Pondering the Immersive Cloud

Cloud computing is considered controversial by those who mock it as a marketing fashion statement.  Yet, analysts believe that cloud computing will closely follow the adoption curve of traditional computing.  What that means to me is that CC starts with high performance and very traditional computing applications, will begin to focus on a much wider and less technical user base, and become the de-facto infrastructure for entertainment and education — the invisible and unwired platform whether you are at work, rest or play.  Cloud computing in the future will represent a confluence of technologies and trends and virtual worlds, enabling a deeply immersive experience. Reminds me of gaming.  (Play me on Halo3 online.  I’m YAMY34.)

Have you noticed that game designers are a bit more sophisticated than other software developers?  Not sophisticated as in having a deep understanding of the tender differences between years, types, and brands of wine.  By "sophisticated", I mean that they seem to have a deeper and more passionate understanding of the end-user and they build their game software with this in mind.  Audience immersion and experience is the ultimate end goal.

How video games and computing in general have evolved is similar.  First, designers had to build in primitive features that required touch (keyboard/mouse) and sight (reading and interpreting words or symbols on the screen).  Sound came from mechanical interactions with the hardware itself, like the sound of a mainframe punchcard, the sound of the keys clacking, or the fan cooling down the processor.  Now, gaming is much like the entertainment industry, where the aim is to build as much sensory interaction as possible and make it much more complex.  This gives the audience almost total submersion in an evolved, complex, sensory interaction which enables reality to blend with fantasy.

Good game design requires a hybrid understanding of the entertainment industry and computing.  It involves an understanding of the evolution of human senses with technology like sound (ex:  surround sound) and sight (color/digital/HD).  Touch technology, right now, is still in an emerging state — even though multi-touch technology exists today.  Smell technology is still in its infancy.  (Actually, I saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist recently and was very thankful that I couldn’t smell what I was watching and hearing.)  The more senses are involved, and the more complex their interaction is with technology, the more immersive the total experience. 

As I’ve thought about this, I’ve also wondered about immersive experiences in the cloud.  What will they be?  How will my senses work with the technology?  Will it include interaction through a virtual world cocoon?  Will education, gaming, and entertainment collide to create a one-stop ultimate immersion?

I’ve had a recurring dream about this very thing for the past year and a half.  My sci-fi dream is set in 2050, when all of these technologies and trends have collided with global ecosystem events.  It’s fascinating to think about, and I’m not sure when the details of this dream will stop coming to me.  But, I pack away research about this subject every so often.

How immersive do you think our experiences will be when cloud computing reaches its full potential?

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Author: Ynema Mangum

Ynema Mangum is an experienced, data-driven principal product manager of mission-critical composable infrastructure at HP Enterprise. Constantly curious, her passions draw her to emerging technologies. She joined HP 6 years ago as a solutions architect for private IT cloud computing. She then served as owner of the enterprise social collaboration domain at HP, responsible for its future direction. Prior to her current position, she was a senior product manager for the massive HP ConvergedSystem 900 for SAP HANA. At SUN, she was a product line manager for cloud computing, responsible for the requirements for common subsystems of the Sun Cloud, as well as user personas, industry analysis, and competitive research. Her product experience also includes building web based database management systems at BMC Software targeted at Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, DB2 and DB2 UDB. Y provides an invaluable hybrid mix of strategist, architect, product manager and product marketer with an unbendable passion for the user experience. Her entrepreneurial experience allows her to understand business as a whole and drives her to make decisions and execute quickly. As an added bonus, she is certified in ITIL v3 best practices for IT and Pragmatic Product Management. Ynema is a change agent. She considers herself a determined influencer and a connector whose collaborative nature ensures success in introducing new concepts and services into the mainstream -- even in the most complex environments. She thrives on doing what seems to be impossible, and enjoys taking calculated risks in her personal life -- snowboarding, skiing, SCUBA diving or wake boarding when the season is right.

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