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3Tera Authors: Tom Leyden, CloudCommons 2012, Liz McMillan, Maureen O'Gara, Elizabeth White

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Telcos Charge After Cloud Computing

Haven't We Seen This Movie Before?

Telcos clearly play a major role in Cloud Computing. This role also puts to the lie any attempt to describe different types of Cloud as "public," "private," "enterprise," or "consumer."

Take smartphones, for example, which are now used by more than 100 million global users who get their calls and email, and access their cool apps, from satellites far above the clouds that transmit terabytes of information daily from increasing numbers of Cloud-based servers on the ground. The smartphone revolution is a clear example of a "public," "consumer" cloud.

Or is it? Doesn't business email comprise most of those messages? And don't those messages come from highly secured server environments, whether abstracted and virtualized or not? Surely all those smartphones are not sold to folks simply so they can get their onanistic jollies from games and restaurant guides, while receiving their personal Yahoo mail or gmail in the process. Right?

Among these terms, I'm not sure anymore what "private" means, anyway. Does it mean on-site? Does it mean corporate intranet? An enterprise supply chain? Sole ownership of specific third-party Cloud infrastructure, which actually wouldn't be Cloud at all?

Who cares?
The telcos seem too focused on landing new business to get hung up on such terms. They're pushing ahead with specific rate plans, which in the US, at least, provide the sequel to the earlier performance of offering uniquely uncompetitive and restrictive plans for plain old cellphone customers.

One leading telco, AT&T, claims to be investing $19 billion in infrastructure this year. And this is not just for wireless smartphones. High-end digital telephony, delivering YouTube to offices and movies to the home, may consume more data than phones ever could. A Verizon executive, speaking at an event in Asia recently, said that he believes that 20% of companies will no IT assets within a few years, as Cloud ICT moves in and takes over. Another speaker at that event seemed to decry the fact that, no matter how much Moore's Law continues to speed up and price down the cost of IT resources, "telco costs will always be the biggest cost with Cloud Computing."

Whatever you call it, and however you view it, the telco clouds will be enormous in a few years' time. Compound annual growth rates on the order of 25% are being widely projected; there will be one billion smartphones on the planet soon enough. Placed end to end, they wouldn't make it anywhere near to the moon, but they could circle the earth twice and then some.


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.