Cloud Computing Is Enabling The Next Phase Of The Internet Evolution

Carlota Perez wrote a book titled “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital” (2002) that is a real interesting read.  Perez says that there have been five historical waves of economic and social transformation in the developed economies of the world. Each of these waves have what she calls an Installation phase followed by a crash of some sort and then a Deployment period. 

HorizonWatching - Carlota Perz 5 Waves

Perez says that our global economy has now entered the deployment phase of the fifth technology investment cycle, which she says is the Age of Information and Telecommunications (see embedded picture).  Perez says that this will be a period of adjustment when novel business models will exploit the new IT infrastructure that is now being put in place that enable more porous, open, collaborative approaches that seek to leverage the economics and flexibility of global sourcing.  She expects enterprises of all sizes will employ technology to help them transform their business models, processes and operations.

As mentioned, Perez says we are entering this Deployment phase. As we do there are some key characteristics across our global economy that is impacting how this phase develops. The firms that will succeed are the firms that will embrace these characteristics and the change that is happening in order to innovate and leapfrog competition.

Important characteristics of our global economy includes:

  • A level, global economic playing field presents new opportunities, challenges and competitive technologies
  • New technologies, services and skills are emerging…and they are quickly being integrated into every aspect of business and everyday life
  • The pace of change is dramatically compressing “windows of opportunity” for real competitive advantage.
  • Billions of skilled people are entering the world’s economy, fundamentally transforming the mix of the global workforce
  • The interconnected nature of our world’s economy means businesses must be prepared to respond to – and capitalize on – changes in real time, with unprecedented flexibility.

While all this is happening, we are moving into what I believe is the third stage of the Internet. Call it Web 3.0 or whatever you wish, but cloud computing is perhaps the most important technology.  In fact, I believe that cloud computing is the key enabling technology for this next technological wave and the next phase in the evolution of the Internet.

HorizonWatching - Private Clouds Enables Next Wave of the Internet

Back in the mid to late 1990s companies were just concerned with getting websites up so they could have a presence on the Internet. It was all about providing very basic information to the public. But soon the so called e-commerce trend arose and business was being conducted on the Internet. Then Web 2.0 came into play and all users realized that they could share their ideas, create content, and collaborate online.  We are now well into this next phase of the evolution where the enabling technologies will be cloud, analytics, mobile, video, and semantic capabilities.  This so called Web 3.0 phase will provide applications that are much more immersive, social, and collaborative in nature.  Combined that with an explosion of networked sensors and advanced predictive analytic and all the Smarter Planet initiatives will become a reality. 

But the most important enabler will be the combination of private and public cloud computing infrastructures that will be the ‘engine’ of the future Internet.

Linden Labs: What Will Second Life Look Like in 2020?

Second_Life_Logo I started using Second Life in the fall of 2006.  I was a pretty heavy user in 2007 and some of 2008.  I was experimenting during that period to understand how businesses could use Second Life to help connect remote employees and improve collaboration capabilities of teams.  At some point in 2008 I came to the realization that Second Life and other virtual worlds could do this, but business and IT leaders were not ready to accept the technology.  In addition, mainstream users were not ready for the cultural and behavioral change necessary to adopt the technology.  So I basically stopped my experimenting in 2008. 

I do go back into Second Life every once in a while to visit and I continue to follow the overall trend of virtual worlds.

Today I visited the Second Life blog to see what’s up for 2010.  There’s a great (somewhat long) post from M Linden (Mark Kingdon, CEO, Linden Lab) from Jan 3, 2010 titled Happy New Year!  Looking Back…Looking Ahead that covers where Second Life has come from, what was accomplished in 2009 and what is planned for 2010.

What Will Second Life Look Like in 2020?  But what caught my eye in the post was a section where Linden looks ahead to 2020.  The view posted is, of course, biased towards Second Life…however, it does provide an interesting perspective on where virtual worlds are heading over the next decade.  Here’s a summary of M Linden’s thoughts on what Second Life might look like by 2020.

  1. Everyone has an avatar. Avatars have the ability to travel across virtual worlds, maintaining their unique identity (and inventory) as they go.
  2. Second Life is galactic.  Linden predicts a massive influx of new Residents allowing Second Life to grow 10x from 2009 levels.
  3. SLHD blurs the distinction between real and virtual.  Get ready for Second Life in High Definition where we not only see and hear virtually, but we feel things and smell things.
  4. We are able to explore the edge of possibility.  Innovations in Visualization, Display Technology, Augmented Reality, etc. will allow you to immerse yourself into virtual worlds in new ways.
  5. The walls come down early in the second decade. New APIs make Second Life a natural, practical extension and enhancement of everyday life. 
  6. The Second Life economy becomes meaningful among real world economies. The Second Life economy continues its high double-digit growth.
  7. Second Life becomes a standard in business, education and government.  SL becomes a preferred collaboration, simulation and learning tool to connect with customers, suppliers and employees all over the world.

For all the detail, check out the post Happy New Year!  Looking Back…Looking Ahead.  For the user responses, Linden has set up a discussion forum “What do you envision for SL in 2010 and over the next decade?.  The discussion is very active as people weigh in on what is Second Life should be doing. 

For more detail on M Linden you can see M Linden’s Nov 2009 Interview with the BBC

A Primer on Telepresence

With the economy the shape it is in right now, companies will be looking for an edge in cutting costs.  Watch for more companies to implement telepresence and video collaboration solutions in the effort to reduce corporate travel, improve global operations, and drive remote workforce productivity.

Video technologies and organizational capabilities have improved in the corporate environment.  As a result, companies are finally able to realize strong business benefits to support efforts in business uses as varied as reducing the corporate environmental footprint, promoting globalized workforce collaboration, accelerating complex product development initiatives, and aiding remote talent acquisition.

Telepresence Overview:  Telepresence – a kind of video conference providing the sensation that all participants are actually in the same room – is set for explosive growth.  TelePresence delivers real-time, face-to-face interactions between people and places in their work and personal lives using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies.  These technologies transmit life-size, high-definition images and spatial discrete audio.  Telepresence delivers video that makes it easier than ever to discern facial expressions for those crucial business discussions and negotiations across the "virtual table." The telepresence illusion is so real that many execs forget the person they’re talking to is not really in the same room.  See a video of how this looks.

Opportunity: According to recent research by ABI, the whole market, which includes telepresence equipment, network services and managed services, is forecast to grow from a 2007 level of not quite $126 million to nearly $2.5 billion in 2013.  Telepresence solutions can cost in the neighborhood of $300,000, but many telepresence operations are handled as managed services.  And less expensive “executive” systems designed for one or two people mean that telepresence technology is now migrating down to middle managers, expanding the market.

Driving Forces:

  • The high cost of travel (in money, wasted time, and carbon emissions).
  • Increased need for a remote workforce to participate in time-sensitive collaboration sessions.
  • Demands of worldwide outsourcing
  • Improved and lower cost technologies for video, audio and collaboration

Inhibitors: Videoconferencing has traditionally been a difficult technology to implement in the enterprise, with problems: latency, jitter, poor video equipment, insufficient concern over the videoconferencing environment, lack of business purpose, organizational commitment, and comfort with using this technology.

Segmentation: According to a report by IDC (Worldwide Telepresence 2008–2012 Forecast and Analysis), there are three primary markets for telepresence solutions:

  • CEO and senior executive travel reduction (whether corporate jet or commercial airline travel),
  • Teamwork, and
  • Room rentals for companies unable to afford their own rooms.

Vendor Landscape: According to ABI Research, (see their vendor matrix – registration required) the top five telepresence vendors to watch are:

  1. Cisco Systems – Cisco is positioned very well to participate in the future telepresence market and they are pushing their solutions at this website.
  2. Tandberg – http://www.tandberg.com/totaltelepresence/
  3. Teliris – http://www.teliris.com/
  4. Polycom Incorporated:  http://www.polycom.com/usa/en/products/telepresence_video/telepresence_solutions/index.html
  5. Digital Video Enterprises:  http://www.dvetelepresence.com/

Future Vision: It is easy to imagine a future where we use video conferencing as easy as we use instant messaging today.  The adoption will move from simple employee to employee webcam video calls to social networking and collaborative solutions that connect not only employees to one another, but CEOs to CEOs.  Future business applications will be video conference enabled, allowing businesses to collaborate seamlessly with their vendors, partners, and customers.

Future Challenges: Looking forward to the future, the biggest obstacle facing the mass adoption of telepresence is interoperability.  Although telepresence vendors have begun to broach the issue of interoperability, the market is far from allowing complete federation across all systems to allow for room-to-room calling.  Vendors are pushing forward very slowly interoperability, saying that standards, modularity, and interoperability are at odds with the art and science behind creating telepresence experiences and the potential for continued innovation in this space.  So at least for awhile, interoperability will take a back seat to innovation.

Hungry For more information?

Top 70 Most Influential Virtual World Industry Leaders

The following is an initial list I put together of the top 70 most influential people involved in shaping how Virtual Worlds will impact the future business Internet landscape.  I developed it by taking a look at who is writing about the industry, who is in the news, who is speaking at conferences, who is leading important industry initiatives, and CEOs of the leading companies.

Why the number 70?  No real reason…I was working with a list of over 200 and this is as far as I could pare it down right now.

The list is sorted alphabetically as I have not attempted to come up with a sort by how influential these people are.

Have any updates for me?  Please post a comment.  I’d like to continue refining the list.

1.  Bridget C. Agabra, Project Manager, Metaverse Roadmap Project

2.  Janna Anderson, Dir. Imagining the Internet & Asst. Prof. of Commun., Pew Internet / Elon University

3.  Dr Richard Bartle, Visiting Professor in Computer Game Design, University of Essex, U.K

4.  John Bates, Evangelist, Entropia Universe

5.  Betsy Book, Director of Product Management, Makena Technologies

6.  Justin Bovington, CEO, Rivers Run Red

7.  Johann Brenner, Partner, Benchmark Capital

8.  Corey Bridges, Co-founder, Executive Producer, & Marketing Director, The Multiverse Network

9.  Nic Brisbourne, VC blogger (www.theequitykicker.com) & Partner, Esprit Capital

10.  Mike Butcher, Journalist/new media expert, www.MediaBites.com

11.  Jamais Cascio, Founder, Open The Future

12.  Edward Castronova, Author-Synthetic Worlds; Dir. of Grad Studies, Indiana University & Arden Institute

13.  Daniel Schiappa, GM, Strategy Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft

14.  Beth Coleman, Professor of New Media. MIT

15.  Giff Constable, GM. The Electric Sheep Company

16.  Aaron Delwiche, Co-founder, Metaversatility, Inc.

17.  Cory Doctorow, Novelist, Blogger, Technology Activist. www.craphound.com

18.  John Donham, VP Production, Areae Inc.

19.  Jeska Dzwigalski, Product and Community Wrangler.  Linden Lab

20.  Peter Edward, Director for Home Platform Group, Sony Computer Entertainment

21.  Sasha Frieze, Executive Conference Director, Virtual Worlds Forum Europe 2007

22.  Robert Gehorsam, President, Forterra Systems

23.  Guntram Graef, Co-Founder, Anshe Chung Studios, Ltd., China

24.  Joel Greenberg, VP, Marketing Innovation, The Electric Sheep Company

25.  Bill Gurley, Partner. Benchmark Capital

26.  Adrienne Haik, Co-Founder, Metaversatility, Inc.

27.  John Hanke, General Manager, Google Earth

28.  Will Harvey, Founder and CEO. IMVU

29.  Paul Hemp, Senior Editor, Harvard Business Review

30.  Ben Holmes, Principal, Index ventures

31.  Ian Hughes, Metaverse Evangelist, IBM

32.  Jochen Hummel, CEO, Metaversum

33.  Joi Ito , Blogger; CEO and Founder  Neoteny (also Board Member at ICANN)

34. Toshitaka Jiku, EVP and CTO, 3Di Inc.

35. Mitch Kapor, CEO, Kapor Enterprises

36.  Sandy Kearney, Global Director, 3D Internet and Virtual Business, IBM

37. Christopher Klaus, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kaneva

38.  Raph Koster, President, Areae, Inc.

39.  Aleks Krotoski, Technology Columnist, The Guardian

40.  Christian Lassonde, President, Millions of Us Inc.

41.  Stephen Lawler, General Manager of Virtual Earth, Microsoft

42.  Paul Ledak, VP of Development, Digital Convergence, IBM

43.  Mike Liebhold, Senior Researcher, Institute for the Future

44.  Richard Marks, Dir. of Special Projects, Creator -EyeToy camera interface, Sony CEA R&D

45.  Randal Moss, Manager of Futuring and Innovation Based Strategies, American Cancer Society

46.  Beth Noveck, Founder-State of Play Conf. & Assoc. Professor of Law, New York Law School

47.  Jerry Paffendorf, Research Director, Futurist in Residence, ASF,  Electric Sheep Company

48.  Colin J. Parris, Ph.D., VP, Digital Convergence, IBM Research

49.  Adam Pasick, Second Life Bureau Chief, Reuters

50.  Guy Piekarz, CEO, President and Co Founder, Unisfair

51.  Steve Prentice, Group Vice President & Chief of Research, Gartner

52.  Scott Raney, Venture Capitalist, Redpoint Ventures

53.  Christian Renaud, Chief Architect, Networked Virtual Environments, Cisco Technology Center

54.  Ren Reynolds, Consultant, philosopher and writer & Founder, Virtual Policy Network

55.  Ben Richardson, VP Business Development, Makena Technologies

56.  Philip Rosedale, Founder and CEO, Linden Lab

57.  Robert Scoble, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft

58.  Christopher V. Sherman, Executive Director, Virtual Worlds Management

59.  Jed Smith, Mgng Partner, Catamount Ventures

60.  Timo Soininen, Chief Executive Officer, Habbo

61.  Reuben Steiger, CEO, Millions of Us

62.  Alice Taylor, Vice President, Digital Content, BBC Worldwide Americas

63.  Sibley Verbeck, CEO, The Electric Sheep Company

64.  Mark Wallace, Journalist, Blogger, Co-Author – Only a Game, 2006, 3pointD.com

65.  Michael Wilson, CEO, Makena Technologies

66.  Susan Wu, Principal, Charles River Ventures

67.  Hui Xu, Founder & CEO, HiPiHi Co., Ltd

68.  Jeffrey B. Yapp, Executive VP, MTV Networks

69.  Nick Yee, Founder, Daedalus Project; Dept. of Communication, Stanford University

70.  Ethan Zuckerman, Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

The Conference Board Holds Its First ‘Virtual’ Meeting on Second Life, the 3-D Online Digital World

I am a member of the Conference Board through IBM and recently they announced an event that caught my eye.  On June 15, 2007, The Conference Board Council of Telecommunications Executives in cooperation with Columbia University's Business School Institute for Tele-Information will host a meeting onsite at Columbia University in New York City with part of this event being held within Second Life via the IBM SOA facility.   

As I have been experimenting holding business meetings in Second Life since last September, the meeting sounded very interesting to me.  So I signed up. 

There is little doubt in my mind that the future Internet and Intranets will be 3-D enabled.  These simulated and virtual environments provide the user with a very different and enriching experience they do not get from 2-D websites. 

Virtual worlds such as Second Life are emerging as a fast growing Internet-based environment that has attracted the interest of a wide range of participants.  Second Life participants range from entrepreneurs to large multinational enterprises that have established "virtual stores" online.  Companies experimenting in Second Life include: IBM, ABN-AMRO, Sears, Circuit City (CC), General Motors (GM), Toyota Motor (TM), Dell (DELL), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Sun Microsystems (SUNW), Reuters Group (RTRSY), Wal-Mart (WMT), Intel (INTC), American Express (AXP) and many others.

The Conference Board meeting sounds very interesting as there will be a virtual portion where those of us who will not be able to be in NY to attend the meeting in person can attend virtually.  I will most likely be attending only the virtual portion through my avatar (named Jett Chambers).

For more information on this upcoming meeting, go to http://www.conference-board.org/e/detail.cfm?pressid=1283&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=email&utm_content=us&utm_campaign=emailexpress

Ten Emerging Trends

Here's a quick run down of 10 emerging trends I am curious about. 
  1. Smart Healthcare Payment Systems:   Managing health care payment through small personal devices, such as smart cards.
  2. Real-time Translation Services:  Translation in major languages as a service for the health care, government, travel and transportation industries.
  3. Simplified Business Engines:  Developing and marketing an easy-to-use and prepackaged set of Web 2.0 services and blade servers that allow small and mid-size businesses to tap into custom applications.
  4. Intelligent Utility Networks: Increasing the reliability and manageability of the world's power grids by building in "intelligence" in the form of real-time monitoring, control, analysis, simulation and optimization.
  5. 3D Internet:  Partnering with others to take the best of virtual worlds and gaming environments to build a seamless, standards-based 3D Internet – the next platform for global commerce and day-to-day business operations.
  6. "Digital Me":: Creating a secure, user-friendly service that simplifies storage, management and long-term access to personal content (digital photos, videos, music, health and financial records, personal identification documents, files, etc.).
  7. Branchless Banking for the Masses:  Enabling existing and new financial institutions to profitably provide basic banking services (checking, savings, payments, microlending) to remote, inaccessible populations in fast-growing emerging markets.
  8. Integrated Mass Transit Information System:  Establishing systems for integrating, managing and disseminating real-time data for all of a municipality's or region's transit systems, optimizing buses, rail, highways, waterways and airlines.
  9. Electronic Health Record System:  Creating a standards-based infrastructure to support automatic updating of, and pervasive access to, personal health care records and the integrating of patient data with transaction systems.
  10. "Big Green" Innovations:  Starting a business unit in IBM that will focus on applying the company's advanced expertise and technologies to emerging environmental opportunities, such as advanced water modeling, water filtration via nanotechnology and efficient solar power systems.

All of these ideas are interesting to me, however my favorite idea is #5.  Having been in Second Life now since last September, I realize the potential of virtual plaforms to the future of business. 

Now that I've identified these 10 emerging trends, I will be integrating these topic areas into the research I do for this blog.   If any of you reading this blog have material on the above topics please let me know.  AND…if you have any ideas on a subject matter experts I could contact on these subjects…please email me!!!!