Gardner: A lot of people are still wrapping their minds around this notion of Platform 3.0, something that is a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Why is this more than an IT conversation or a shift in how things are delivered? Why are the business implications momentous?
Lounsbury: Well, Dana, there are lot of IT changes or technical changes going on that are bringing together a lot of factors. They're turning into this sort of super-saturated solution of ideas and possibilities and this emerging idea that this represents a new platform. I think it's a pretty fundamental change.
Further, we're starting to see a lot of rapid evolution in how you turn data into information and presenting the information in a way such that people can make decisions on it. Given all that we’re starting to realize, we’re on the cusp of another step of connectedness and awareness.
This really is going to drive some fundamental changes in the way we organize ourselves. Part of what The Open Group is doing, trying to bring Platform 3.0 together, is to try to get ahead of this and make sure that we understand not just what technical standards are needed, but how businesses will need to adapt and evolve what business processes they need to put in place in order to take maximum advantage of this to see change in the way that we look at the information.
Gardner: Chris Harding is there a time issue here? Is this something that organizations should sit back, watch how it unfolds, and then gauge their response? Or is there a benefit of being out in front of this in some way?
Harding: I don’t know about in front of this. Enterprises have to be up with the way that things are moving in order to keep their positions in their industries. Enterprises can't afford to be working with yesterday's technology. It's a case of being able to understand the information that they're presented and make the best decision to reflect that.
Now, we're talking about the input being through a range of sensors and social media, the processing is done on the cloud, and the output goes to your mobile device, so you have it wherever you are when you need it. Enterprises that stick in the past are probably going to suffer.
Gardner: Mark Skilton, the ability to manage data at greater speed and scale, the whole three Vs -- velocity, volume, and value -- on its own could perhaps be a game changing shift in the market. The drive of mobile devices into lives of both consumers and workers is also a very big deal.
Of course, cloud has been an ongoing evolution of emphasis towards agility and efficiency in how workloads are supported. But is there something about the combination of how these are coming together at this particular time that, in your opinion, substantiates The Open Group’s emphasis on this as a literal platform shift?
Skilton: It is exactly that in terms of the workloads. The world we're now into is the multi-workload environment, where you've got mobile workloads, storage and compute workloads, and social networking workloads. There are many different types of data and traffic today in different cloud platforms and devices.
So Platform 3.0 addressing this point by bringing this together. Just look at the numbers. Look at the scale that we're dealing with -- 1.7 billion mobile devices sold in 2012, and 6.8 billion subscriptions estimated according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) equivalent to 96 percent of the world population.
We had massive growth in scale of mobile data traffic and internet data expansion. Mobile data is increasing 18 percent fold from 2011 to 2016 reaching 130 exabytes annually. We passed 1 zettabyte of global online data storage back in 2010 and IP data traffic predicted to pass 1.3 zettabytes by 2016, with internet video accounting for 61 percent of total internet data according to Cisco studies.
These studies also predict data center traffic combining network and internet based storage will reach 6.6 zettabytes annually, and nearly two thirds of this will be cloud based by 2016. This is only going to grow as social networking is reaching nearly one in four people around the world with 1.7 billion using at least one form of social networking in 2013, rising to one in three people with 2.55 billion global audience by 2017 as another extraordinary figure from an eMarketing.com study.
It is not surprising that many industry analysts are seeing growth in technologies of mobility, social computing, big data and cloud convergence at 30 to 40 percent and the shift to B2C commerce passing $1 trillion in 2012 is just the start of a wider digital transformation.
These numbers speak volumes in terms of the integration, interoperability, and connection of the new types of business and social realities that we have today.
Gardner: Dave Lounsbury, back to you. Why should IT be thinking about this as a fundamental shift, rather than a step change or a modest change? It seems to me that this combination of factors almost blows the whole IT definition of 10 years ago, out of the water. Is it that big a deal for IT? It also has an impact on business. I'd like to just focus on how IT organizations might need to start rethinking things?
Lounsbury: A lot depends on how you define your IT organization. It's useful to separate the plumbing from the water. If we think of the water as the information that’s flowing, it's how we make sure that the water is pure and getting to the places where you need to have the taps, where you need to have the water, etc.
But the plumbing also has to be up to the job. It needs to have the capacity. It needs to have new tools to filter out the impurities from the water. There's no point giving someone data if it's not been properly managed or if there's incorrect information.
What's going to happen in IT is not only do we have to focus on the mechanics of the plumbing, where we see things like the big database that we've seen in the open-source role and things like that nature, but there's the analytics and the data stewardship aspects of it.
We need to bring in mechanisms, so the data is valid and kept up to date. We need to indicate its freshness to the decision makers. Furthermore, IT is going to be called upon, whether as part of the enterprise IP or where end users will drive the selection of what they're going to do with analytic tools and recommendation tools to take the data and turn it into information. One of the things you can't do with business decision makers is overwhelm them with big rafts of data and expect them to figure it out.
You really need to present the information in a way that they can use to quickly make business decisions. That is an addition to the role of IT that may not have been there traditionally -- how you think about the data and the role of what, in the beginning, was called data scientist and things of that nature.
Shift in constituency
Skilton: I'd just like to add to Dave's excellent points about, the shape of data has changed, but also about why should IT get involved. We're seeing that there's a shift in the constituency of who is using this data.
We've got the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Procurement Officer and other key line of business managers taking more direct control over the uses of information technology that enable their channels and interactions through mobile, social and data analytics. We've got processes that were previously managed just by IT and are now being consumed by significant stakeholders and investors in the organization.
We have to recognize in IT that we are the masters of our own destiny. The information needs to be sorted into new types of mobile devices, new types of data intelligence, and ways of delivering this kind of service.
I read recently in MIT Sloan Management Review an article that asked what is the role of the CIO. There is still the critical role of managing the security, compliance, and performance of these systems. But there's also a socialization of IT, and this is where the positioning architectures which are cross platform is key to delivering real value to the business users in the IT community.
Gardner: So we have more types of users, more classes of individuals and resources within a enterprise starting to avail themselves more of these intelligence capabilities more ubiquitously, vis-à-vis the mobile and the cloud delivery opportunity.
How do we prevent this from going off the rails? How is it that we don’t start creating multiple fire hoses of information and/or too much data, but not enough analysis? Chris Harding, any thoughts about where perhaps The Open Group or others can step in to help make this a more fruitful, rather than chaotic, transition?
Harding: This a very important point. And to add to the difficulties, it's not only that a whole set of different people are getting involved with different kinds of information, but there's also a step change in the speed with which all this is delivered. It's no longer the case, that you can say, "Oh well, we need some kind of information system to manage this information. We'll procure it and get a program written" that a year later that would be in place in delivering reports to it.
Now, people are looking to make sense of this information on the fly if possible. It's really a case of having the platforms be the standard technology platform and also the systems for using it, the business processes, understood and in place.
Then, you can do all these things quickly and build on learning from what people have gone in the past, and not go out into all sorts of new experimental things that might not lead anywhere. It's a case of building up the standard platform in the industry best practice. This is where The Open Group can really help things along by being a recipient and a reflector of best practice and standard.
Lounsbury: I'd like to expand on that a little bit if I could, Dana. I agree with all the points that Chris and Mark just made. We should also mention that it's not just the speed of the analysis on the consumption side. We're going to see a lot of rapid evolution in the input side as well.
New data sources
We're starting to see lot of new data sources come on line. We've touched on the mobile devices and the social networks that those mobile devices enable, but we’re really also on the cusp of this idea of the "Internet of things," where there is a vast globe full of network connected sensors and actuators out there, all of which produce their own data.
Part of the process that Chris alluded to and the best practices Chris alluded to is how you run your business processes so that you keep your feeds up to date, so that you can adapt quickly to new sources of information, as well as adapt quickly to the new demands for information from the lines of business.
Gardner: It seems to be somewhat unprecedented that we have multiple change agents playing off of one another with complexity, scale, and velocity all very much at work. It's one thing to have a vision about how you would want to exploit this, but it's another to have a plan about how to go about that.
Mark Skilton, with your knowledge of Capgemini and the role that they play in the market, it seems to me that there's a tremendous need for some examples or some sense of how to go about managing the ability to exploit Platform 3.0 without getting tripped up and overwhelmed in the process.
Skilton: That’s right. Capgemini has been doing work in this area. I break it down into four levels of scalability. It's the platform scalability of understanding what you can do with your current legacy systems in introducing cloud computing or big data, and the infrastructure that gives you this, what we call multiplexing of resources. We're very much seeing this idea of introducing scalable platform resource management, and you see that a lot with the heritage of virtualization.
Going into networking and the network scalability, a lot of the customers have who inherited their old telecommunications networks are looking to introduce new MPLS type scalable networks. The reason for this is that it's all about connectivity in the field. I meet a number of clients who are saying, "We’ve got this cloud service," or "This service is in a certain area of my country. If I move to another parts of the country or I'm traveling, I can't get connectivity." That’s the big issue of scaling.
Another one is application programming interfaces (APIs). What we’re seeing now is an explosion of integration and application services using API connectivity, and these are creating huge opportunities of what Chris Anderson of Wired used to call the "long tail effect." It is now a reality in terms of building that kind of social connectivity and data exchange that Dave was talking about.
Finally, there are the marketplaces. Companies needs to think about what online marketplaces they need for digital branding, social branding, social networks, and awareness of your customers, suppliers, and employees. Customers can see that these four levels are where they need to start thinking about for IT strategy, and Platform 3.0 is right on this target of trying to work out what are the strategies of each of these new levels of scalability.
Gardner: Dave Lounsbury, we're coming up on The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia very shortly. What should we expect from that? What is The Open Group doing vis-à-vis Platform 3, and how can organizations benefit from seeing a more methodological or standardized approach to some way of rationalizing all of this complexity? [Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.]
Lounsbury: We're still in the formational stages of "third platform" or Platform 3.0 for The Open Group as an industry. To some extent, we're starting pretty much at the ground floor with that in the Platform 3.0 forum. We're leveraging a lot of the components that have been done previously by the work of the members of The Open Group in cloud, services-oriented architecture (SOA), and some of the work on the Internet of things.
Our first step is to bring those things together to make sure that we've got a foundation to depart from. The next thing is that, through our Platform 3.0 Forum and the Steering Committee, we can ask people to talk about what their scenarios are for adoption of Platform 3.0?
That can range from things like the technological aspects of it and what standards are needed, but also to take a clue from our previous cloud working group. What are the best business practices in order to understand and then adopt some of these Platform 3.0 concepts to get your business using them?
What we're really working towards in Philadelphia is to set up an exchange of ideas among the people who can, from the buy side, bring in their use cases from the supply side, bring in their ideas about what the technology possibilities are, and bring those together and start to shape a set of tracks where we can create business and technical artifacts that will help businesses adopt the Platform 3.0 concept.
Gardner: Anything to offer on that Chris?
Harding: There are some excellent points there. We certainly need to understand the business environment within which Platform 3.0 will be used. We've heard already about new players, new roles of various kinds that are appearing, and the fact that the technology is there and the business is adapting to this to use technology in new ways.
For example, we've heard about the data scientist. The data scientist is a new kind of role, a new kind of person, that is playing a particular part in all this within enterprises. We're also hearing about marketplaces for services, new ways in which services are being made available and combined.
We really need to understand the actors in this new kind of business scenario. What are the pain points that people are having? What are the problems that need to be resolved in order to understand what kind of shape the new platform will have? That is one of the key things that the Platform 3.0 Forum members will be getting their teeth into.
Gardner: At the same time, The Open Group is looking to enter into more vertical industry emphasis with its activities. At the Philadelphia Conference, you've chosen finance, government and healthcare. Dave or Chris, is there something about these three vertical industries that make them excellent test cases for Platform 3.0? Is there something about going into a vertical industry that helps with the transition to 3.0, rather than a general or one-size-fits-all approach? What's the impact of vertical industry emphasis on this transition?
Lounsbury: First, I'll note that the overarching theme of The Open Group Conferences is about business transformation -- how you adapt and evolve your business to take better advantage of the efficiencies afforded by IT and other developments. So as a horizontal activity, Platform 3.0 fits in very well with that, because I believe these transformational drivers from the evolution of Platform 3.0 are going to affect all industries.
To get back to your question, the benefit of Platform 3.0 will be most immediately and urgently felt in vertical industries that deal with extremely large volumes of data and need to filter very large volumes of data in order to achieve their business objectives and run their businesses efficiently.
For example, one of the things that healthcare is struggling with right now is a mass of patient records that need to be done. How do care givers or care providers make sense of those, make sure that everybody is up-to-date, and make sure that everybody is simply working off of the same data? It's a core question for them.
That’s today's problem which some of the infrastructure of Platform 3.0 will undoubtedly help with. When you come to looking at care not only as an individual topic, how my doctor or nurse gives care to me, but in terms of the larger trends in healthcare, can we look at how certain drugs effect certain diseases, it's a perfect example for the use of data and strong analytics to get information. We couldn’t have actually gotten that before, simply because we couldn’t bring it together and understand it.
In some sense, the biotech industry has been leading this trend. Genomics have really seeded a lot of the big data capabilities.
That will be a very exciting area for healthcare. If you go into any Apple Store, you'll see a whole retail rack of gadgets that you wear on your body that tell you how fit you are, or how fit you aren’t in some cases. It will tell you what your pulse is, your heart rate, and your body mass index. We're getting very close to a time when we will have things that might even measure and report bits of your blood chemistry. We're very close to that, for example, with blood sugar.
That data might, through the concepts of Platform 3.0, provide a really personalized and much more immediate healthcare loop in the patient care. Again, these are all things a few years out. The Open Group is deliberately choosing to get in early, so we and our members can be informed about these trends, how to take advantage of them and what standards are going to be needed to do it.
We can go on about finance too, but it's also another area where this massive data that will need to be correlated and analyzed.
Gardner: You are saying that not only are we facing an internet of things, we're going to be facing an internet of living things as well. So, there's a lot of data to come.
One of the great things about The Open Group that I've been observing over the years is that it really provides a super important environment for different types of organizations to collaborate and share their stories and understand what others are doing, both in their own vertical industries, but also another types of business.
I expect that’s really going to be a huge benefit to organizations as they transition towards Platform 3.0, to learn from how others are doing it and even how others have stumbled along the way? But do you have any early indicators, either examples or use cases that would illustrate just how important this is, how instrumental this can be in helping companies?
Let's go across our panel. Mark Skilton at Capgemini, any examples that we could point to that would indicate that when you do this well, when you transition, when you take advantage of all these changes in tandem, you get pragmatic and even measurable benefit.
Skilton: Identifying business value is the key and builds on what David was talking about in terms of having new types of data, sensors, and capabilities. What we’re finding is clients are dealing with this in eHealth, eGovernment and eFinance.
Cost of health care
In the health sector the rising cost of health care and the increasing life expectancy and longevity of the population is increasing pressure on the cost of health care in many countries. eHealth initiatives, use of new technologies such as mobile patient monitoring, and improved digital patient record management and care planning will aim to drive down the cost of medical care while improving the quality of life of patients.
In the federal government sector the eGov initiatives seek to develop citizen services and value for money of public spend programs. Open data initiatives aim to develop information and marketing sharing of services.
What can we do there to accelerate the adoption of services across markets. How can we actually bring mobile services to customers quickly? How can we grow growth of different vertical and horizontal markets? They're looking for convergence of Platform 3.0 services where I can offer portal services.
In the finance sector we see adoption of new technologies to scale to multiple consumer markets with rapid insight and large scale data analytics to profile financial behavior and credit risk profiles for example.
A recent seminar that I was involved in was about cost avoidance of the future cost of investing in more infrastructure. How can you bring big data and social capabilities together, bring new experiences and improve quality of life, and improve the citizens' value of services from their government? How can you drive new financial processes and services? There are many similar case studies across multiple industries.
Gardner: Chris Harding, being involved with interoperability so deeply, are there any examples or use cases that you can point to where not only are organizations looking internally for better efficiency and productivity gain, but perhaps are expanding the capabilities of Platform 3.0 outside of their organizations into a ecosystem or even greater? What are some of the divisions around extending 3.0 benefits into a wider, collaborative environment?
Harding: If you want a practical but historical example of how shared information, analytics, collection, distribution can empower a whole industry, you only have to look at the finance industry, where it's been commonplace actually for some time. Shared information is collected in real time, various companies analyze it, and it's distributed and made available in graphical form. You can probably get it on your mobile phone if you want.
Imagine how that kind of information processing ability could be translated into other areas, such as healthcare, so that on a routine basis, medical people could get up-to-the-minute information on critical patients wherever they are. You can see what possibilities we are looking at.
But it's really early days yet. The idea of Platform 3.0 is only just crystallizing, and the point of it is, to pick up on Mark's point, that enterprises everywhere are constantly under pressure to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources. That’s why some kind of standard platform that will enable industries across the board to take advantage of this kind of possibility is something that we really need.
Lounsbury: We all know the Gartner hype cycle. We get out on the early edge of things. We see the possibilities, and then there is the trough of disillusionment. Chris has touched on something very important that I think is necessary for there to be a successful transition to this Platform 3.0 world we envisioned.
One of the big risks here is that we see figures that say the amount of data produced doubles every 1.2 years. Well, the rate of growth of people who can deal with that data, data scientists and whatever, is pretty much a linear growth. Maybe it's 5 percent a year or 10 percent a year, or something like that, but it's not doubling every 1.2 years.
One of the reasons that it's very important for people to come in, get engaged, and start bringing in these use cases that you've mentioned is because the sooner we get to have common understandings and common approaches, the more efficient our industrial base and our use of the big data will be.
The biggest challenge to actually attaining the value of Platform of 3.0 will be having the human processes and the business processes needed to deal with that volume and velocity that Mark alluded to right at the beginning. To me that's a critical aspect that we've got to bring in -- how we get the people aware of this as well.
Gardner: We're getting close to the end, but looking to the future, Dave, we think about the ability of the data to be so powerful when processed properly, when recommendations can be delivered to the right place at the right time, but we also recognize that there are limits to a manual or even human level approach to that, scientist by scientist, analysis by analysis.
When we think about the implications of automation, it seems like there were already some early examples of where bringing cloud, data, social, mobile, interactions, granularity of interactions together, that we've begun to see that how a recommendation engine could be brought to bear. I'm thinking about the Siri capability at Apple and even some of the examples of the Watson Technology at IBM.
So to our panel, are there unknown unknowns about where this will lead in terms of having extraordinary intelligence, a super computer or data center of super computers, brought to bear almost any problem instantly and then the result delivered directly to a center, a smart phone, any number of end points?
It seems that the potential here is mind boggling. Mark Skilton, any thought?
Skilton: What we're talking about is the next generation of the internet. The advent of IPv6 and the explosion in multimedia services, will start to drive the next generation of the internet.
I think that in the future, we'll be talking about a multiplicity of information that is not just about services at your location or your personal lifestyle or your working preferences. We'll see a convergence of information and services across multiple devices and new types of “co-presence services” that interact with your needs and social networks to provide predictive augmented information value.
When you start to get much more information about the context of where you are, the insight into what's happening, and the predictive nature of these, it becomes something that becomes much more embedding into everyday life and in real time in context of what you are doing.
I expect to see much more intelligent applications coming forward on mobile devices in the next 5 to 10 years driven by this interconnected explosion of real time processing data, traffic, devices and social networking we describe in the scope of platform 3.0. This will add augmented intelligence and is something that’s really exciting and a complete game changer. I would call it the next killer app.
Gardner: Chris Harding, there's this notion of intelligence brought to bear rapidly in context, at a manageable cost. This seems to me a big change for businesses. We could, of course, go into the social implications as well, but just for businesses, that alone to me would be an incentive to get thinking and acting on this. So any thoughts about where businesses that do this well would be able to have significant advantage and first mover benefits?
Harding: Businesses always are taking stock. They understand their environments. They understand how the world that they live in is changing and they understand what part they play in it. It will be down to individual businesses to look at this new technical possibility and say, "So now this is where we could make a change to our business." It's the vision moment where you see a combination of technical possibility and business advantage that will work for your organization.
It's going to be different for every business, and I'm very happy to say this, it's something that computers aren’t going to be able to do for a very long time yet. It's going to really be down to business people to do this as they have been doing for centuries and millennia, to understand how they can take advantage of these things.
So it's a very exciting time, and we'll see businesses understanding and developing their individual business visions as the starting point for a cycle of business transformation, which is what we'll be very much talking about in Philadelphia. So yes, there will be businesses that gain advantage, but I wouldn’t point to any particular business, or any particular sector and say, "It's going to be them" or "It's going to be them."
Gardner: Dave Lounsbury, a last word to you. In terms of some of the future implications and vision, where could this could lead in the not too distant future?
Lounsbury: I'd disagree a bit with my colleagues on this, and this could probably be a podcast on its own, Dana. You mentioned Siri, and I believe IBM just announced the commercial version of its Watson recommendation and analysis engine for use in some customer-facing applications.
I definitely see these as the thin end of the wedge on filling that gap between the growth of data and the analysis of data. I can imagine in not in the next couple of years, but in the next couple of technology cycles, that we'll see the concept of recommendations and analysis as a service, to bring it full circle to cloud. And keep in mind that all of case law is data and all of the medical textbooks ever written are data. Pick your industry, and there is huge amount of knowledge base that humans must currently keep on top of.
This approach and these advances in the recommendation engines driven by the availability of big data are going to produce profound changes in the way knowledge workers produce their job. That’s something that businesses, including their IT functions, absolutely need to stay in front of to remain competitive in the next decade or so.
Gardner: Well, great. I'm afraid we'll have to leave it there. There will be lots more to hear at the conference itself. Today we've been talking about the business implications of the shift to Platform 3.0. They're coming about, and we can start to plan for transitions. We've seen how Platform 3.0 provides a potential game-changing opportunity for companies to leverage advanced intelligence and automation and heighten productivity in their businesses.
This special BriefingsDirect discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this July, in 2013, in Philadelphia. It’s not too late to register or to follow the proceedings online and also via Twitter. You'll hear more about Platform 3.0 as well as enterprise transformation and how that’s impacting specifically the finance, government, and healthcare sectors. [Registration to the conference remains open. Follow the conference on Twitter at #ogPHL.]
I'd like to thank our panel for joining us today. It has been very interesting. Thank you Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer at The Open Group.
Lounsbury: Thank you, Dana, thank you for hosting the discussion, and we look forward to seeing many of the listeners in Philadelphia.
Gardner: We've also been here with Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability at The Open Group. Thanks so much, Chris.
Harding: Thank you, Dana, it's been a great discussion.
Gardner: And lastly, thanks to Mark Skilton, Global Director in the Strategic Office at Capgemini. Thank you, sir.
Skilton: Thank you, Dana, and to Dave and Chris. It's been an interesting, very topical discussion. Thank you very much.
Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator throughout these thought leader interviews. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.
Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how The Open Group is working to stay ahead of converging challenges organization face with big data, mobile, cloud and social. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2013. All rights reserved.
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