Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Currency of the Realm

As Many Countries Stress About Money, They Should Think About Cloud

Let's talk about currency valuation and what it has to do with Cloud Computing.

Fundamentally, I think the world needs a new wave of productivity gain. I think that Cloud Computing can bring this about, and I think that today's global economy--and how its currencies are valued--cries out for this to be brought about.

I'll try to draw two things together here, to see if my idea makes sense.

The 80s IT Investment Wave
First, let's go back to 1990 for a few seconds. A report was circulating then (via newspapers as there was no Worldwide Web) that US business had invested $1.2 trillion in IT during the 80s, yet had shown no apparent productivity gain. PCs were ubiquitous in offices, but maybe 15% of them were networked.

"Office productivity" software seemed to be an oxymoron. Word processing just led to sloppy writing and editing, it was thought. Spreadsheets just led to careless business planning, because it was just too easy to change assumptions on the fly and produce the bottom-line results you wanted--on paper. Databases were not the core IT app; financial apps were.

Many of us will remember that time as one in which customer service barely existed, and bills routinely got screwed up "by the computer." In fact, any sort of problem--bank account errors, missing mail-order items, flight delays, hotel reservation screw-ups--were invariably attributed to "a computer glitch," and everyone shook their heads in agreement to this excuse.

Then the stuff started to work. The 90s saw dramatic performance leaps in hardware, as the implications of Moore's Law truly became apparent. Networks proliferated, enterprise software got more sophisticated, and system integration became a successful growth industry. The era of "rightsizing" was born, with a negative initial impact (ie, a lot of people lost their jobs) that was followed by a boom economy, led by new levels of manufacturing and office productivity that transformed the economy.

Today's Crappy Economy
Now, let's look at today. The US is mired in stagnant growth, with unemployment reaching levels far higher than official statistics would report. Europe seems to be in another period of malaise. Fast-growing economies are reported here and there, particularly in China and southern Asia, but these are places that are still characterized by systemic poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

And nobody is happy about the state of their currency. Leaders in many countries--Japan, Australia, and South Africa, for example--think their currencies are too strong.

Leaders in the United States think China's currency is (intentionally) too weak; a rise in the yuan (or RMB, as it's usually called in China) would presumably weaken the US dollar, but Chinese leaders are holding so much US debt that they don't want the US dollar to get any weaker. Japanese leaders think the RMB is too weak, too, and the two nations are exhibiting near-warlike behavior to one another right now over the issue.

Meanwhile, Europeans fret that their currency may just crumble, as the weaker economies in the Eurozone put increased stress upon it.

If your currency is relatively weak, your products and services cost less, and people from other countries will be tempted to buy more of them. If your currency is relatively strong, you can afford more foreign products and services. But no one's interested in doing this now; the problem is that everybody wants to export their way out of the current global economic situation.

The Dismal Science Proves Its Name
The situation defies quick analysis, and maybe defy all analysis. There's an emerging school of thought among economists--maybe it's simply a realization--that people often act irrationally, and that markets are therefore not rational. This flies in the face of a century of economic theory, which held that a market comprised of untold millions of people each acting in their own self-interest would bring an overall rationality to it. Smooth out the edges of competing irrationalities, so to speak.

In our almost ubiquitously wired, globalized economy, it's hard to determine a true national identity for most products (ie, how American is a Honda Accord or an iPhone) and services (what nations' laws really do apply to all those outsourced databases). It's not the 19th century anymore; nor is it the 20th.

Meanwhile, a number of governments are trying to weaken their currencies by intervening in markets, cutting interest rates, and pressuring China to strengthen the RMB. I wish they'd also spend some time on looking at how IT, specifically Cloud Computing, can help improve their national productivity.

For productivity gains are the great economic miracle worker, allowing seemingly competing economies to grow simultaneously. The irony of Nic Carr's question--whether IT matters because everybody has access to the same stuff--is that it matters because of this. IT can be a great leveler of the playing field. In recent years, tiny Ireland and tinier Estonia emerged as first-class economies by embracing technology aggressively. (Ireland's recent problems stem from the same sloppy banking practices that hit the US so hard in late 2008, not from technology.)

Even so, the big players--whether companies or countries--could afford a lot more IT resources than smaller players. And developing nations with teeming populations could ill afford the sort of commitment to technology that lightly populated Ireland and Estonia could undertake. The entire federal budget of the Philippines (where I live), for example, is about $30 billion, with a population of more than 90 million people, and rumors that some of the budget is lost to corruption.

Cloud Computing's Big Chance
Enter Cloud Computing. By promising services-based IT that is priced according to use--as an operating expense rather than a big, upfront capital expense--Cloud Computing takes the leveling potential of IT to a whole new level.

If a particular nation's political and business leaders can stop fighting one another for a few minutes and focus on what they want technology to do, rather than what they can't do because it's too expensive, a new era of IT-driven productivity is in their future. Productivity trumps resources.

A country can live with a currency that it views as too strong if it can improve its internal productivity (and thereby lower the cost of the goods and services it sells). In Asia, a relative paucity of legacy IT is viewed as an opportunity for Cloud Computing deployers to make up for the time they lost in the first IT productivity wave of the 90s. The wealthy countries can also benefit from kicking up their productivity a notch or two, of course.

Doing so requires countries to have a national strategy, to have its leaders in the same book (if not on precisely the same page), and assumes that the smell of corruption is not to be found. It also assumes that Cloud purveyors will purvey only the type of Cloud that provides measured services, rather than an UnCloud solution that requires upfront capital expenditure.

Neither every country nor every vendor will rise to these challenges, of course. But those that do will truly reap the rewards of Cloud Computing, and literally provision a new era of productivity, currencies be damned. Cloud Computing is the currency of the realm.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.