Archive: Cloud computing

December 20th, 2011 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy | 1 Comment

10 Top Technology Trends for 2012

My friend and colleague Mark Anderson publishes the Strategic News Service, for many years the most accurate newsletter on technology trends. Each December he makes his top ten predictions for technology in the coming year. Among his ten predictions below (read them in full here at SNS) the two most interesting are number 1 about TV and number 3 about the cloud. Virtually every tech expert is saying that in the contest between computers and televisions the phone will be the winner. Not so fast, says Mark, next year the TV will emerge as the center. And cloud computing will dissipate somewhat as enterprises are unable to trust it for mission critical activity. Check out all the forecasts…

I. TV Becomes the New Center of Gravity in the tech universe, as all other devices find their niches in the TV galaxy.

II. 2012 Will See Tectonic Shifts in Phone Markets.

    The Wireless Revolution Is Real: Asia Is In, Scandinavia Is Second. Nokia, the historic market leader, fails to regain global dominance…
    Google Loses Technology Control of Android…
    Smartphones Grow Share Dramatically to dominate the total cellphone market.

III. Clouds Are for Consumers (and Startups). Even as a large number of enterprises move pilots onto external clouds, it will become clear that the real trend is for enterprise to stay away from clouds in all key areas, for reasons both of security and reliability.

IV. Security Splits the Tech World in Two, finally getting Front of Mind (and wallet) attention from CEOs: companies with real IP, and the others (Meat vs. Mashed Potatoes).

V. SIRI Stuns the World.

VI. We Enter the Amazing World of Dave and HAL, as Voice Recognition comes of age.

VII. E-Readers Prosper, but Pads Continue to Dominate the CarryAlong Market.

VIII. The Consumption World Explodes. Get ready for new devices, new content, new bundles, new connection techniques, new distribution channels, new aggregators, new pads, new phones, new players, new self-published authors, new garage bands, new consumption models riding on social networks: there is nothing but high energy in the content consumer market. People are now ready to spend subscription money for this sector, and the publisher response will be huge.

IX. Governments and Corporations Focus on IP as though it were their most prized asset. It is.

X. Amazon Gets It All.

You have to read the whole thing at SNS.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist, author, speaker, consultant, and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech, workshop or consultation contact Futurist.com.

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October 28th, 2011 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Science & Tech | Comments Off

Information Technology Spending: Make Way for the Cloud

Ahh, to live in the clouds. We’ve been there for a decade, and each day more of what we do – make a call, watch a video, navigate a car, order a product, read a book, play a game, takes place in the cloud. Yes, cloud computing is just a clever name for big server farms and client services on your local device, which can sound a lot like the old days of computing if you have been around long enough. But, it just grows and grows.

We recently came across a quite wonderful video that explains the cloud in a way both clever and informative. Enjoy.


The State of Cloud Computing from JESS3 on Vimeo.


The cloud does allow for many efficiencies which is a good thing, given that federal spending on IT is expected to be restrained through 2017, according to Bloomberg.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist author, speaker, consultant, and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech, workshop or consultationcontact Futurist.com.

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May 29th, 2009 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Innovation, Science & Tech | Comments Off

World on FiRe – Notes & Impressions from FiRe 2009

Last week included four eventful days at the annual Future In Review conference put on by the Strategic News Service. This year, the last at the San Diego Del Coronado was the best of the five I have attended, of the eight that have been held. (full disclosure – I am on the planning committee offering my thoughts as a futurist consultant and speaker).

What began as a high level conference about the 5-year future of technology has become over time a 360-degree look at the issues and challenges facing the world, the near term potentials in technology, and the need for concerted system-wide action to produce a more just and prosperous world. This is quite an evolution and has made the FiRe conference one of the most influential global events each year.

You can read more about FiRe 2009 here, and also learn how to register for FiRe 2010, which will be held in Los Angeles (Palos Verdes) next year.

FiRe is the kind of conference that begins early each day and runs more or less non-stop till late evening. Thus this report hits only the highlights, for me.

Two themes dominated the program – earth in peril, and technology driving the economic rebound.

Here are tech innovations discussed in the general program that seemed particularly important…

The Cloud. This concept is subject to hype and is dismissed by many for that reason. Simply defined it means the ability of servers to hold all personal data and to run applications so that personal computing machines can go back to the future as terminals that access the cloud. In practice it may mean that you could walk up to any terminal, anywhere and access your own “desktop” that actually resides in a variety of servers. One Cloud expert explained to me that this would enable schools, for example, to resurrect obsolete computers, turn them into terminals, and provide inexpensive high-level computing to everyone. There are many hurdles to jump before this becomes a robust, and stable reality, but the cloud is a clear trend in future computing.

The Gigabit Age. A great story around the world, less so in the U.S., is the continuing installation of much improved bandwidth via fiber and wireless. We learned about an economic stimulus project in Australia, for example, to replace copper wires with fiber to something like 90% of all buildings and homes, enabling Australia to leap ahead in the information economy by providing net speeds dozens of times faster than available in the U.S. This $43 billion project would cost $350 billion in the U.S., but the U.S. is spending only $7 billion on enhanced bandwidth as part of the stimulus, a missed opportunity. In Australia, a key driver for more bandwidth is the Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder project.

The Web becomes the Stream – As we move beyond Web 2.0 into an evermore interactive network, in which users send as much material as they consume, via social nets and video sites, and so on, it becomes obvious that we are progressing from the Internet through the Web to the Stream. It is the constant flow of information that matters. (When Sonia Sotomayor is nominated to the Supreme Court, within about 90 seconds her bio on Wikipedia has been updated.) No static website or traditional media company can keep pace.

Electric Cars Progressing. Elon Musk brought the Tesla for more test drives (below is my turn), but more importantly reported a just-completed agreement with Daimler to partner in producing the Tesla Motors sedan set for delivery in 2011, at half the cost of the Tesla sports model, with a 300+ mile range on a single electric charge. (Elon also reported on progress with private space launch, including the contract with NASA to be a cargo delivery vehicle for the space station.)

Glen Hiemstra test drives the Tesla at FiRe 2009

Glen Hiemstra test drives the Tesla at FiRe 2009

Other Tech Tid-bits – Mark Hurd, CEO of HP explained why printing will continue to grow when only 20% of current printing is digital. He also noted that they build manufacturing capacity overseas so that they can manufacture close to the buyers; only 8% of their cost is labor, so cheap labor is not the driver, being close to customers is. This was interesting.

Apple is reported to be purchasing 7-inch screens; the question is for what?

Thorium may be the nuclear fuel of the future – it is more abundant than uranium, cannot be processed into weapons grade material, decays in about 75 years instead of thousands, and can be used in current reactor designs. Since the energy future may depend on getting energy from many sources, this may keep nuclear in the game.

A smart grid will dramatically reduce energy consumption, especially if humans become part of the “smart.” A recent test in Colorado by Accenture energy showed that installing a small screen on the refrigerator in homes that monitors electricity usage around the house and makes the numbers visible led to 50% decrease in energy consumption. Knowing what is going on in real time makes a difference.

Calit2 Lab Open House at UCSD: Larry Smarr once again organized an evening at Calit2, the future of computing and telecommunications program at UCSD. I will blog about some specific things there in the future as well – highlights included progress with super-hi definition screens and real-time telepresence, life-like robotics, and the use of wide arrays of sensors to learn about geographic information.

…Fire Starters – the breakthrough companies. Each year at Fire new companies are nominated to be “Fire Starters,” those early stage companies with a compelling product or service and a chance to change the world. This year there were 13 companies. One of my tasks was to interview the principals in these companies for short web-video introductions. Those videos will roll out over the next weeks, and I will blog about each company separately, but here are a couple of standouts:

Smaato – bringing order and scale to the world of mobile advertising.

Blue Mars, from Avatar Reality – soon to debut a robust, multi-user next generation online virtual world.

SIMtone – bringing cloud computing closer to reality and making it greener.

Vesta Health Systems – developing a technology platform for a simple, strong disinfectant effective against virus and bacteria.

Earth in Peril

The second and dominant theme at FiRe 2009 was “earth in peril.” This was kicked off by the opening dinner keynote from Professor V ‘Ram’ Ramanathan. Dr. Ramanathan is a distinguished researcher in climate science and global warming. His databased explanation of where global warming is now was sobering to all, even those most knowledgeable on the subject. His program title, “Practical Strategies for Solving the Climate Problem” was intriguing, and he delivered. It turns out that while CO2 is the biggest long-term problem in that we are producing so much, and it is so long lasting in the atmosphere, the other green house gases offer some hope of faster success in reducing global warming. Methane, soot, and other greenhouse emissions are easier to reduce, and what is already in the atmosphere dissipates in months or years, not centuries. Thus, if we can eliminate these green house gases soon, the impact will be immediate, and will buy time for the more difficult problem of reducing CO2.

Beyond climate change, there was a major emphasis on the health of the oceans and ocean species. Roger Payne and Lewis Douglas from the Ocean Alliance reported on new research showing chromium to be a problem pollutant in ocean species. Paul Watson of Greenpeace reported on the battle with the Japanese over whaling. And film producer and director Louis Psihoyos presented a premier showing of his documentary, The Cove, winner of the Sundance and Cannes festival awards. This powerful film highlights the plight of dolphins and the secret industry that kills them. The film opens theatrically in August 2009.

CTO Challenge – the Global Water Shortage

A final feature of the FiRe event has become the “CTO Challenge.” Chief technology and information officers are given a problem to solve, and a couple of days to solve it. This year the challenge was the looming water shortages, in and around San Diego. The team did an outstanding job which we will report more fully as well, but a highlight was the idea of covering canals with anti-evaporation covers, and those with solar cells to collect energy to run the pumps and provide excess energy from an already established right-of-way. Great idea.

Final thought – best FiRe yet. Join the party next year.

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