Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, SmartBear Blog, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

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.


  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 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
As-a-service models offer huge opportunities, but also complicate security. It may seem that the easiest way to migrate to a new architectural model is to let others, experts in their field, do the work. This has given rise to many as-a-service models throughout the industry and across the entire technology stack, from software to infrastructure. While this has unlocked huge opportunities to accelerate the deployment of new capabilities or increase economic efficiencies within an organization, i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated a...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
DevOps and Continuous Delivery software provider XebiaLabs has announced it has been selected to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency partner program. The program is designed to highlight software vendors like XebiaLabs who have demonstrated technical expertise and proven customer success in DevOps and specialized solution areas like Continuous Delivery. DevOps Competency Partners provide solutions to, or have deep experience working with AWS users and other businesses to help t...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He will also demonstrate how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Learn how Backup as a Service can help your customer base protect their data. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Stefaan Vervaet, Director of Strategic Alliances at HGST, will discuss the challenges of data protection in an era of exploding storage requirements, show you the benefits of a backup service for your cloud customers, and explain how the HGST Active Archive and CommVault are already enabling this service today with customer examples.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete en...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Masters Technologies, provider of leading network visibility and monitoring solutions, will exhibit at the 17th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Masters Technologies is a leading provider of high speed networking solutions focused on Gigabit, 10 Gigabit, 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet network access and connectivity products. For over 20 ye...