See how InterAct and AT&T helped Harrison County embrace a 21st-century crime-fighting strategy.
For more information, read the Harrison County Case Study.
See how InterAct and AT&T helped Harrison County embrace a 21st-century crime-fighting strategy.
For more information, read the Harrison County Case Study.
Cloud computing and big data will push worldwide IT spending beyond the $2 trillion mark in 2014, according to IDC.
The analyst house predicted a five per cent increase in spending over the next twelve months with cloud, big data, social networking and mobile all making a significant contribution. It said these technologies, when taken together, constitute a “third platform”.
Spending on cloud would increase by 25 per cent to $100 billion in 2014, it said, and there would be a “dramatic increase in the number of datacentres as cloud players race to achieve global scale”. This would be accompanied by a similar expansion in the variety of workload-specific cloud infrastructure services, leading to new forms of differentiation among cloud service providers, the analysts said.
It added, rather dramatically, “a pitched battle will be joined for the developers that can create the cloud-based applications and solutions that will fuel the market’s growth.”
As we look ahead to the new year, we asked six cloud computing experts for their big trends for 2014. Here’s what they came up with:
Werner Vogels, vice president and CTO, Amazon.com
The cloud allows everyone to become a media company: In 2014 expect a great rise in organisations that are adding media capabilities to their offerings. A good example is sports clubs; all are looking for ways to establish an engagement with their fan base beyond the two hours on a weekend. A successful way to achieve a weeklong engagement is by daily distribution or fresh, exclusive media content. The subscription revenues for clubs that often have millions of fans around the world are substantial.
Pete Baxter, UK managing director, Autodesk
Boosting international competitiveness: Access to the cloud is changing the way our design and engineering customers work. The cloud represents an opportunity to continue to boost our competitiveness in the international manufacturing market, enabling a new breed of designers to run cloud based simulations to refine their designs, collaborate with colleagues and partners in any geographical location and have access to unlimited computing power, without the previously prohibitive costs.
In my view 2014 will be the year that the cloud will enable a whole new set of innovations driven from emerging design companies as well as established names in the manufacturing sector as the true power of cloud based design, simulation and analysis as well as collaboration is realised and in doing so allows smaller companies to compete and win in a global market.
Adrian McDonald, president EMEA, EMC
Reducing the cost of IT: Fewer than 4% of enterprise IT workloads will move to the public cloud in 2014, with most efforts focused on private and hybrid cloud development. We also expect that successful organisations will use cloud to reduce the unit cost of IT by more than 38% , whilst the average time for new application deployments will be reduced by more than 20%. This reduction in cost and acceleration in agility will free IT up to innovate beyond its core service delivery duties, supporting the business with new services that make use of their cloud infrastructure, potentially delivering new revenue and growth.
Marc Dietz, director, IBM SmartCloud Solutions
Bringing advanced technology to all workers: Until recently, advanced IT solutions that were tailored for specific lines of business were unavailable to mainstream workers; but today, marketers, sales reps, accountants, and lawyers have direct access to the most advanced technology via cloud computing.
As a result, they can deploy these capabilities on their own, without support from engineers. When combined with a powerful, high value cloud infrastructure-as-a-service built on open standards, the scope, speed and scalability of deploying these solutions is magnified. By contrast, commoditised, proprietary clouds will not allow organisations to grow as business needs dictate so avoid them.
Today International Data Corporation presented their top ten technology predictions for 2014. Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC hosted a webinar to present the research firm’s predictions for 2014 including the research firm’s latest cloud computing market forecast. You can see a replay of the webinar and get the predictions documents at IDC Predictions 2014. They are briefly summarized below:
What am I getting?
Essentially the cloud is the Internet. When we talk about cloud computing we’re talking about applications and data that we access through the Internet rather than accessing it from a computer’s own internal storage. Applications are accessed through the cloud rather than locally which means that the application functions a lot like a website where multiple users can log in and use the service at the same time and independent of each other.
There are two types of cloud computing; the public cloud and the private cloud. The public cloud is what you’d expect – open to anyone, offering on-demand computing resources through the Internet. A private or ‘internal’ cloud functions in much the same way as the public cloud but instead the corporation using it owns and maintains the data centre.
The cloud enables users to run applications and access their files as long as they have access to the Internet which allows the ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) model to be viable. With the SaaS model users never need to pay large capital expenditure for hardware, software and technical support people, instead they ‘rent’ the application from an external body.
As the software is based at a single central location upgrading and maintenance does not inhibit users and all users are upgraded at the same time. Furthermore, users all use the exact same program so everyone’s files are compatible with all other users’ files.
Several areas where retailers would save on expenditure include:
- Reduced amount of IT support staff
When using a cloud application, software and hardware maintenance and upgrades are done by the cloud service provider, which negates the need for on-site IT support for that software.
- Upgrades costs be gone
Instead of buying the latest software version, the cloud service will automatically update for you. This automatic update and upgrade service reduces the need for numerous licences and the time and resource to upgrade your workstations.
- Reduced server upkeep
Servers are a resource hog that require, on-going maintenance, consume energy, and require regular backup and patching. All these costs are absorbed by the cloud service provider.
- Reduced software client deployments
When using a SaaS model, new users simply need an Internet browser to log-on. The beauty of browser accessed software is that you are not tied into a specific hardware platform. In other words, you can use a normal computer, an iPad, or even a mobile phone to quickly access the service.
NG911 is a complex issue and its success requires the support and collaboration of your 911 community and others, such as legislators and other state and local officials. This short animated movie addresses the benefits of Next Generation 911 for the public and first responders.
Google already runs much of the digital lives of consumers through email, Internet searches and YouTube videos. Now it wants the corporations, too.
The search giant has for years been evasive about its plans for a so-called public cloud of computers and data storage that is rented to individuals and businesses. On Tuesday, however, it will announce pricing, features and performance guarantees aimed at companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals.
It is the latest salvo in an escalating battle among some of the most influential companies in technology to control corporate and government computing through public clouds. That battle, which is expected to last years and cost the competitors billions of dollars annually in material and talent, already includes Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.
As businesses move from owning their own computers to renting data-crunching power and software over the Internet, this resource-rich foursome is making big promises about computing clouds. Supercomputing-based research, for example, won’t be limited to organizations that can afford supercomputers. And tech companies with a hot idea will be able to get big fast because they won’t have to build their own computer networks.
Take Snapchat, the photo-swapping service that recently turned down a multibillion-dollar takeover offer from Facebook. It processes 4,000 pictures a second on Google’s servers but is just two years old and has fewer than 30 employees. The company started out working with a Google service that helps young companies create applications and was chosen by Google to be an early customer of its cloud.
Working with Google has allowed Snapchat to avoid spending a lot to support its users. “I’ve never owned a computer server,” said Bobby Murphy, a co-founder and the chief technical officer of Snapchat.
That is a big shift from the days when, for young companies, knowing how to build a complex data center was just as important as creating a popular service.
“These things are incredibly fast — setting up new servers in a minute, when it used to take several weeks to order, install and test,” said Chris Gaun, an analyst with Gartner. “Finance, product research, crunching supercomputing data like genomic information can all happen faster.”
Amazon’s cloud, called Amazon Web Services, was arguably the pioneer of the public cloud and for now is the largest player. Amazon says its cloud has “hundreds of thousands” of customers. Though most of these are individuals and small businesses, it also counts big names like Netflix, which stopped building its own data centers in 2008 and was completely on Amazon’s cloud by 2012. All of Amazon’s services are run inside that cloud, too.
Amid all the privacy concerns about cellphone tracking, one important group is arguing that location data isn’t precise enough: emergency responders.
Police and others say 911 dispatchers are having trouble sending help to callers who use cellphones. The reason: unlike a landline, cellphones provide just a rough estimate—with a possible radius of a few hundred yards—of the caller’s location.
Data released this summer renewed attention to the problem and set off a debate over the adequacy of the tracking data that cellphone carriers share with emergency dispatchers.
“The location of the caller is the most important thing,” said Eric Parry, who oversees 911 calling technology used in Utah. “If I have a ‘what,’ that helps me know what I need to send. If I don’t have a ‘where,’ then the ‘what’ doesn’t help me in the least.”
The proliferation of cellphones has been both a blessing and a headache for law-enforcement officers and other emergency responders. More people with cellphones means it is easier than ever to make a quick call for help.
But if a caller can’t speak or isn’t familiar with his or her location, cellphones make it harder to find them, particularly if they are indoors. Around 38% of households have ditched landlines and rely solely on cellphones, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more people are using them for 911 calls. In California alone, 75% of 911 calls placed in the state during a recent 18-month period were made using cellphones.
In reaction to the shift, 911 dispatchers in recent years have begun asking callers first where they are, rather than the nature of their emergency.
Midsize businesses that are unsure about whether to adopt a cloud computing platform would do well to consult a recent study that found that the cloud can give businesses an edge over their competition. According to the article from CIO Insight, organizations that have already turned to a cloud infrastructure and that are using it to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace are “pacesetters.” These are the companies that are proving to the world how beneficial cloud deployment can be.
As Leana Thorne reported in an Apcrunch article, “Pacesetters have shown a wider usage of cloud systems for 1) strategic reinventions, 2) better decisions, and 3) deeper collaboration.” Pacesetters are not afraid to use the cloud to reinvent and improve their business.
Good business is all about customer relationships, and the survey found that instituting cloud computing improves the interaction between client and business. This happens in part because those pacesetters using cloud computing are able to offer services more rapidly. The cloud opens up the ability to provide offerings more easily through mobile devices, providing yet another advantage in technical solutions. By deploying the cloud, businesses are also able to increase their responsiveness to changes in the market. In turn, these companies are better able to offer their clients the latest innovations sooner than their cloud-averse competition. For a midsize business trying to find its niche in the industry, the ability to offer what other companies cannot improves its image. This requires an IT staff that is responsive to consumer needs and behavior in order to design a cloud environment that can anticipate and react to the ways in which customers use the website.
The Cloud Encourages Growth
Cloud computing is all about expanding beyond traditional limits. In-house servers have a finite amount of space, and expansion can be expensive and even impossible due to available physical space. Cloud deployment, on the other hand, is scalable. IT departments can add and subtract storage space as needed and at a lower cost than other storage options require. The pacesetters have already discovered that the cloud allows the agility to grow quickly.
There are two primary drivers for our current economic recovery.
One is oil, specifically fracked oil and gas. I think we have overestimated its importance, because fracked wells don’t last. Their costs and depletion rates are high. They’re a bridge and not the highway.
Second is cloud, the computing revolution that began in the last decade. I think cloud is the highway, and here’s why.
Back when I started as a tech reporter in the 1980s, one theory held that computers could do just one thing at a time and could run just one operating system. When the Web was first spun, sites could go down if there was a rush of traffic to them.
Cloud changes the paradigm. Distributed computing allows for infinite scale and parallel processing of jobs. Virtualization lets a computer run multiple operating systems, which allows for infinite scaling using the cheapest chips.
Google and Amazon, to their credit, have pushed this idea to its extreme. Google has used cloud technology to become the low-cost provider of everything a computer can do. Amazon has used it to make cloud computing a commodity anyone can buy and use.
Cloud is behind the social boom. Cloud is behind the mobile boom. Cloud elected Barack Obama, and then re-elected him. Cloud is behind the National Security Agency scandal. Cloud makes Healthcare.gov possible. Cloud is why Hewlett-Packard fell from grace and why IBM and Microsoft are following it.
Cloud has created a barbel in computing. The computing middle class, what used to be called enterprise or client-server computing, with PCs connected to servers, is being replaced by centralized, scaled systems on one side and by smartphones and tablets on the other.
Investors first thought that cloud would primarily benefit the tool makers, companies such as Rackspace, RedHat, and VMware, whose software is used in clouds. But even RedHat CEO Jim Whitehurst sought to disabuse people of that notion, saying last year that standard screws and bolts may have made the industrial revolution possible, but that planes, trains and automobiles made the profits.
Most of the planes, trains and automobiles of cloud haven’t been built yet, but already such companies as Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce.com are showing the wisdom in what Whitehurst said. They, and device companies such as Apple, are reaping the biggest profits from the cloud era.
Cloud has transformed computing from something you use to something you do. Computing is now literally “in the air,” through cellular links and WiFi. New clouds are scaling, and so all kinds of things can be monitored through them, from cars and jet engines to the sprinklers on your lawn and the keys in your pocket.