Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Evolution of Work

I'm at the Google Atmosphere conference at the moment just outside Paris in a chateau. Sounds more glamorous than it is, the nearest I got to Paris is when I flew over it, and we're not actually staying in the chateau, but some purpose built conference rooms in the grounds. Still, the sun is shining and it's a lovely setting.

The conference has about 300 attendees, and are mainly CIOs from public and private sector from all over Europe. The topic of the conference is The Evolution of Work, and is mainly about cloud computing. There were many sessions and a lot of information, so the next few posts will mainly be in note form

So, the opening session started with some statistics.
Smart phone sales will overtake PC sales this year
Cloud computing is top of Gartner's list of strategic technologies for 2010
85% of new vendors will be focused on SAAS by 2012.
40% of iPhones sold are going into business, despite being a consumer device ( example of User driven computing)
Smartphone sales will overtake pc and laptop combined by 2012
57% of blackberry users want something else a their next device
2m iPads were sold in first 2 months ( the iPad has done more for cloud computing than anything else. Just imagine, a computer that doesn't run Microsoft office!). There were lots in the room.
120 new features have been added to existing google apps.
200 new applications in the google apps market place
200,000 android devices being activated everyday. Not coming at expense of other os. iPhone still growing.
3m business now running Google apps
30m active users of Google apps.

Then some information on cloud computing. There are 2 phases of cloud computing. Do the same things cheaper eg outsource your email to make cost savings. But most important phase should and will be about doing things you've not been able to do before.

Some features of cloud:
Massive storage, (cost of storage moving to practically zero)
Huge computer capacity
Real time interaction

New possibilties:
World mapping, millions of devices collecting data across the globe about everything
Real time translation. Now a feature of gmail and docs. Also available as an API
Voice to text. Eg voice search

Examples of applications of cloud
Last April, when the volcanic ash cloud disrupted European air travel, Google had several hundred people stranded. They used a google spreadsheet to collect information about where peoppe were and where they were trying to get to, and in 2 hours had detailed information about 270 people. A simple idea.

Motorola use google apps to manage their IT resources and projects.

Organisations are moving away from owned facilities. They're expensive to maintain and protect. They're inflexible and it's difficult make them fit into todays mobile lifestyle. Most of our infrastructure and systems were conceived in a world when the only computer you used was the one on your desk. They break easy, and it's easy to take information out of them eg on memory stick on put on other devices or lose.

With the cloud, your firewall can be much smaller, but your data can be in a more secure environment.
Security is the single area of concern holding people back form embracing cloud, but is being addressed (more later)

Apparently a CIO of a US University said a few years ago that those CIOs responsible for moving to Google would eventually be fired! As was pointed out, 40% of US Universities are currently running Google Apps, and no-one has been fired. Yet.


George Credland said...

Do they see mobile devices eventually replacing desktop machines?

You can already connect a full keyboard via Bluetooth to many devices. If they add support for high definition external displays then they'd have potential to support low/medium-end computing. Especially if they can connect as a thin-client to external cloud hosted desktop services.

Stewart Grey said...

"Just imagine a computer that doesn't have Microsoft Office".