Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Digital Signage Need to Know: Isn't "The Cloud" the Same as Wireless Connectivity?

Isn't "The Cloud" the same as "Wireless" connectivity?

Let's lay this interesting misconception out and discuss how the two concepts are related (or not). A definition fresh from the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, of the World Wide Web opens the topic:

Definition of WORLD WIDE WEB-
: a part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks, also called the Web

And the definition of INTERNET-
:  an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world

The Web is a part of the Internet.  There are other parts of the Internet and the most well known are:

FTP and Gopher Sites
Communication Programs
Chat Rooms
Social Networking

Definition of THE CLOUD-
: anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet

So, The Cloud, as it were, is really a process, or a service.

Think of it in terms of the early days of personal computing (which extended up until a few years ago). You are a wheat farmer in Kansas and you use a service that predicts the weather, estimates the cost of the wheat at market, provides technical assistance and allows you to talk to other wheat farmers on-line. You pay $50 per month for this service and they send your CDs out whenever they update the software- let's call this service Wheat-Max.

The nice people at Wheat-Max just upgraded their software so the introduction screen is prettier and the cost per bushel estimator for International shipments is running real time. They sent out the new update to your farm last week and your wife dropped the CD on your desk this afternoon.

Now, you have your desktop fired up and insert the upgrade disc into the DVD/CD reader on your computer hoping everything runs smoothly from a technical perspective, while keeping an eye on that approaching thunderstorm (would hate to lose power 1/2 way through the upgrade) and not wanting to miss your dinner. Twenty minutes later an error code is displayed to your screen that says "insufficient RAM: process aborted". 

Hasn't this happened to you? Well maybe not the Wheat-Max upgrade, but my point is why do we manage our software this way? Why didn't Wheat-Max just upgrade their software on-line, then after dinner you could sign on and just use the software?

The same concept holds true for LED sign software. How many LED sign companies open up their newly arrived LED sign project, remove the LED cabinets, set it up in their shop and look for the CD to make it all work!  Whoopsie- they did not ship the CDs with the LED display!

Let's not play that game. Let the LED manufacturer do the work. You, the LED sign company, have enough to worry about finding new customers and sealing the deal. You don't need the headaches of trying to run a data processing center too.

So, the Internet is the network of computers, the World Wide Web is part of the Internet, and The Cloud is just a cool name for accessing and using the software on some other company's computer so you don't have to have your dinner missed updating the program with yet another revision.

But the question was: Isn't "The Cloud" the Same as Wireless Connectivity? Clearly it is not the same. Wireless connectivity allows a user to communicate to an LED display (for example) remotely but the controlling software may be on their PC. With Cloud control the software is resident on the computer of the LED manufacturer. To make it even less clear- when using the cloud software to control your LED display it communicates remotely (wireless). You just don't have to fool around maintaining the software because it's on a remote computer online.

It works... its great... get into THE CLOUD!

These comments belong to me, Mike Prongue, and do not reflect the views, opinions, hopes or dreams of anyone else, anywhere else and this includes Vantage LED. I appreciate your constructive opinion which may be sent to me at 

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