@CloudExpo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Opinion

The Geopolitical Context of Cloud Computing

Technology Vendors Must Be Exquisitely Aware of World Events

Cloud computing is a global phenomenon and exists within a very serious geopolitical context. The technology is not discrete from government policy, and technology marketers must be exquisitely aware of this.

The highest profile example is Google's ongoing sparring with the Chinese government. But in a way, we're all Google and we should understand why. Blackberry's conflict with the Indian government over message privacy is another big example.

When Things Were Simple
International technology marketing used to be simple. Just watch what took off in the US and Canada, then make sure you were in Germany 18 months later, the rest of Europe 6 months after that, and in Japan five more years down the road. The rest of the world could be, in a word, ignored.

The Worldwide Web, modern telecommunications, and their combined global impact has now changed all this. The United States fell behind several countries in the 90s in the area of mobile-phone technology and its use. Then, as computing changed from an early emphasis on expensive hardware and software to lower-cost proliferating devices and free Web stuff, the world suddenly looked to be a much more level playing field (even if it's not actually flat).

The world outside of the United States didn't get caught up in the bogus "New Economy" talk of the late 90s, so didn't suffer as much in the dot-bomb era. But in the current Prodigal Web Returns era, technology marketers face a global village that never sleeps, and one in which everyone wants the latest stuff.

It's been widely noted that netizens of the Philippines (where I'm based for the time being) are the world champion texters, held the MySpace title when it mattered, and are embracing Facebook and other social networking sites with the same enthusiasm. The rest of the major Southeast Asian nations are not far behind.

Facebook et al are seismically active elsewhere as well. About 70% of the FB user base is outside of the US-a reversal of what technology marketers encountered in the long ago Greed is Good Age of the 80s.

Immediate Effect
And here's what I think is the important part: the geopolitical actions of government leaders in Beijing, Washington, and dozens of other national capitals has a direct, immediate effect on the technology industry today.

As the onset of World War I demonstrated, a provocative event in the relatively modest outpost of Sarajevo unleashed simmering tensions among the great powers of the age, resulting in tens of millions of deaths in the two wars that followed.

Today's geopolitical landscape is at least as fraught with tripwires as that of 1914. In almost 100 years, all of our technology has not made us humans any more peaceful or cooperative.

Businesses can ignore nothing today, in the way they could simply pay no attention in the past to what was going on behind the Iron Curtain, and elsewhere.

So, for example, I fear for the rising tensions between the Philippines and China over the obscure Spratly Islands group (and its potential to produce oil). Vietnam is involved here, too.

China is also spending precious diplomatic currency in trying to be ideologically correct in supporting the lunatic in North Korea while being practical in finding an end to Korean conflict after all these decades.

This is occurring as the US and China are engaged in "frank" dialogs about currency and the looming potential for cyberwar. Could a minor incident such as a Chinese ship firing near a couple of Filipino fisherman, which happened a few weeks ago, be the Sarajevo spark of our age?

Harder to Say On Message
Successful businesspeople are by nature and by training able to stay on message, not let extraneous factors smudge their focus, or get wrapped into political theories and governmental pantomime. In the past, this was generally an effective approach.

To be sure, one had to be aware of the big events - revolutions in Cuba and Iran, oil crises spawned by cartels, and the general business climate in any particular place.

But today, businesspeople must have their products and services available almost everywhere in the world, with the knowledge that seemingly small stuff might quickly lead to something to sweat about.

"Don't sweat the small stuff, but none of it is small stuff" might be the mantra of this age.

How concerned should we be about Iran's nuclear program? What major powers (eg, Russia) might eventually come into serious conflict with the US and Europe over this?

What role is an increasingly confident and powerful Turkey going to play, especially as it continues its movement from its modern secular roots? Is Brazil truly emerging as a world manufacturing power, and will it lead to conflict with the US and Canada some day?

Meanwhile, the Arab Spring is turning into summer, with very little decided. Things are far from sorted out in Egypt, which has fast-emerged as an outsourcing power and technology buyer over the past five years. Libya is a huge mess, with Western allies either undecided or lying about whether they really are trying to kill its leader. Syria could be the next Libya. Yemen is very troubled, and the trouble in Bahrain has not gone away.

And folks, what if the spirit of revolution moves to Saudi Arabia? Or Dubai?

There are also issues of government policy. This is a big, fascinating topic, one which I plan to write about extensively over the next year. For now, in this context, I read recent remarks by a top Google executive who downplayed - was even dismissive of - concerns about data sovereignty, ie, the issue of government wanting to keep Cloud data in-country.

He offered a few sound technical reasons for this opinion. But sound technical reasoning is not on the list of most politicians' competencies, in the US or the world. Ruh roh.

Twitter: @strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@CloudExpo Stories
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Masters Technologies, a leader in Network Visibility and Uptime Solutions, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Masters Technologies is a leading vendor in the network monitoring and high speed networking markets. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, Interface Masters' expertise lies in Gigabit, 10 Gigabit and 40 Gigabit Eth...