Cloud Economics Part Three – The Cloud of Clouds


Connected Communities cross industries.


In Part 1 and Part 2 we discussed Cloud development costs and Sales costs and the change in balance of power between the solution provider and the end-user customer.Another element of the cloud technology evolution is the foundational integration — across industries, across solutions, and across technology enablers.

As the apps world has evolved from enterprise to global commerce, and now to clouds (see Figure 1) the need for interoperability is key to the vision of a Connected Community. There are many interesting new collaborative developments, for example in the Emergency Response, Healthcare, and Consumer Goods arenas.

Figure 1 – Technology Evolution

Emergency Response

A truly interesting collaboration in the Emergency Response arena is the National Guard effort that brings together multiple cloud applications. Built of a collection of ‘clouds’ from Google Apps, to cellular smart phone apps, to Savi tracking platforms, this collaboration allows an Interoperable framework for dealing with the complexity of Emergency Response across various communities — National Guard, Police, Fire Department, NGOs and other government Emergency Response agencies, to:

  • Identify and understand the emergency
  • Compile requirements to respond – people and other assets, from equipment to consumables
  • Communicate with partner organizations
  • Respond to the site
  • Create a chain of accountability, often neglected in the moment, but surely discussed in the aftermath!

Partnering up with Google makes sense, since they are the mapping dominators, and have their toe in the Location-based services world, too (see Who will provide the Location in Location-based Services?).


In previous articles we talked about healthcare interoperability and we promise more. (See Connected Healthcare.) The new ‘generation’ of patient is connected, and solutions will have to be built around apps and interfaces that they are familiar with, which will be a challenge in this industry.But an interoperable journey has begun.

Consumer Goods

In the highly competitive commercial apps space we see more opportunity, but less community so far, although we think that the social networking concept will help drive community. (Read about social networking and customer engagement in our last issue of the brief.)

Where’s the Economics?

I always look at things in two ways: making money and saving money for two communities — technology providers and end-users.

  • Foundational development today can be a community play. The development costs are leveraged from previous components or shared across the community of developers. (See more on Cloud and Cloud Economics Part 1 and Part 2.)
  • End-users benefit from:
    • Low to no upfront capital outlay
    • Leveraging existing investments in mobile devices, and other social network or web application investments
    • But most importantly, they become an instant member of the community. They don’t have to deal with the difficult and never finished task of trading partner integration.

The keys to all this, of course, are standards and partnerships, trends we see as becoming more popular.

We’ll talk about standards and alliances at MIT this month.

From smart phones, to asset and shipment tracking, to retail, to defense, the interoperable community clouds will be critical for ultimate individual cloud success. End-users will demand integration. The Stones crying for you to ‘get off of my cloud’ won’t enable adoption of SaaS, or On-demand; so those in the tech community who are already developing in the new milieu will lead. Others will have to catch up or see their share of the apps market shrink over time.

To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.

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