Alternating Current (AC) versus Direct Current (DC). VHS vs. Beta. iOS vs. Android.

For more than a century, organizations have pitted their competing technology standards against one another in an all-out battle for supremacy. It’s happening again. This time two industrial giants are competing for power in the latest cloud market, the Internet of Things (IoT).

The companies are GE and Siemens. Each has developed a cloud platform that effectively connects business processes, physical devices and software developers. According to The Wall Street Journal, GE has an early lead with its Predix platform, which has attracted 300 partnerships.

Siemens, on the other hand, brings to market its MindSphere, which has six supporters to date but more than 100 in the works, according to the Journal.

“At issue is who will create and dominate a realm of technology that promises both to become the backbone of industrial automation and provide mountains of data about everything from parts inventories to how products are wearing long after their purchase,” the Journal reports.

The winner, the article asserts, will gain a leg up on reinventing “manufacturing by letting firms of all sizes tap digital platforms linking each stage of the value chain—from design through production to maintenance.”

That’s potentially a very big deal. But scores of industrial giants from Haier to Samsung to Bosch to Hitachi to ArcelorMittal would love to be at this epicenter. Same for Boeing or GM or some new tech company no one even knows.

My point is this: when it comes to the cloud and the IoT, the only standard that matters today is the Internet Protocol (IP). Developing industrial standards on top of that for competitive gain could pay off. But it could also delay a market primed for takeoff.

The true promise of the IoT is what Cisco pointed to—connecting everything. The Balkanization of the IoT by industry such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, etc., would be a disappointment.

How MSPs are Trying to Survive and Thrive in a Cloud-First World
The above is the name of a new study commissioned by Sonian, the developer of public cloud information archiving company technology. Sonian helps companies “preserve, analyze and access their electronic communications for legal, regulatory and continuity purposes while gaining organizational insights.”

Because it relies on MSPs to help grow its business, the company has a vested interested in their success. Wanting better insights on their current prospects, Sonian recently teamed with Berg Research to survey more than 325 representatives from MSP organizations. Here’s what it found.

Nearly eight in 10 MSPs believe that “cloud providers are bigger competitive threats than other MSPs.” By cloud providers, the company means cloud software developers that offer software-as-a-service (SaaS).

The study goes on to say that competition from cloud providers has forced MSPs to cut their service prices. Half of MSPs surveyed, for example, “reported moderately reducing their costs to acquire new customers, while 18 percent said they substantially reduced their costs to acquire new customers.”

For insights, I turned to Jeff Lippincott, vice president of business development at Sonian. “MSPs are feeling a lot of pressure and competition from large cloud providers versus other MSPs in their markets,” says Lippincott.

Now, despite its findings, Lippincott says there’s room for optimism. Sure customers can go out and buy SaaS services on their own. But managing these purchases, integrating them and securing them? These and other objectives are proving to be a burden to many companies. So the need for an MSP is critical. It could be a local provider or a regional or national provider who operates at scale. Regardless, it is a trusted third party advisor that many need.

One last takeaway from the study: “MSPs said technology offerings with
the strongest promise include secure data storage (60 percent), business intelligence applications (48 percent) and hosted cloud email services (48 percent).”

What's an old tech you used a long time ago that you can't believe was part of your routine/services today?
Was browsing around the web and came across this question posed on Reddit recently. The answers are hilarious.

What are customers still clinging to? How about POP3 accounts, manual backups, fax machines and Norton Ghost to reimage machines. My favorite: “bulletins boards over dial up.”

It’s always good to step back and realize that in an increasingly cloud dominated world that operates at the speed of light, some people still toil in the dark.

Here’s hoping you have an enlightened week.