Thursday, March 31, 2011

Advantages of Cloud Computing– Part XXV – More Mobility

In the late sixties, I managed a mobile telephone company In Corpus Christi, Texas. Back then, mobile telephones were far too large to be carried on your person. They were acquired through a lease agreement, weighed in excess of thirty pounds, were stored in the trunk of your automobile or mounted behind the seat of your pickup truck. There was a control panel that mounted under your dash, a switch to turn it on and off, a volume control, and a hand-held push-to-talk microphone to summon an operator working at an answering service. She would accept a request to dial a number for you and connect you to your party. If someone wanted to call you, they would call the answering service and asked the operator to contact you and ‘hook you up’.

Very few individuals could afford such an extravagance. Most of our customers were large companies who installed these mobile telephones in cars and trucks to keep in contact with their employees. When you received a call, either a buzzer would go off on the control panel, or if you were out of your vehicle, your car horn would blow three times and you would run back to your car to answer your phone. Pagers became common place, but even then, the magnetism of instant connectivity was calling.

In 1961, I designed my own car alarm system and repaired Airborne Navigation Radar systems for the USAF. In 1977, I taught myself computer programming, built computers in my basement and sold them to businesses… many only wanted to impress their customers, employees and peers.  I had been a ham radio operator since childhood, and today, I carry the call sign, K5IBM.

My first cell phone was a ‘bag phone’ I carried slung over my shoulder like a purse, and today I own a Motorola Bravo with an Android operating system. I can instantly change the price on a pack of cigarettes in a convenience store on the other side of the world while driving down I-20 in West Texas, along the Delta in East Mississippi, or drinking coffee in an airport terminal in Denver, Colorado. I have always marveled at how long it takes the rest of the world to catch up, and how quickly it does when the time is right. Mobility has always been a part of my life. I’m a geek, and I admit it. I have always teetered on the “bleeding edge of technology,” and bear the scars and bruises to prove it. Over my lifetime, I have watched things that were once considered an extravagance, become an absolute necessity for normal existence.

WikiPedia tells us in 2010, 73% of the world’s population carried a cell phone – five billion and one to be exact. 91% of Americans have them, and there are more cell phones in Russia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Ukraine, Spain, Argentina, Poland, Taiwan, Romania, The Netherlands, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Portugal, Hong Kong, Belgium, Hungary, Bulgaria, Israel, Denmark, Jordan, New Zealand, Estonia, Lithuania and Montenegro than there are people.

Even though Internet penetration was limited, Facebook, Twitter and other online media have driven the revolution of social unrest in Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, and other countries in the Middle East. ‘Mobility’ leads to ‘connectivity’, and connectivity is our goal. Ultimately, connectivity will lead to a singularity, a central hub for everything. Eventually, billions upon billions of cell phones, computers and networks will come together – one, large, virtualized data processing environment, governed by gatekeepers who will maintain partitions, firewalls and the security to protect our vital secrets. Cloud computing is the facilitator of this unavoidable connectivity through the integration of one individual with another, one society with another, and one business with another. Anticipating an accelerated move to this new environment, how will your business look tomorrow, next week, next year… a decade from now? Do you have plans to lead, follow or just get out of the way?


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