Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Jeev Trika, Kevin Benedict, Elizabeth White, Philippe Abdoulaye

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Facebook and Google: The Race for the Next-Gen Communications Platform

Part 2: The battle lines are being drawn between the over-the-top (OTT) players and telecommunications companies

In Part 1, I looked at what could be behind Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and subsequent purchase of Oculus Rift. How are these seemingly different acquisitions related? There is no question that both Facebook and Google are in a race to build the next-generation computing/communications platform (after mobile) and the battle lines are being drawn between the over-the-top (OTT) players and telecommunications companies. After all, both Facebook and Google count on telcos to deliver services to their customer base. How will the WhatsApp and Oculus Rift acquisitions shape Facebook and impact the rest of the market including Google and mobile?

Facebook did not pay $19 billion for WhatsApp simply because it's an SMS replacement, a Skype and Twitter competitor, because it could grow its international subscriber base, or could attract customers among the coveted millennial demographic - although these reasons are icing on the cake. Facebook's WhatsApp acquisition was a shot across the bow to telcos: we will be masters of our own destiny and not be reliant on you to reach our customers. With the addition of voice calling to WhatsApp, this puts even more pressure on mobile providers who are already feeling the heat from WhatsApp, which has cost them billions in lost SMS revenue. Now, they have to worry about an even bigger impact on their bread and butter voice business if that follows a similar pricing pressure trajectory. With an already 450 million strong WhatsApp subscriber base added to Facebook's own customer base, Facebook has the ideal launch pad for the next-generation communications platform provided by Oculous Rift. While Facebook and Google have similar business (new subscribers and advertising revenue) and personal (secure a place in the history books) motivation that is driving both companies overall strategy, their approach is quite different.

Google Glass addresses the ubiquitous nature of communications, which started with the mobile phone. Google wants you to be able to communicate without taking your phone out and checking for messages, texting and more. In contrast, Facebook imagines a world where a computer has essentially removed you from the real world and placed you in a virtual world. While Glass enables users to text, receive messages, take pictures, record videos and chat, Oculus Rift provides users (remember that important Whatsapp subscriber base) with the opportunity to interact in a virtual online city. Think digital billboards, among other advertising opportunities. In a nutshell, the key distinction comes in the way these technologies are meant to be used: Google Glass wants to augment the real world by making technology and devices fade into the background, while Facebook wants to improve reality by eliminating it altogether. Google Glass thinks the real world is fine if you can speed it up and make it better with faster search and navigation - Oculus will put you in a room by yourself where you can communicate with people thousands of miles away, putting the real world out of your mind.

This difference in end goal is immediately apparent just in each product's design. Google Glass is slick and almost Apple-like in its appearance, and is convenient for everyday use, whereas Oculus Rift is bulky and is not likely to be worn outside. Google Glass may still look a little ridiculous for the time being if it's being worn in public, but nowhere near as ridiculous as Oculus - that is a virtual reality device only meant to be worn behind closed doors. Zuckerberg's comments on the acquisition provide additional support to the long-term Oculus play. "Strategically we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile. There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform. [This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing." He also views the technology as more than a device for video games, noting "Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people's everyday life."

So what can we conclude for Facebook's future? While gaming is a good place to start, there are many other future uses for virtual reality that can be imagined. With a growing developer community and partners, there is a myriad of applications that can be developed and monetized. With a user base of more than one billion and a growing and a shiny new virtual reality platform, Facebook might be ready for what's next. Imagine experiencing the FIFA World Cup, sharing adventures with friends or learning in a virtual world simply by putting your goggles on. This is Facebook, next generation. If it had to use its very deep pockets to acquire its way into this new world, so be it, but the social interaction with your online friends has the potential to become an addictive (and arguably scary) pastime.

Facebook and Google see the next generation computing/communications platform in a fundamentally different way. Glass makes your everyday life easier; the Rift enables you to escape it all together. Which approach will win remains to be seen, but what is a certainty is that we will see more ads along the way than anyone can possibly consume - just the way both companies planned it. They will see a new wave of revenue, but their motivations are now bigger. The money from ads ultimately fulfills much bigger ambitions. Whether that's simply a place in the history books or changing the world in a fundamental way, time will tell.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor 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. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...