Being an avid follower and reader of information on cloud computing passing by on many of the social media channels available, I observed that most of the fuss around cloud computing is still technology driven. And this is wrong, or at least does not cover the full load. Earlier I posted about the business benefits and organizational impact of cloud computing, but there is one other angle I want to cover: Usability.

Technology has greatly influenced our lives and the society we live in today, but this would not have been the case if the general public would not have adopted technology as they have. Adoption of technology is greatly influenced by the functionality it offers, how easy it is to use and if the price if right: If it adds to my life and/or makes my life easier and it’s affordable I’ll purchase it and use it.

If any of these three (functionality, usability, price) is missing or corrupted it’s destined to fail, as I explained in my post Managed, Integrated and Usability; That’s what matters these days! I therefore want to point your attention to three trends that bring true functional value to the general public, and are powered by cloud computing.

SoMoClo (Social, Mobile & Cloud)

The integration of the three major trends for both business and consumers alike is without a doubt the direction we are heading: Mobile (as ubiquitous access/frond-end), Cloud (as delivery/back-end), Social (as shareable service/content). But what’s in a name; SoMoClo as is known as ‘The Nexus of Forces’ by Gartner, ‘The Consolidation of IT’ by Frost & Sullivan and ‘The Third Platform’ by IDC. As SoMoClo is shortest, I’ll use this one until an industry adopted term emerges.

Basically SoMoClo is about functionality; it’s about using services like file sharing, streaming music, navigating your way or just staying current on your social media channels wherever and whenever you want. The coupling with mobile, cloud and social is not new but getting greater traction throughout the past years: The blog post Mobility and Big Data: Why They Need Each Other to Thrive shows that mobile is main method of using Twitter (55%), Pandora (60%) and (60%).

For businesses SoMoClo is alsoa big thing, employees more often are presented the option to bring their own device (BYOD) to access their business applications anywhere, anytime. This adds some headache on the security side for most organizations, but does allow employees to remain connected to the organization throughout the day independent of their location. Especially the connection between SoMoClo and to Analytics (or Big Data) will add to the power employees have in the palm of their hands. Quoting the previous mentioned blog post:

Very soon, we will not talk about mobility or big data but just real-time, personalized interactions that drive business impact, anywhere, anytime, on any screen

Internet of Things

Technology RoadmapThe idea of the Internet of Things, connectivity and exchange of information between many of your household devices, has been around since 1999 but is rapidly getting traction nowadays. For instance; Domotics, or home automation, is catching the general public with the introduction of Philips Hue and smart energy management tools for households.

But domotics does not stop here; the protocol used by Philips, Zigbee, also allows connectivity with many other types of devices like security cameras, burglary alarms, water management equipment, heating, switching on/off electronic devices and so on. An integrated approach of connecting devices to control and gather data from allows ease of use as well as the opportunity to get insight. This insight allows the user to make fact based decisions to control their home and surroundings.

Update: Only a day after this post appeared, IBM shows off its cloud platform and new partnerships amid the connected home buzz at CES 2013. Read more in the blog post: IBM brings smarter home, mobile initiatives to CES 2013

But the Internet of Things does not stop here, actually Forbes describes How The Internet Of Things Will Change Almost Everything and only recently Cisco and NXP announced that their investing in Cohda, which is building the hardware and software that will allow vehicles on the road to form intelligent ad hoc mesh networks. The connected world is coming!

What would be your additions to this list, any suggestions?

By Edwin Schouten, find out more on or follow me via @schoutene.

Update 2: Some nice additions by Harvard Business Review (@HarvardBiz):

  • 3D Printing: Most definitely a big trends, though I feel more for the household and small business that larger corporations. How cool is this for instance, get your childs drawing in 3D!
  • New healthcare business models: With the aging issue, most definitely another trend.
  • Low cost, competency based education: Actually just tweeted about the cross-roads of social and stying yesterday, check out this initiative: Efaqt, said to make studying 60% better and faster!

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