Mobile Cloud Computing: 5 Key Trends: Page 3

Posted January 31, 2011

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

(Page 3 of 3)

“So much emphasis is being placed on managing cloud services that it seems to me that enterprises are forgetting one key piece of the IT mix – devices,” David Link of ScienceLogic said. “It’s not just services that they need to worry about anymore from a management perspective.

Looking at the various reports coming out of IBM, Ericsson and Cisco, we could be looking at potentially one trillion Internet connected devices by 2015. To put that in perspective, we passed the five-billion milestone in late August/early September.”

IBM predicts that there will be 1 trillion connected devices by 2015. Cisco moves that up to 2013.

Ericsson looks further ahead and believes there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020, and IMS Research notes that we only just passed the 5-billion-device threshold in August 2010.

“If you can put a sensor and a network anywhere, then think of all of the places you might want to monitor and all of the data you’d like to collect,” said Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks. “Today, with sensors running on batteries or harvested energy, you already have the ability to get information from anywhere or connect to anything – anywhere.”

Dust Networks provides wireless sensor networking (WSN) technology that can serve as the cornerstone for such things as industrial sensor networks, smart power grids and smart buildings. Tiny sensors, or “motes,” can be embedded into or attached to various devices. They then communicate over low-power 802.15.4 and form “SmartMeshes,” which communicate information back to a single device that manages the sensor network and connects to enterprise applications or transmits data over the public Internet.

When I mentioned that I’ve heard this trillion-connected device story before, over and over again, for years and years, Weiss admitted that she’s been telling that story for years herself.

What’s different this time is that immediate value is driving the technology, rather than technology providers up to their ears in science projects and hunting around for interesting use cases.

“What we see in early applications, although there is a broad variety, is that the application drives the deployment. It’s not like someone is coming into the enterprise and dropping sensors around randomly and expecting them to automatically communicate with the rest of your systems and networks,” Weiss said.

For instance, many utilities are already deploying wireless mesh infrastructure to enable smart grids. Energy savings, predictive maintenance and asset management are driving the deployment of sensors and the creation of these networks, and they’re already paying big dividends.

5. It’s happening whether you’re ready for it or not.

Sensors are already monitoring environmental conditions in vineyards. Smart parking meters are already sending text messages to alert drivers of vacant parking spaces, and sensors are being used to monitor corrosion in pipelines. Previously, these kinds of applications had limited scalability because they tied back into proprietary applications and systems. Soon, though, it will be the mobile cloud driving the so-called “smarter planet,” as IBM likes to call it.

The “Internet of Things” or this "Device-aggeddon" as David Link of ScienceLogic refers to it is already here. It’s happening, and the only reason that we don’t realize it is that much of this is happening in the background.

Sound familiar? That’s exactly what happened in the early stages of cloud adoption. I can’t tell you how many emails I received from CIOs and IT managers telling me that they would never sign off on moving core applications to the cloud, yet they were already using, OpenAir or some other SaaS application. They just didn’t think of those as cloud-based applications.

Similarly, it’s hard to tell whether your power grid is smart or not. How would you know if a pipeline is connected to the public Internet?

You won’t until your organization gets into the game and you have to start factoring a broad variety of devices and networks into your larger IT plans.

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Tags: cloud computing, networking, mobile cloud computing, mobile cloud, handheld device

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