Everyone is familiar with the famous ‘Cloud.’ Many imagine it to be a serene, white landscape decorated with family photos, phone numbers and laptop back-ups from years gone by. Others see it as the most amazing cure-all in the history of IT. As far as the non-tech crowd is concerned, if they “just let the Cloud handle it” all issues are magically resolved. But, as many of you know, the Cloud is much more than a fairy tale land of convenient data storage and computing power.
What’s with the Clouds?
In reality, the Cloud is a decentralized collection of servers and computers used to store and process data that has revolutionized the world around us. The catchy name was coined by some engineers from Compaq, because this decentralized processing model was typically illustrated with a cartoon cloud. My company, STB Systems, provided video graphics solutions to Compaq back in the 90’s when they came up with the term—before they became HP. I can honestly attest that, yes, they were the smartest kids on the block!
Flash forward to 2017. Despite the Cloud’s current prominence and obvious convenience, it might be forced to share the spotlight with a “new” computing model—peer-to-peer processing.
The reason is our ever-growing Internet of Things. Simply put, the IoT is the network of sensors, vehicles, buildings, wearables, and other devices that require true, real-time processing. Processing requirements that are far faster than even the Cloud can provide. This need for speed is due to several things, including the massive number of small data intake events, the simple actions connected devices must make thousands of times a day, and the life-threatening nature of others that require as near to real-time processing as possible. Simple actions are things like changing the temperature on your thermostat or switching off lights, and far more critical actions include the decision to stop a connected car before running over pedestrians in a parking lot.
The Nature of Connectivity
In regards to fashion, weather and computing, everything moves in cycles. Since computing was invented we have undulated between centralized and decentralized processing models. So far we have gone from mainframe computing to client-server, mobile cloud and now IoT. With the IoT, processing happens inside each connected device. Those devices then communicate directly, instead of sending inquiries off to a server in Virginia and hoping for a timely response. The Cloud is still extremely important to this peer-to-peer computing model, but it primarily acts as a storage center and intelligence hub for machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics. This new, instantaneous processing is made possible by the low-cost chips installed in billions of IoT devices and the awe-inspiring power of mobile phones.
In terms of the mobile landscape, this shift requires highly-modular development solutions, much like the 7T STAX platform. This type of flexible architecture will be essential in this next age of computing as companies will need the ability to quickly and seamlessly move sections of their solution between the Cloud and the device, depending on needs that will vary by use case and individual clients. Apps that properly utilize the processing power harnessed in the devices they’re installed on run more efficiently without cellular data connections. These apps store data and user behaviors locally, then upload the information to the cloud the next time the device connects to the internet.
If your company is preparing for the next era in mobility, 7T can help you craft a strategy that works. Contact us to learn more about forward-focused mobile development with our STAX mobile and IoT platform, as well as the 7T Predictive Analytics Engine to keep you ahead of the curve!