|By Paul Miller||
|April 21, 2013 11:30 AM EDT||
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.
On 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.
- Google’s Chromebook Pixel: $1,299 for a freaking touchscreen Chromebook (venturebeat.com)
- Google unveils touchscreen laptop (bbc.co.uk)
- First real-world usage figures suggest Chromebooks are struggling (zdnet.com)
- My month with the Chromebook Pixel: A review (cnn.com)
- Naysayers be damned: Why I bought a Chromebook Pixel (gigaom.com)
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Jul. 30, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,315
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 30, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,771
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 30, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,303
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 30, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,122
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 30, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,275
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom 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. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 30, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 982
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, 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. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 30, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,411
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Jul. 30, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,126
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,524
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 555
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,189
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,661
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
Jul. 30, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 633
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Jul. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 799
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Jul. 30, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 739
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Jul. 30, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,427
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jul. 30, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,704
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
Jul. 30, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 571
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 30, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,731
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jul. 30, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,156