“The personal computer is a ridiculous device, and it only appears not to be ridiculous because we have no alternative.” – Larry Ellison
In 1996, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, was doing a Leonardo da Vinci impersonation by presenting a technology idea well before its time. Back then, Ellison was preaching the end of the PC and the coming era of “information appliances”. In the vision he was actively bringing to life, the “thin client” would interface with powerful servers through the Internet. These thin clients he described as network computers, telephones, and palm-sized mobile devices. Ellison predicted this would happen by 1999.
Was Ellison right? Bill Gates thought the whole idea was silly, but history says otherwise. As industry information hub Gartner accurately points out, the mobile sector and cloud computing are in six of their top ten strategic technology trends for 2014.
The Cloud/Client Architecture of 2013 is strikingly similar to Ellison’s vision. For most businesses, this year’s upgrade cycle was, in many ways, their last. This is because the traditional models of workstation/server with locally run applications managed by IT personnel has turned into cloud/client, where the service provider maintains all of the software in the cloud. The users need only a small client application, or often just a browser. Microsoft’s Office 365 is a perfect example of this relationship. Initially panned by experts, Office 365 reached over a million subscribers in record time, each of them needing only a simple device, and the Internet.
Mobile Apps and Devices are the most obvious trend, but they have a ‘chicken and egg’ relationship with cloud computing. Shifting the computing burden into the cloud, combined with very light client applications, means that the mobile device has all the capabilities formally limited to workstations. Instead of investing in new desktops and servers, business are investing in cloud services running on mobile apps—in many cases cross platform, as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policies become the norm.
Microsoft’s Windows is becoming more and more mobile. Many new devices featuring Windows 8.1 are entering the mobile marketplace below $350, making them attractive business tools and easy targets for developers. At the same time, Android and iOS are becoming more businesslike with cloud-based apps like Quickoffice, and even the power of the Remote Desktop applications by Microsoft themselves.
Architech was early to this party — well, Larry Ellison had already finished most of the shrimp when we arrived — but, since 2004, we’ve focused on building inspired, top quality applications for mobile devices and the cloud/client architecture. We’re growing and hungry for new challenges. Are you ready to get ahead of next year’s trends? Contact us today to get started.