Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enabling innovation for small business through clouds and R&E networks

[It is generally recognized around the world that small and medium sized businesses particularly in the ICT sector are a major source of innovation and job creation. Governments and economists are always looking for ways to support and enable this sector because of its critical contribution to the economy. The 2 webcasts below clearly demonstrate how clouds will enable greater innovation by this sector as they significantly reduce the startup costs for small businesses and immediately provide access to a global market. The Singapore government estimates that a successful startup only needs $50k because of the availability of clouds. It is not only ICT small businesses that benefit but companies in all different sectors such as materials science can also significantly reduce their upfront capital costs for computers and specialized equipment because of clouds and R&E networks. A good example given in the webcast is how it is possible for a material science company to start in a garage because they can access all their computing resources they need over the cloud and if they have access to a R&E network they can get access to network connected scanning electronic microscope at a university. This is where R&E networks can play a critical role. Although most R&E networks cannot carry commercial traffic they usually can carry R&E traffic for commercial organizations. Getting bandwidth to a cloud provider can be expensive especially if you have large data sets or significant computation requirements. By connecting to an R&E network a small business can get the necessary bandwidth to the cloud that is generally not available from the commercial carriers. Since the traffic is for R&E purposes and not a connection between the small business and a commercial client this traffic generally does not violate the AUP of most R&E networks. Some R&E networks are also looking to be a value added reseller of cloud services to both universities and small business in order to obtain a revenue stream from providing this service. Other potential revenue opportunities exist by bundling cloud service with energy consumption and CO2 reduction. The other big field for innovation for small businesses will be the integration of clouds with mobile applications. Tim OReilly’s presentation gives a good overview of the potential for this market. Thanks to Jaap van Till for the pointer – BSA]

Collaborative Innovation and a Pull Economy
What can extreme surfing and World of Warcraft teach the enterprise? Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and former Xerox PARC Chief Scientist John Seely Brown holds them as examples of the power of frequent benchmarking and full industry info-share. He also uses them to show how the core ecosystem can be made stronger by sharing knowledge gathered from learning on the edge. In addition, Seely Brown touches upon his theory of a monumental economic shift from a push to a pull economy as outlaid in his 2010 book, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion.

The Internet of Things – Clouds + Social Networks + Mobile

The Internet of Things is the idea of a web of data provided by things like real-world devices and sensors. The Internet of Things offers a whole new world of opportunities for improved decision making, innovative services and (unfortunately) social surveillance. It's loaded with implications to consider.

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