Archive for Inside the Drive

Are Our Heads in the Clouds?

CloudBroker

By Tom Fedro

The cloud as a computing concept is relatively new, though it had its roots in central database management that’s been around before the personal computer.  Still, outsourcing not only data storage but also applications and customer management technology is a new concept that’s rushing forward with the kind of intense inevitability that has a great many technology pundits excited (and sometimes I think we get excited just to get new buzzwords and new acronyms) and more than a few businesses confused.

Vendor relationships require work, and vendor relationships that are technology based require even more work.  While individual projects (when done right) will include a thorough needs assessment and a path toward meeting those needs within budgetary guidelines, when a relationship will be ongoing and mutually reliant, several issues present themselves.  A cloud company such as a customer and relationship management hosted application or even hosted email like Google Apps is in the business of developing software, not handholding.  A company that offers financial services isn’t looking to learn the ins and outs of a piece of software but instead to gain from its functionality.

We can think of cloud software a bit like we might a car.  Sure, we need to learn to drive it and sure, we ought to know how to fill it with gas, check the oil, and keep the tire pressure up.  Except for enthusiasts, though, none of us want to be to the mechanics.  Businesses are a lot like us.  They want to use the software and are ready and willing to perform basic minor maintenance, but they don’t want to waste company time and resources dedicating heavy intellectual resources into the process.  So, while value added resellers can certainly tout the advantages of cloud products, they have to do so with a basic understanding in mind, that the technology is no more the business of the consumer than a car is an end in and of itself for most people.

All of these factors lead me to agree with a number of experts in the field who believe VARs will soon become CSBs, Cloud Service Brokerages—integrating cloud computing services together to fit the needs of a particular business and helping that business get what they want, to move from point A to point B, just the thing I want to get from my truck.

The Future of Technology

By Tom Fedro

This month’s National Geographic spotlights explorers and the history of exploration. There is an interesting infographic that charts major scientific discoveries over time. One of the earliest navigational devices, the astrolabe, was used for navigation for over 400 years before the magnetic compass was invented. 400 years is a long time, compare that to the relatively short 34 years between the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong in which the entire mission had access to less computing power than what is now currently available in a common smartphone.  Technology is moving at an incredible speed.

When I grew up as a kid there were no cell phones, computers, or the Internet. Today, my kids cannot imagine life without them. Today, the Internet brings instant gratification. If you want to research what an astrolabe is, you need only to enter the term into an Internet search box and within seconds, you have your answer.

Today, you need only to walk into an electronics store to see the rapid advance of technology. In addition to smart phones, we have smart tvs with internet access, smart homes you can manage from any where in world, whats next?  I stumbled across an article on Bit Rebels discussing new technology that will allow viewers to touch virtual objects. The applications range from helping the blind see virtual objects through touch, enabling viewers to feel art objects, or shoppers to feel textures before purchasing online.

Its truly amazing to watch how quickly technology advances compared to centuries past and the creative thinking involved in new discoveries. Remember, throughout human history, up until 120 years ago, the most exciting mode of transportation was the horse! What will the next 20 years bring? Exciting stuff and I am grateful to be working in the technology industry and being able to interact with folks like you over a medium like this.