About a month ago, I spent the weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona and attended the EUC Masters Retreat hosted by Thin Client Computing. Steve Greenberg and company have put together a great weekend of discussion and activities. As this was my first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m planning on attending many more. It was well worth the price of admission.
I want to focus on one particular portion in this blog because it really is the piece that has really stuck with me. It’s like the song that gets stuck in your head and you can’t get rid of it but in this case, that is a really, really good thing. I’ve been rolling these thoughts around for about a month now and I feel like I was given a glimpse of the future. Maybe I’m completely insane, maybe I’m not. I’ll let you decide.
Chris Matthieu was someone I knew about but I had never had the please of meeting him or hearing him speak and truthfully wasn’t fully aware of what he actually does. Let’s just say the guy is brilliant and I’m not even going to make an attempt to describe him but to say he’s a wizard and see’s the future………yea you heard me 🙂
Chris is an entrepreneur and his latest company he started was bought by Magic Leap. I had heard of Magic Leap and new it was Augmented Reality (AR) related but that was about it. AR has never held much interest to me but, in all honesty, all I’d seen of it was game related in the phone arena. Pokemon Go and those types of games. Magic Leap takes the idea of AR and turns the volume up to 11 (my fellow old timers should get that joke). Magic Leap looks, physically, much like a Virtual Reality headset but instead of a completely blocking out your surrounding, you are wearing, essentially, goggles, glasses, whatever you want to call them. The part that Magic Leap adds is spatial awareness. What does that mean? Basically, it scans the area you are in and knows walls, ceilings, furniture, floors and can interact appropriately with those objects. From a gaming perspective, if I watch an enemy come at me, it may hide behind a couch, it may leap over the couch or whatever. It is truly amazing but if you look beyond gaming there are, dare I say, limitless possibilities with this and if you peruse around their website you catch hints of amazing things to come. Let’s just say Alexa and Siri have some big time competition coming up.
In all honesty, I’m somehow holding myself back from buying the initial developers edition right now and it’s taking everything I have. For the technology that is packed into these things, the price is pretty darn good and it’s going to be coming down as they get closer to a true consumer launch. I am simply that excited about this technology and what it has to offer.
BUT that’s not the piece of the conversation that got me thinking over the past month. It was something Chris said almost in passing in relation to the Magic Leap. Magic Leap is essentially self contained and isn’t tied a PC or anything like the Vive’s and Occulus’s were in the beginning. Chris was describing what was coming and what they want to accomplish and he mentioned about being able to take advantage of on-demand computing when the tasks were too much for the headset alone. Cool, yea, ok, sounds like a job for cloud right? Then came the passing mention of using compute that was around in the area you were in. I wish I could remember the exact phrasing he used but it was this comment, or something similar, that blew my mind.
Let me take a step back and just throw some thoughts out there first. What exactly is cloud today? Cloud is simply someone else’s datacenter with their hardware in those datacenters. It’s basically the same old, same old we’ve been doing for decades. The difference is that we can have public services available for others to use without giving them access to our own private datacenters. As we have seen, cloud vendors are just as prone to outages as anyone else and the promise of never having to worry about a single point of failure is still a dream for many cloud services (Office365 I’m looking at you! and that is most definitely not the only one). Even cloud vendors don’t necessarily develop their services across multiple regions for resiliency and redundancy. Wasn’t that the promise of cloud services?
Now, think about the one thing we all carry around with us, our phone. Whether it’s Apple, Samsung or whatever, phones today have compute and graphic power and memory in them than ever before. You can get actual, real work done on them if you are so inclined. It’s insane what we can do with them compared to just a few years ago. What if you take away the screen requirement? How much real estate is actually required by the rest of the components for it to actually work? Not a whole lot. Imagine a large array of these hanging on a utility pole or buried underground with other wiring, routers, etc that already exist? What if general computing was like electricity or water or gas? If you tap into it, you get a small charge for it BUT it’s not all tied to a single regional datacenter like the cloud of today?
Is this what cloud will evolve into? Or is something else entirely? Am I crazy? Or simply insane? Well, probably both. I’m not even sure I’m putting this into words correctly to match my excitement over this whole concept. This compute everywhere, to me, IS what cloud should be.