This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was, more than ever, all about smart home, the Internet of Things (IoT), and greater connectivity in general – all of which wouldn’t be possible without the cloud. Below are some of my favorite technologies coming out of CES powered by cloud computing and web hosting.
Created as an easy-to-use and easier to access platform to manage and run networked and remote 3D printers, the Private 3D Printing Cloud is the answer for secure, accessible, and scalable 3D printing and manufacturing management across the globe. 3DPrinterOS’ cloud platform also provides analytics and tracks the entire lifecycle of every print job, allowing organizations to streamline management and reduce overall cost of printing. The goal, according to CEO John Dogru, is to disrupt the $12 trillion manufacturing market.
We’ve all heard of Netflix, but it’s not the only video streamer in the game. At CES, Cisco showcased its cloud-hosted and managed video solution suite, Infinite Video. The offering provides a white label UI running on iPads, Android-based devices, Apple TVs and OTT boxes, as well as delivers stream optimization and cloud-DVR capabilities for recording multiple channels simultaneously.
At CNET’s annual CES Smart Home Panel, Eric Free, Vice President of Intel’s Internet of Things Group, speculated using Intel’s internal projection that we can expect “50 billion devices connected to the cloud, twenty to thirty per home.” Amazon’s Alexa system—a voice-activated, cloud-based assistant—is one such device coming out of CES 2016. According to Nick Statt at The Verge, “Alexa is weaving its way into third-party products here as varied as home security cameras, lighting systems, and Ford vehicles,” connecting even more products to the cloud.
The cloud can even be good for our health. Just look at Under Armour’s HealthBox 24/7 activity monitoring system. All the pieces of tech that make up the kit communicate with UA’s coaching app and website, storing and analyzing data, finding trends, and recommending custom workouts. Medtronic’s MiniMed Connect links your insulin pump system to the cloud, making it easy to see your pump and glucose details, share information with family and friends, and track your history.
It’s clear that the future of consumer tech is connected, and that a greater number of organizations are relying on a mix of private, personal, and public cloud platforms to develop more complex products and deliver the best experience to their customers. There’s nothing I love more than seeing the direct impact of cloud computing and the solutions and services that are made possible by harnessing the technology–looking forward to all that’s to come in 2016.
What is a consumer cloud service?
POSTED BY GLOBAL ADMINISTRATOR
Over the past two days, vendors aplenty have been strutting their stuff at the 3rd Annual Cloud Computing World Forum. What struck me as noteworthy was the fact that, at a time when a host of major OTT players – Apple, Google, Amazon – are trumpeting their consumer-facing cloud services, the focus of the event was resolutely in the enterprise space.
This is by no means a criticism – the quality of the presentations was excellent, with Michael Vatis’ overview of the positively frightening implications of conflicting national legislations on data storage a personal favourite – but rather to my mind is indicative of the fact that while there is a fairly broad consensus on what cloud in the enterprise constitutes (the US National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a (relatively) concise definition here) when we move into the consumer space, then: boy, is it a different story.
While the pronouncements of Apple, Google, Amazon et al have popularized the concept of the cloud, they have at the same time confused the issue; when I hear of every streaming service being described as “cloud-based”, I know we are on the road to a scenario where cloud-based equals web-based, and that isn’t going to help anybody. Thus, while – as Mark Johnstone, the Show Director, observed in his introduction, “the focus is no longer on the concept of cloud”, that is true only in the enterprise space, and thus, having agreed the broad parameters for discussion, it is possible to have a meaningful – and in the case of the Cloud Computing World Forum, informed and informative – debate in this arena. In the consumer space, anything goes, hence we’re some way from the meaningful debate stage.
I raised this issue at the event, citing Woody Allen’s pithy observation that “We can say that the universe consists of a substance, and this substance we will call atoms, or else we will call it monads. Democritus called it atoms. Leibniz called it monads. Fortunately, the two men never met, or there would have been a very dull argument.”
Now, I am not one for debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but in this case I think if we are going to have some kind of discussion of the future of cloud mobility in the consumer space, then we need some ground rules, starting with a definition of the basic criteria for what is, and what is not, a consumer cloud service.
So here goes. A service can be defined as a consumer cloud service if it fulfils the following five criteria:
Where content can be accessed on demand by the end user
Where access to content is enabled by a remote third-party
Where content storage is scalable
Where content is accessed via the Internet and via web services APIs
Where content is stored remotely from (and uploaded from) the accessing device in a “digital locker”
This is very much a starting point, and by no means the finished article; I would welcome any suggestions, criticisms, amendments or additions that you might put forward.
Over to you, dear reader…