Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, John Basso, Kevin Benedict, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Ahmad's War Provides Chance to Discuss Cloud

IT's Benefits Are Highest in the Most Forbidding Places

I had a chance to read the book, Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace, recently, published in 2005 and written by longtime NPR international correspondent Micahael Goldfarb. It is the story of a writer and teacher, Ahmad Shawkut, who suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein, then thought he had achieved intellectual freedom when Hussein was ousted, only to be murdered during the early days of the US occupation in Iraq.

The book had nothing to do with Cloud Computing, or technology for that matter, other than to offer brief descriptions of the satellite phones in use there and to note that Iraqi police stations had no computers. Its author generally maintained a measured tone throughout, with occasional bursts of rage when describing the gulf between what supercilious commentators in the US say happened versus what really did happen to many ordinary Iraqi citizens during this war.

Yet it struck me as another example of a place where IT could and should be used as a true liberating force.

IT Irony in the US and UK
There is appalling irony, and lots of it, in the US and UK today regarding how IT has been turned into a weapon by these countries' governments against their people. Ubiquitous cameras throughout London have now given the British government a perpetual view of its citizens acts and perhaps intentions, at least in their public lives. Meanwhile, in the US, domestic spying revelations no doubt form only the tip of an iceberg, and it turns out to be true that thousands of images of people's junk have been saved for future reference and who know what else.

Whatever one's opinion of Julian Assenge and WikiLeaks is, it seems that most would agree that Attorney General Eric Holder is being ludicrous with his "this is not saber rattling" threats to arrest a foreign citizen who published material at a foreign-based website. The US got to experience life as the world's lone superpower for a 12-year period from 1989 to 2001; it demonstrated that it was not the sort of imperium that would try to enslave the part of the world it couldn't obliterate, but also showed the world that it could not function as either the world's policeman or beacon of ethics.

Failure is the Only Option
The lost decade of the "aughts," precipitated financially by the Clinton administration's pursuit of Microsoft in court (go back and look, you'll see the dot-com crash started when Redmond was perceived as the evil empire), then socially by a mission that was not accomplished quite as expeditiously as the Bush administration thought, left the United States in an amazing financial mess, and seemingly toothless in international affairs.

The President flies to Denmark to try to convince sneering Euros to let Chicago have the Olympics. Fail. The Vice-President gets insulted by the country's Israeli allies in unprecedented fashion, only to accede to ever more demands. Fail. The President goes to India, begging for business from a nation with an average wealth 2% of the US. He moves onto South Korea, unable to secure the most basic trade agreement. He continues to Japan, where no one remembers even now that he was there. Fail, fail, and fail.

This is not a commentary on the President, but rather, the parlous situation the United States finds itself in today. These failures follow several decades of foreign misadventure, an increasingly obese and uneducated public that doesn't really like to vote much, and a debased media that thinks it's being destroyed by the Internet rather than by its own irrelevance.

Don't Abandon All Hope, Ye
But the great hope of IT as liberation technology lives elsewhere. It chips away at a priggish Chinese government's attempts to control it utterly. It serves as an invaluable tool for on-the-spot reporting of social disruption from Toronto to Bangkok. It is a key contributor to increased standards of living throughout the world, especially in those countries that are the most aggressive in its adoption, from Morocco and Senegal to Ukraine and Poland to Malaysia and Vietnam.

And Iraq. Ahmad Shawkut, in the book about him, was a dreamer, and an argumentative one, a guy who couldn't (wouldn't) put a lid on his opinions to save his own skin. He is not presented as wholly heroic, as the author notes the stress he put on his family and the futility of much of his utopian thinking. Mr. Shawkut loved the metaphysical, not the practical.

But he was undone by a place in which secrets and gossip pass quickly and unendingly through dark alleyways, as they have for thousands of years. If the police did, in fact, have some computers, if the populace did have wide access to the Web, if people were able to see beyond the limited horizon of the local ridgeline, then the Ahmad Shawkuts of the world could gain the influence they simply don't have today. Yes, in my opinion, Cloud Computing's potential to transform societies is even greater than its potential to transform datacenters.

One can only wish that the citizens of the US and UK can someday better restrain the power of their governments to misuse IT, just as other governments of the world can better bring IT's advantages to their citizens.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.