Cloud Innovation - A Whole New World

Silver Linings

Cloud Innovation - A Whole New World

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  June 11, 2014

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed an evolution in technology that has transformed the way we live and work. Cloud computing has driven incredible efficiency in the business world and has allowed businesses to merge into a highly mobile and flexible era. Indeed, there are few applications and services in either the business or consumer world that aren’t touched by cloud in some capacity.

But, in addition to creating new models for delivering traditional services and capabilities, cloud has created massive opportunity for not only new players, but entirely new markets. Wearable tech is one of them.  It has very rapidly become the focus of many in the media and has spawned an entire community of tech innovators, collaborators, and users.

Google (News - Alert) stole the early spotlight with Glass, but failed to truly capitalize on it – even though Glass is now available to all, its $1500 price tag is quite steep for the average consumer. The health and wellness market, on the other hand, has seen significant uptake. Not only are most products accessible to the general market, but their focus is an area that can easily be applicable to nearly every individual or family – health.

Take myfitnesspal, an easy to use, personalized exercise and food consumption tracking site. It’s just one of many such sites available, but it’s also one that has become highly popular thanks to some of its cloud-enabled features, including accessibility through mobile apps (though only iOS at this point) as well as Web browsers, and a crowdsourced database model that allows users to add food items with calorie counts. Rather than having to enter each item into a personal database, users can access the cloud database to easily enter information.

Also consider Fitbit, which makes wireless activity and sleep trackers, with an attractive, user-friendly UI that tracks and displays steps, calories burned, distance walked, activity levels, and more. For advanced users, much more is available via a membership. It, too, is accessible via Web or mobile app.

Both of these sites allow anyone to monitor and manage their health and fitness at whatever level they would like – from the casual user to serious trainers. And both have many similar features but, each has its strengths: myfitnesspal is great for monitoring caloric intake, while Fitbit automates activity tracking.

Thanks to cloud, however, users are able to connect the two systems, allowing them to cross-pollinate data, further simplifying the entire process. Myfitnesspal integrates activity data from Fitbit and factors it into daily goals and achievements, while Fitbit receives consumption information from myfitnesspal, adding it into its measurements and dashboard.

While it may seem extraneous to have to use and manage two apps for one purpose, the truth is most users are already using a broad selection of apps to manage their daily lives, including IM, email, SMS, video apps, streaming audio, cloud storage and collaboration, social media, and more. The addition of one more, given the ease of use achieved through the combination, is hardly an obstacle. 

The point is that cloud is having a profound impact on our daily personal and business lives. The applications, features, and ecosystems that are emerging in cloud environments are changing not only how we communicate, but how we live. If you take a moment to think about how many times a day you use the cloud for you activities, you’ll be amazed.

As for the wearable tech space, it promises to grow exponentially through the rest of the decade in almost every market. New use cases are being rapidly developed across a broad range of markets and most, if not all, will be leveraging cloud computing. We’ll be talking about this exciting cloud-enabled market, from enterprise wearables to fashion – from sports to audio and sound – this July 22-24 at Wearable Tech Expo in New York. Come join us to see some of the amazing innovation that is enabled by cloud computing (www.wearabletechexpo.com).




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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