A Placed Called Intelligence-in-the-Cloud


I was given the pleasure of speaking at one of the U.K.’s leading strategic learning forums on the transformative needs of education in the U.S. and abroad. The title of my message was profoundly simple, yet got the attention of any chief Information officer, or technologist desiring to stay gainfully employed over the long haul. The message was called ‘A Place Called Intelligence-in-the-Cloud.’ The sub-title could also have read ‘The death of analytics as we know them.’


Data analytics have been the mystical promise by tech companies for over 15-years. During this 15-year span of time, the reality has set-in that we are an intelligent society driven by a thirst for knowledge and intelligence at the consumer level. Most C-level executives have now reached a point that they no longer believe a promise of receiving intelligence or knowledge only after they purchase and install yet one more analytic tool or application.

The good news for leaders who are desperate for instantaneous intelligence is that there is a fairly clear pathway to this intelligence vs. the long winding road of implementations, big data, and more analytics. In fact, the C-level purchases of analytics will suddenly and quickly drop into the shadows of the C-level purchaser. The evidence is becoming clearer that wearable technologies, mobile technologies, and design technologies will soon allow consumers and students to merge these technologies together. The emergence will allow most savvy consumers and students to find and design their own way to success. Most importantly, access to these design technologies are already proven to be stored in cloud-based services, which individual consumers can now purchase. It is critical to note that data analytics will always be needed, but they will no longer be the eye-candy or promise that C-level executives will focus their attention toward. Consumer wearable and smart devices with built in intelligence via the cloud will cause this shift to happen quickly. This futuristic design can be view in concept at: http://bit.ly/2gWGSUl

Below are four considerations to validate and test the reality that a “Place Called Intelligence-In-The-Cloud” is a reachable destiny.

Consideration #1 – Personal and synchronized intelligence is now available to everyone

The reality that wearable technology now allows personal intelligence to be integrated with synchronized intelligence via the Internet of Things (IoT) is truly amazing. Mobile and smart devices can now leverage this intelligence instantaneously with consumers and students via personalized cloud services. This emergence of intelligence illuminates the reality that life, interests, work, education and learning will accelerate all human experience. It also means the taste and desire for pure intelligence, which makes life better for individual consumers will be paramount over analytics. ORU’s Wearable Initiative in the Washington Post.

Consideration #2 – The transformation from BYOD to WYOC brings intelligence everywhere

BYOD, known as Bring-Your-Own-Device was a strategy that helped sell more consumer parts and devices, while ushering in the era of analytics to understand the buying trends of device owners. Consumers are currently multiplying their personal cloud services such as iCloud, iTunes, etc. and bringing their own ‘cloud services’ to work, school, and play. As the strategy changes and consumers are allowed to ‘Bring-Your-Own-Cloud’ services, they will ultimately design and personalize the experience they need to do life, education, and work. This era of intelligence and design is a new era whereby, technology and applications becomes fluid, and flows like water into the nooks and crannies of life. Whereas, technology was once considered the fabric of our modern society, it will now morph into the liquid-cosmos or fluidity of life. The fluidity will change ‘Bring-Your-Own-Cloud’ to ‘Wear-Your-Own-Cloud.’ Imagine being a company trying to make a living selling analytics on devices and having to quickly change to accommodate the flow of ‘fluidity or water.’

Consideration #3 – The Death of Analytics as we know them – A lesson from the Supercomputing industry

The new era with cloud computing no longer will focus on the analytics of devices or network connections by themselves. The need for analytics and big data will shift to the back room, while consumer technology will become the technology that every corporation focuses on. The consumer technology space will downplay the attention that corporations give to their ERP systems, data analytics, business intelligence, workstations, and networks. Even though all these technologies will all be needed, they will no longer be the eye-candy sold to savvy C-level executives who ultimately realizes that the consumer will rule. C-Level decision makers will be closely aligned with the place called intelligence-in-a-cloud.

From 1985 to 1996 I worked for Supercomputer Manufacturer, Cray Research. It was an unbelievable time in the history of quantum computing, big data, and analytics that far surpassed the analytics and big data that is finally being talked about today. The issue was that not everyone could afford the multi-million dollar supercomputer. The problem extended even further when the corporate marketplace wanted analytics and big data but could not buy a Cray Supercomputer. The marketplace changed, and it changed quickly. Ironically, the supercomputer market is still very strong from a financial standpoint, and Cray Research is still alive and well. However, it is not the ‘eye-candy’ and ‘must-have’ or even ‘must-need’ technology that it once was. Technology advanced into the hands of thousands of companies who could produce smaller, faster, and more corporate computing systems that allowed a new kind of eye-candy. It wasn’t until 15-years ago when data analytics caught back up with the smaller systems and now everyone is packaging various flavors of data analytics and business intelligence. Unfortunately, just as supercomputers moved to the backroom and were no longer sexy, so will data analytics and big data, as the equivalent power of the supercomputer is now in the wearable and mobile technology consumer space.

A few short years ago (2012) I shared a video on the two computing miracles I will witness in my lifetime. One of them happened back in 1996 when the supercomputer moved to the less sexy backroom of society. In this video I also predict the same quickly ‘move-to-the-back’ room of ERP and SIS systems while students begin to wear and carry the same capability on their hands. The video, which can be viewed here, was recorded at the 2012 Global IMS Learning Consortium in Toronto. The time for the second miracle has arrived.

Consideration #4 – Why will consumers get to the “Place Called Intelligence” first

On one hand, most companies selling software services with all the nice titles of SaaS, IaaS, Cloud-based, managed services, professional services, enterprise software, learning technologies, analytics, and business intelligence, etc. all have two things in common. On the other hand most consumers who invest in personal technology also have two very different things in common.

Most company’s hierarchy of needs, or top two things they have in common, include 1). Making a profit, and 2). Helping the companies they sell to, (who help them make a profit) be more competitive against their competition. The profitability for most companies is proportionate to their ability to help each company they sell to — compete against one another.

Most consumers’ hierarchy of technology needs includes: 1). Does it make me look or feel ‘Cool’? 2). Does it improve my life, work, play, or education? 3). Is it affordable?

The two varying laws of hierarchy are vastly different and will be the reason that consumers will get to the ‘Place-Called-Intelligence-in-the-cloud’ quicker than a tech company. Consumers are far more motivated to improve their life with intelligent use of emergent technology. In a design society the Internet of Things (IOT) will become the Internet of Me (IoM).


The current era whereby consumer products come with 1) built-in intelligence, 2) is fun to experiment with, and 3) is cool to wear will motivate consumers and each other to be far more creative than companies can afford to be. In essence, this era would be a classification of ‘Crowd-Sourcing’ with an accelerated engine. Possibly, we may know this era in the future as ‘Consumer-Sourcing’.

I actually hope that I am wrong, and that it will be technical companies who arrive at the place called “Intelligence-in-the-Cloud,” and sell out of the box intelligence, rather than mere analytics.

Michael L. Mathews
Chief Information Officer, Oral Roberts University


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