The Internet of Things: We live in interesting times
The global village, mobile devices, online marketplaces, social networks, and on-demand entertainment all have a part to play. People all over the world are increasing the time they spend in the virtual world. They’re buying, selling, sharing, studying, developing apps, hanging out in social networks, and starting to use digital currencies that bypass traditional banking.
Alongside these community-driven ideas, we are also seeing enormous change in business to business relationships. Cloud computing enables any size business to obtain and manage big-business manufacturing, warehousing, marketing, data analytics, enterprise applications and global spread. Supply chains are radically altered: a business of any size can buy, produce and sell globally, and leverage vertically and horizontally integrated supply chains.
Money is being revolutionized. Secure computing networks have long ago globalized finance. Digital currencies claim to replace central banks. Capital can be raised through crowd sourcing. Cost structures are changing dramatically: the barriers to entry into many businesses have been dramatically lowered. Some businesses have been funded through the cloud as well as staffed virtually and globally through the cloud. They maintain partnerships through the cloud and find customers through the cloud.
What these innovations all have in common is that to scale to the size they want and get the reach they want, they need to put these ideas into the cloud as cloud computing applications.
The Evolution of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has itself evolved, changing its name several times in the process (remember “application service providers,” and of course, “hosting?”). Great enablers have been known to lose steam as new technology comes along, but the cloud has actually gone through several rounds of innovation and seems to be still going strong.
Each of these name changes represents a real jump in scalability, flexibility, and operational efficiencies. Thanks to stacks of virtual clouds, we now have scalable, fast and inexpensive infrastructure leveling the playing field for companies large and small.
Or, put another way, the quality and range of hardware and software available to global businesses is now universally available on a pay-per-use basis. The smallest app developer in Shanghai, Santa Clara, Tel Aviv or Berlin, mobile micro-entrepreneurs in Accra or Bombay, coffee farmers in Kenya and alpaca breeders in Chile and Peru all benefit.
Technologists have enabled this disruptive phenomenon. But the real disruption is in human terms, and this is an even greater achievement. Finally, people everywhere get a chance to innovate, create, play and participate in an inclusive global economy.
It’s all in the cloud
Anyone wanting to be a leader; or at least a player in any market needs to fully embrace cloud architecture. In this virtualized world, companies can throw open their doors to innovation and collaboration across the enterprise, whether large or small.
Companies and open source developers, CIOs and entrepreneurs share information in specialist groups on social networks, raising the bar on best practice, SLAs and APIs. Webinars bring people together from the four corners of the globe to ponder and provide insights to trends and technologies. Leading universities, such as Harvard and MIT (News - Alert), through their joint NGO EdX, bring the best in higher education free to students wherever there is Internet access in the world. As computer science and artificial intelligence are among the EdX courses, we can expect a lot more innovation from areas not readily associated with global economic leadership.
With all the tools of the trade available as a service (XaaS) and at a realistic cost, SMEs can spend their time concentrating on their core business.
Cloud Computing is its own silver lining
The outer appearance and inner workings of economies and societies have been blown onto a new course. Fortunately, this “disruption” carries none of the negativity inherent in the word. The disruptive revolution of this particular cloud most definitely has a silver lining! It has opened its doors to everyone, everywhere and is spreading empowerment, mobility and the opportunity and promise of a better future.