By Jim Smith
Take a second to think about how much of our daily activity takes place online. And I don’t just mean at work. In 2012, $225 billion of retail purchases happened virtually. In the U.S., 55 percent of us book worldwide travel solely through the Internet. Even our personal relationships, from organizing social activities to calling our relatives across the country and overseas, are maintained on the web. The rise of the Internet Revolution has had such a profound impact on our lives that most of us can’t even imagine how the world would revolve without it.
Many of the activities we perform online – whether staying on top of the 24-hour news cycle or managing our bank accounts – are made possible by the Internet’s open architecture. The Internet Revolution was catalyzed by the establishing and adopting of open standards. Linux, Apache, PHP: these are just a few examples of standards that made it possible for us to do almost anything online.
Cloud computing is now at this same inflection point. In Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of innovation, the idea of an open-architecture cloud is becoming a reality. This will be transformational on a level equal to that of the Internet.
Open cloud computing will provide the infrastructure that supports our increasingly interconnected world. And as collaboratively driven technologies such as OpenStack, Quantum, Ceph and Swift establish open standards in the cloud, the pace of technology innovation will become even more rapid. These standards will unlock boundless opportunities for startup and large companies alike, as well as the individuals they serve.
So get ready. Once this revolution ignites, things that seem futuristic today will rapidly move from theory to reality – dramatically impacting our daily lives. The open cloud will serve as the catalyst for many things, big and small, that today may seem impractical or unimaginable, but tomorrow will be pervasive.
Take, for example, the sensor in the tire of your car. Today, it tells you if the tire needs air. Tomorrow? Powered by open cloud computing, that sensor will be able to not only tell you that the tire is going flat, but will check your dealership’s inventory. The dealership may, in turn, talk to the smartphone connected to your car, checking your calendar to install a replacement. This is only the start of what’s possible once as the open cloud lifts off.
Open Standards enable essential powerful computing capabilities at entrepreneur friendly cost points, and reduce the high licensing and operating expenses that closed software and hardware solutions impose. The open cloud provides startups the reach, speed, and scale that support entrepreneurial creativity and agility. It is the canvas for developing the revolutionary mobile, social and big data technologies that will change our world.
Next generation cloud standards are breaking the chains of high-cost, difficult-to-use networking, database and storage technologies. They provide the framework for entrepreneurs to build analytic platforms that will enable vastly more effective and personalized healthcare, widespread demand response systems that will lower energy consumption, and advanced and broadly adopted video communications that will more tightly connect us with friends and family.
Startups not only use open technologies to redefine the world of what is possible, but also serve as the incubators of new technologies that enable the next wave of startups. As open standards in the cloud take hold, a tremendous stream of innovation is gathering speed. This will not only ignite future technology waves, but will transform daily lives the world over.