Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Jnan Dash, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Not Quite Ready to Live in the Cloud

Google’s impressive Chromebook Pixel - the latest in a series of devices which are trying to entice users to compute differently

Google’s impressive Chromebook Pixel is just the latest in a series of devices which are trying to entice users to compute in a different way. With (almost) ubiquitous connectivity, and an increasing reliance upon web-based services for mail, calendars, document creation and more, might we be reaching a point at which the browser really can be our means of accessing everything? Philosophically, the idea resonates. And yet, although I am not a power user who needs to regularly process video or edit high resolution images (the usual excuses for not embracing the Chromebook vision), I still remain uncomfortable with giving up my non-browser tools. Despite living and working in the cloud, I find that locally installed client software continues to deliver real value. Maybe, the next time I upgrade a computer, I need to try installing nothing more than a browser for a week or two, and see if it’s as painful as I feel it could be…

The cloud powers my business. The cloud is what I talk to clients about, it’s what I write about, it’s what people pay me to know about. The cloud (and, more generally, the web) make it possible for me to work with clients around the world, often without leaving a small market town in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Every piece of software I buy, install and use (except Microsoft Office, which I do still have to endure from time to time) is little more than a window onto the cloud. Most of those software tools have a web interface that I could use. Even tools which don’t (like OmniFocus) have competitors that do. So in principle I could do pretty well all of my mainstream tasks in a web browser. But I don’t. And I’m not yet sure that I want to.

chromebook-pixelOn one level, mainstays of my working day like Evernote, Reeder and Dropbox exist to ensure that the content I want is available on whichever device I’m using, whenever I need it. Desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone all access the same shared pool of content, banishing the old world in which either everything travelled on a USB stick or (more likely) the document you wanted was on your other device. Both Evernote and Dropbox (and other tools I use) have decent web interfaces. I could just use those, and (provided there’s a network connection) realise the same basic benefit of access to documents and data. But the desktop clients (and mobile apps) bring a degree of polish to the user experience that – to me – still seems to add real value. If nothing else, local caching makes them quicker. Indeed, Reeder is really just a local window onto a web-based service (the soon-to-die Google Reader). That dependency creates an interesting challenge for Reeder’s creator, following Google’s decision to shut down their service.

For email, calendaring and basic document creation, however, I’ve fully embraced the browser-based experience. Google Apps, running inside Chrome, with a few core extensions such as Rapportive. Here, locally installed software no longer adds any value for me. Blogging, too, mostly happens inside a WordPress editor these days. Offline editors like MarsEdit, although good, now languish unused on my hard drive. The boring financial side of my business is also entirely on the web, with everything handled on my bank’s web site or within FreeAgent‘s web-based tool.

And then there’s Skype. With no sign of Google Voice in Europe, Skype remains the mainstay for voice and video communication. And it only works if you’ve downloaded and installed the software. It would be difficult to rely upon a device which wouldn’t let me use Skype.

It’s certainly possible to do almost everything without locally installing any software, and that’s a remarkable step forward. But it’s really not clear that the web-only experience is good enough (yet) for people to embrace it by choice. Thin clients (like the Chromebook) may be cheaper than their Windows and OS X-powered equivalents, especially if sales volumes grow. They may be easier to manage, which must appeal to enterprise IT managers. But would an individual choose to buy one, except to save themselves a bit of money? Not yet, I suspect.

I’ve moved entirely from local email, calendar and blog clients to the web. I’ve moved mostly from local word processing to the web. How long will it be until the web interface for other services becomes our first choice, rather than a useful backup in those situations where you’re borrowing someone else’s computer? It will be interesting to see… The Chromebook (both the eye-wateringly expensive Pixel and cheaper variants) offers an interesting illustration of future potential. With the current state of web tools, though, today’s Chromebooks cannot be more than a niche play. It will not be many years before that changes, and light, fast, cheap, well-connected devices with great batteries become a valid choice for the majority of users in need of a device that isn’t a tablet or a smartphone.

Image © Google.

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, 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. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.