All Your Belongings Will Be Powered By Cloud

Cloud Devices

  • Cloud Computing as a Backbone
  • Third Platform Overview
  • Integrating All Your Stuff
  • Getting it Right the First Time

Cloud Computing as a Backbone

Technology changes rapidly, with the discussion of technological development keeping pace. Technologists are always trying to see through the façade of various emergent concepts and determine if they are legitimately revolutionary and practically applicable or not. However, writes Nathaniel Borenstein on Gigaom, it’s important to stay abreast of industry developments because the technology could point to a major transition for our businesses and lifestyles.

Borenstein considers the internet of things (IoT) to be today’s most hyped technology, with thorough and continuing press coverage. He is quick to point out that the IoT does not represent a shift away from cloud computing. In fact, this broader web that will incorporate the objects around us will be built on the third platform – which includes cloud along with social networking, mobile computing, and big data.

Cloud has become such a major infrastructural mechanism that it now serves as a backbone of the web, hosting thousands of applications that together have an enormous impact on our lives.

“It is tough to imagine our current lives without cloud computing,” Borenstein notes, “and the cloud is the technology infrastructure (along with electricity itself) that literally keeps the world working, communicating and learning – and therefore, the IoT needs the cloud to reach its full potential.”

Third Platform Overview

Before looking more thoroughly at Borenstein’s thesis, let’s briefly review the third platform, as described by Mark Neistat of US Signal Company. The third platform follows the mainframe computer and the personal computer as the most innovative standard environment in which users and service providers operate.

Mobile access is the most critical aspect of the third platform, argues Neistat, for two main reasons:

  • Users interact with social media, cloud, and data analytics via mobile.
  • Mobile computing optimizes personal choice with “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs that incorporate all brands of smart phones and tablets into a network.

You can see how all these various elements are integrated. Social networks are accelerating in response to the skyrocketing use of mobile access, and that is particularly evident outside the United States, with projected growth rates for international regions as follows:

  • Middle East/Africa – 23%
  • Asia-Pacific (China, India, etc.) – 21%
  • Central and South America – 13%
  • North America – 4%.

Third, the cloud market continues to expand globally. Everything is gradually moving from a physical to a virtual model, with spending on cloud computing expected to exceed $200 billion by 2016.

Big data is the fourth and final pillar of the third platform. This type of data is not helpful by itself because it is simply a massive amount of information collected during the course of normal business. However, big data becomes actionable through sophisticated analytics. Neistat explains, “IT professionals are crunching vast quantities of seemingly chaotic information and discovering patterns that can lead to insightful, life-saving, and profitable predictions.”

Integrating All Your Stuff

Taken individually, connected objects would be extraordinarily difficult to manage and support. Designing the internet of things must not be done as innumerable client-server connections. One device might need to communicate with 5 or 10 online applications, and each application might be trying to communicate with a million different objects at once. That’s a recipe for disaster. Keeping the software of independent objects current sounds so challenging that many people have disregarded the IoT as riddled with security holes.

How do you create consistency for the internet of things so that all users and devices are protected? The cloud can serve as central command.

Every object can have its own software-as-a-service (SaaS) portal to which it submits information and remembers the preferences of its users. Additional services can be integrated with that single point of cloud-based contact.

By moving data processing to cloud, management become simpler. The market also becomes less daunting for developers. But anyone who develops any type of service can draw on the object’s data within the cloud.

Everything can fit seamlessly, says Borenstein: “The part of a smart object that interacts with the cloud can be made extremely generic, and therefore relatively easy and inexpensive to manage.”

Getting it Right the First Time

Everyone says the IoT is on its way, but the only way security and integration will be effective is if data is centralized in a standardized model. Setting the work in the cloud will also improve performance, rather than relying on the computing power of every small connected object.

Borenstein explains that your smart objects don’t really need to be all that smart. If we connect them to centralized cloud servers, they will simply need to be able to send and receive data from the web, where any complex computing will be conducted.

Perhaps the most important gift we will receive from the third platform is a fully realized smart environment. Imagine a world in which everything around you is controlled by technology that often outpaces supercomputers. Get ready by optimizing your third-platform experience today.

By Kent Roberts