Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: David H Deans, Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, Wearables, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

A Love Story: Devices and Cloud – Perfect Together

Cloud is highly available, which means it remains “indifferent” regardless of where, when, or who is using the service

We've heard about Google Glasses. And we've heard about Apple iWatch. And yes, we've heard about people embedding cellphones into shoes [1]. Once again, the term "wearable computing" is becoming a hot topic in news and literatures. Some have even announced that the age of wearable technology is here [2]. The world is surely changing fast. Aren't we still debating who makes the best smartphones and the best tablets? What's going on here?

The foreseeable booming of wearable computing is just another chapter of the unstoppable fusion process between cyber space and reality. Eventually, machine computing will become ubiquitous, and the boundary between human bodies and devices will fade away. This is a vision shared by many scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs and Hollywood writers. It's becoming a reality faster than we might have expected. Devices will no longer be just peripheral augmentations, but be inextricably intertwined with human lives.

Then, what's stopping mobile phones and tablets to play such roles? It turns out to be something simple - it's because we are "using" these devices. And because we are "using" the devices, we are unconsciously rejecting these devices from being part of ourselves. After all, "using" tools is not a foreign concept to us, and we intuitively know that tools are not part of us. However, the way we interact with a wristwatch is rather different. First, we rarely think "let me use my watch to look up time." We simply think, "Let me look up time (by looking at my watch)." The difference is subtle, however, a significant one in the way that we are not engaging an explicit "use" action, but a natural "look" action, which is an rudimentary function of our body. Second, we have to look out for battery consumption of mobile devices to keep them operational. Just as we don't consciously manage our body parts, the simple fact that we have to care about availability of these extra capabilities reminds us of the alien nature of these devices. On the other hand, we never turn off our watches, nor do our watches go into sleep mode by themselves. The functionalities provided by our watches are always available to us, making them natural augmentations of our own capabilities.

A wearable device is not a brand-new concept [3]; however, the term gets a new twist at the dawn of cloud computing. In this new word, wearable devices are connected devices. The characteristics of cloud and devices make them a perfect match: Cloud extends the capability of devices by providing infinite processing power, unlimited storage, and unparalleled opportunities for collaboration among devices. On the other hand, devices supplement cloud by bringing contextual relevancy, data collection, and everywhere access to the table.

Cloud is highly available, which means it remains "indifferent" regardless of where, when, or who is using the service. A search for "the best Italian restaurants" around the globe is rarely useful. However, when you issue the same search from your device, the search criteria can be enriched by contextual information - is the restaurant nearby based on your geo-location? Is the restaurant currently open based on current day and time? Is it within your price range based on your spending history? The list goes on and on, and you automatically get much more fine-tuned, personalized results simply because of the personal attachment provided by the device. In other words, devices make cloud services relevant to real lives.

Devices are up close and personal, which means they are seriously "tunnel-visioned." For example, a thermometer reports only temperature readings. Without cross references with other data such as location and time, the reading is barely useful by itself - 40 °C in a teapot and 40 °C on a forehead have very different implications. Even with more powerful devices such as mobile phones, social attributes of their owners can't be captured by the devices alone. Humans are social animals. Being able to reflect on the rich social contexts is a very important capability of mobile phones acquired only when they are connected to cloud. Let's go back to the restaurant example: with the assistance of cloud, your mobile phones are able to tell you how others think about the restaurant; You'll be able to query if the restaurant has enough seating capacity for your party; you may reserve seats or place your orders directly; and you can take a picture of your dish and show it off to your friends.

At the business level, devices and cloud have interleaved connections as well. Cloud services follow a very different business model compared with what is for traditional software. Traditional software is a high-margin industry, while cloud services are a high-volume-low-margin industry. For cloud platform to really prosper, it has to build up the critical mass. The scale of this critical mass exceeds all the scales traditional software vendors can ever imagine. Cloud services need to reach out to a large number of clients simply to keep the business model viable. Here we are not talking about numbers in hundreds or thousands. Instead, we are looking at the scale of millions or even billions. How to reach this number? Cloud platform vendors need to look beyond PCs, beyond tablets, and beyond smartphones. They need to make cloud ubiquitous. They need to reach out to every aspects of human lives. Hence, they will be the deciding force that finally merge the cyber space and reality together.

Just as I won't be surprised if Google makes a Google Jacket, or Apple makes an iCollar for dogs, I won't be surprised if your refrigerator automatically orders some meatballs for you because it thinks you are probably going to make pasta tonight. I can easily imagine your water bottle follows you around when you jog through the park. Devices and cloud are perfect together, and their love story has just began.

References:

  1. http://news.msn.com/science-technology/video?videoid=275a3b9a-165b-7ede-...
  2. http://www.hindustantimes.com/technology/PersonalTech-Updates/Age-of-wea...
  3. Mann, Steven (1998): Humanistic computing: "WearComp" as a new framework and application for intelligent signal processing. In Proceedings of the IEEE, 86 (11) pp. 2123-2151

More Stories By Haishi Bai

Haishi Bai is a Windows Azure Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. Ever since he wrote his first program when he was 12, the world for him has always been all about software and services. In his 16 years of professional life, he’s been engaged in various areas ranging from finance to public safety, and he’s taken on different roles such as architect, development lead, and project manager. He’s also a passionate educator who loves to share his knowledge. He runs a technical blog at http://blog.haishibai.com that focus on cloud technologies. The site attracts over 60,000 views monthly. His Twitter handle is @HaishiBai2010.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems Inc, provides the software product "The Interactor" that uniquely simplifies building IoT, Web and Smart Enterprise Solutions. It is a Silicon Valley startup funded by US government agencies, NSF and DHS to bring innovative solutions to market.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...