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The Next Cycle: Big Data-Enabled Everywhere Computing

By Jack Browne, CEO and President, C Perspective [1]

Similar to being a futurist, aligning your strategy with the future is hard. Sometimes you miss the timing and magnitude of your opportunities. “Smart dust will be one of the central industries of tomorrow,” futurist Alvin Toffler told Investor’s Business Daily in December 2008[2].  Smart dust refers to tiny, wireless networks of sensors. But you could also think of the sensors as tiny chips, or even miniature robots. The smart dust detects light, temperatures or vibrations and transmits that data to larger computer systems. At the time, smart dust was a $344M market forecasted by ARC Advisory Group to top $1B in 2012. Today, smart dust is now better known as the Internet of Things, or IOT.  

Cisco’s “Internet of Everything” is an apt descriptor inclusive of the physical devices (everywhere computing, described later), the cloud (connectivity and services) and the IOT (sensors and controllers) – empowered with the real time Big Data value delivered by Human to Machine (H2M) and Machine to Machine (M2M) interactions (Apps). As reported in January 2013, Cisco has sized the IOT installed base at 8.7 billion devices by the end of 2012, with growth to 15 billion devices by 2015 and 40 billion devices by 2050[3].  Mobile Device = World PopulationWe already have more IOT devices than people on the planet.

Lending credibility to this claim is the UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report released last month[4] with the graphic showing that there are as many cell phone subscriptions as people on the planet. But the fact that only one-third of the world is online, has Google, as well as others, brainstorming connectivity solutions. Google Loon envisions balloons floating in the stratosphere enabling internet access for developing regions without a communications infrastructure.

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends report,[5] delivered at the D11 Conference in May, tells us computing is going through yet another fundamental platform transformation as Moore’s law enables a host of new form factors. Network-connected cars, low-cost drones, the proliferation of digital sensors and “scanable” objects (empowered by recognition apps), and the emergence of wearable devices (like Nike’s FuelBand, Google Glass and Apple’s rumored iWatch) are harbingers of what Meeker calls the era of “everywhere computing,” which will have deep, far-ranging implications for the way we do almost everything in life. The way we shop has dramatically changed, as device makers respond to the consumer desire for always-on, always-connected devices, with a demand for a single, integrated experience across all of their technology and devices.

These cycles are coming at Internet speed with incredible growth opportunities, with the smart phone cycle providing 1.5B+ user devices today and working to upgrade the other 5B+ mobile phone users. Although Apple introduced the first iPad April 3, 2010, by the end of 2012, shipment of tablets in 4Q 2012 surpassed those of desktop PCs and Notebooks. Driven by the rise and flash of “wearables, drivables, flyables and scanables,” a new computing cycle is “coming on stronger and faster than typical,” said Meeker.

Meeker also noted that Mobile users reach for their phone 150 times a day – no wonder we complain about battery life!  Providing one experience across all of our “everywhere computing” devices stimulates different forms of wearable devices that simplify our life.  And with smart phone displays consuming about one-third the power of a smartphone, Google Glass and iWatch users will help extend the time between smartphone battery charges.

The one experience across form factors tightly secures the cloud ecosystem into the value proposition and the continued explosive growth of the Internet sets the fight for customers. Microsoft’s “One Microsoft” strategy, unveiled last week, leverages their 1B+ users with the vision to grow by delivering critical services that consumers need in the areas of insight and information, task completion, communication and fun.  Similarly Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Sony each have monthly users in the range of 200M to 1B+ and are not stopping there!

It’s time to look at your roadmaps and ask, “Does my contribution to my customer increase their ability to provide the best experience to the end customers?”  They might not see my product, nor even know my company, but I want the end users to experience the value of my solutions’ contribution. My strategies add value in this environment, do yours?


[1] C Perspective collaborates with semiconductor companies  on top line system, design and market strategies, including marketing, sales and business development services.

[4] Graphics Source: United Nations, Millennium Development Goals Report, June 2013,, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/report-2013/mdg-report-2013-english.pdf page 56.

[5] Internet Trends, D11 Conference, KPCB, Mary Meeker / Liang Wu, May 29, 2013, http://www.kpcb.com/insights/2013-internet-trends

 

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