Cloud and Hosted Technologies Come Out Strong at CES

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Consumer-oriented cloud services like file storage played no small part in growing wider awareness of cloud services, and even driving enterprise adoption. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we looked at some of the technologies and trends in consumer technologies and how they might relate to wider trends in cloud computing and web hosting.

Video Streaming

While the latest TV sets are a staple of CES, the technology behind delivering video content was at least as important.

Netflix made waves this week with the launch of its video streaming service in 130 countries – with the notable exception of China.

A news site that covers Virtual Private Networks, VPN Creative, noted that the expansion of Netflix could reduce dependence on VPNs used to jump geo-blocks in countries where Netflix doesn’t operate. On the other hand, VPNs are quite popular in Chinese to access content filtered by the Great Firewall, and users in other countries will likely use a VPN to access content not available on Netflix in their country because what’s available varies from nation to nation.

Again, on the video streaming side, Cisco has been showcasing its cloud-hosted and managed video solution suite called Infinite Video, which is aimed at service and over-the-top video providers. With technology mainly coming from its October acquisition of 1 Mainstream, Infinite Video provides a white label UI running on iPads, Android-based devices, Apple TVs and OTT boxes, as well as providing stream optimization and cloud-DVR capabilities for recording multiple channels simultaneously.

Cisco also announced it would be providing its VideoGuard Everywhere platform to Sky TV to provide security for its cloud-based streaming and video downloading service Sky Q. It will also be using Cisco’s headend platform ultimately delivering Sky Q.

Cisco has been courting this streaming video market for a while with considerable success. Last year, Cisco partnered with Germany’s largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland to provide its on-demand video service. In the US, Cisco was contracted to provide the technology for Charter Communications’s video delivery platform.

Connecting IoT and Cloud

Connecting Internet of Things devices to the cloud has also been a major theme of this year’s CES.

Beaconix has been pushing forward its vision of Smart Beacons that transmit location info but are also cloud-connected using Bluetooth Smart Mesh. These devices also work with the various beacon protocols that exist today including Apple’s iBeacon, Google’s Eddystone, Beaconix 2WAY, and Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS). Possible applications range from point-of-sales systems to digital displays.

Personal Clouds

There have been many personal cloud storage devices that amount to Network-Attached Storage devices.

For instance, Turkey’s Monument Labs unveiled a $99 device that stores and shares photos via USB drives and an Internet connection.

Promise Technology unveiled its first consumer electronics product, the Apollo storage bank, which lets a private group of members, store and share 4TBs worth of photos, videos, and other data from wherever an internet connection is available.

Remote Collaboration

In the realm of Estonia’s 3DPrinterOS has released their new take on cloud printing by releasing an open-source framework that can connect virtually any 3d printer to the cloud, allowing individuals to make 3D prototypes wherever they are.

Managing the Complexities of Greater Connectivity

A trend of this year’s CES is tech companies helping large companies manage the complexities that come with more connectivity.

IBM announced that several new customers were using its artificially intelligence service, Watson, in their business. Watson is behind Under Armour’s coaching app, Medtronic’s blood sugar alerts for diabetics, and provides the brains behind the social companion robot Pepper. Whirlpool is also using Watson to sort data from its connected appliances to find flaws in its manufacturing lines. As a Forbes article notes, however, this area of cloud services is difficult to monetize because the value might not be easy to calculate as something like the transition from on-premise hosting to cloud hosting which can be considered “low-hanging fruit” in comparison.

Complex Services Based on Public Cloud Offerings

While there’s nothing new about using public cloud services for more complex offerings (think about Heroku, which builds on AWS), but there are more specific cloud services being based on public clouds, and using the established familiarity of these clouds to their advantage.

Silicon Valley-based software developer Ambrella demonstrated an on-demand processing engine that runs on a user’s private AWS instance. It’s currently available on the Amazon AWS marketplace.

What did you find most interesting about CES from a cloud and web hosting perspective? Please let us know in the comments.

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