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2009 Will See Great Shift to Mobile Apps and Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has the power to revolutionize non-information "soft" product sectors

Jay Liew's Blog

Cloud computing has the power to revolutionize non-information "soft" product sectors. Depending on who you ask, technically I think of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a subset of cloud computing, We haven’t seen too much clear synergistic benefits between mobile apps PLUS cloud computing/SaaS yet, but I sense that we can expect to see more good things out of the intersection of these two. I’ll be tracking the landscape closely.

I could not make it to attend Walt Mossberg’s keynote at the recent Dow Jones VentureWire Technology Showcase in Silicon Valley, but this writeup on ReadWriteWeb is certainly the next best thing to being there in person.

Telling the media to “pay attention here”, here's what Mossberg said:

On mobile apps:

[…] there is colossal developer energy, intellectual energy, going into this question of “okay we have the Web out there, the Internet out there, it’s just full of all kinds of information; commerce engines, and search opportunities, and entertainment opportunities, but we don’t necessarily need to go through a browser - we can go through an app that takes advantage of the processing power and the graphics engine and all that on the computer that is narrowly focused on whatever it is.

[…] Some of you who have tried some of these 7K apps on the iPhone know that here is pretty much a staggering variety of what you can do on there. And I at least can say in my travels and daily life, I’m as glued as the rest of you probably are to this stuff. I’m pulling out my laptop less and less often during stopovers at airports, and it’s not just like when you use to have your Blackberry or Treo and you could look at your e-mail.

I’m doing Web surfing in the browser - which is a good browser in the iPhone - and all of these, the marks of these is they have a much more real browsers than the old phones used to have, but I’m also using a lot of these apps. These are kind of big broad areas where I think it is quite fun and exciting to see competition, ideas ferment; and innovation.

On cloud-computing/SaaS (although he doesn’t directly use the same term, that’s what I group this under):

[…] trying to take what has been true in corporate America for a long time, which is a sort of service in the cloud - whether it’s the Blackberry Enterprise Server, or Microsoft Exchange or Lotus products that replicate data across devices and, push e-mail and other data out and bring that to the wider consumer world.

The shift in engineering resources:

If all else, the shift in what software developers are focused on should be an indicator of where we will see a lot of innovation next. Right?

Just as a lot of the design and engineering energy left things like CD-ROMs and rushed into the Web when it was clear that it was a big deal, I observed, and I don’t know about all of you, but I’m observing a tremendous migration of design and engineering activity into these super smart phones or hand held computers, iPhone class devices. And into these both cloud services and these kind of widgety outside the browser Web apps.

We haven’t seen too much clear synergistic benefits between mobile apps PLUS cloud computing/SaaS yet, but I sense that we can expect to see more good things out of the intersection of these two. I’ll be tracking the landscape closely.

Changing the world

Lastly, this is more than just about me geeking out and chasing a new shiny object. This has the power to change the world. Just as VC Fred Wilson said that we are “finally witnessing the impact of the end of the industrial era and the emergence of the information era”, cloud computing has the power to revolutionize non-information “soft” product sectors (like agriculture and manufacturing). Irving Wladawsky-Berger puts it best in his blog post:

.. about a year ago, the Cloud showed up, and started us on the path of industrializing everything about e-services through the application of more advanced technologies and more rigorous science, engineering and management methodologies. This is an absolutely critical step given our vision to offer millions of e-services to billions around the world, through a large variety of devices. It is equally essential if we hope to make our planet - its people, companies, industries, economies and governments - increasingly smarter by collecting, analyzing and acting on information from trillions of devices, sensors and things.

We have a long way to go in this historical journey toward significantly improving the productivity and quality of services and the service sector. The service sector accounts for about 2/3 of the GDP of the world at large, over 70% in the European Union, Japan and Mexico, and close to 80% in the US.

Over the last few centuries we have made huge advances in the productivity of the agricultural and industrial sectors, advances which were then translated into improved standards of living for a large number of people around the world. The only way to continue these advances in the standard of living of more and more people around the world is to attack the inefficiencies in this very large sector of the economy. This is one of the most important challenges in our emerging knowledge age, and the reason many of us are so excited by the prospects of cloud computing - including now The Economist.

Clearly, Richard “RMS” M. Stallman is wrong about cloud computing - it is he, who is stupid. Disclaimer: I love emacs and the FSF, I’m just not a fan of RMS and his occasional extremism.


More Stories By Jay Liew

Jay Liew is a high-tech startup entrepreneur focused on the intersection of cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and mobile applications. He wants to change the world with technology or die trying. When not playing ice hockey, he finds time to sleep. Jay holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science.

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