Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Jim Kaskade, John Basso

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
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
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.