Web 2.0 is Over
Recently in my graduate course, we had a discussion about the hype or efficacy of Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing. I argued that Web 2.0, for all of its new apps, it really has not solved any major problems for consumers or corporations. Just the opposite, Web 2.0 has been responsible for splintering our digital lives into electronic data shards across the Internet. Whether its fitness data on Polar or Nike; photos on Picasa or Flickr; or friends on LinkedIn or Facebook…we are really not as connected as we think we are.
My vision of the Next Web is one where my mobile device takes advantage of the cloud and meshes together my data shards to provide something more useful for me. The scenario I gave–was of something we all do—grocery shopping.
Smarter Devices, Smarter Cloud
Imagine a smart grocery list on your mobile phone. A reminder pops up on your phone that is translated into audio on your Bluetooth headset or car when you start driving home from work. It reminds you that you need to pick up groceries.
When you arrive at the grocery store, your phone provides you with a personalized shopping list. It includes items that you created and items that your personal cloud services have added. For example, your home keeps an inventory on what you eat, how often, the expiration dates of foods and dairy, the current quantity, etc. Moreover, your personal cloud also knows about your family’s nutrition plan to reduce trans fats, cut the high fructose sugars for your kids, and lower your cholesterol so it provides the alternative brands for the food stuffs that will help you meet your dietary goals. Finally, your personal smart cloud evaluates your calendar for information on upcoming dates and events where food preferences are involved (i.e. anniversary-your spouses favorite meal, birthdays, and dinner guests with their preferences.)
So far, that would be an awesome list. However, it is still missing some information.
My phone knows where I am. So the list needs to change the context to something more useful. The list needs to re-order itself based on the layout the market so that I shop efficiently. Additionally, it needs to know my shopper loyalty-relationship with my grocer so that it highlights any special deals for me that match my list. Relevant manufacturer’s coupons should automatically download as Tags to my phone so that the cashier can scan them. Or my presence in the store should automatically display them on the register.
To complete the cycle, we need one last thing. The register receipt should include a Tag that allows me upload my purchased goods to my personal cloud so that my home can update my inventory and recipe options, update my home budget, and update my fitness journal so that I have calories and nutritional information available on-demand.
That would move us from an electronic shopping list to an entirely new consumer experience. All of my data shards would be far more useful in this scenario and my choices would be augmented by the compute power in my personal cloud services. I doubt that the human mind could process all of that information on its own. Moreover, today’s mobile devices are resource limited.
The future of mobile computing will be more impactful to learning and life if the devices and apps are context-aware. Further, they must leverage the computing resource of the Cloud. Web 2.0 does not do that. However, Project Hawaii is giving today’s college students an opportunity to solve problems like my shopping list and more.
Project Hawaii provides resources for teaching mobile and cloud computing. It began as a pilot project in Spring 2010 with the University of Southern California, Duke University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The pilot was a success with the professors and students. The students got an opportunity to use next-generation cloud and mobile technologies from Microsoft to solve real-world problems that go beyond today’s computing obstacles.
Project Hawaii is a partnership with the Windows Azure, Windows Phone, and Microsoft Research. These groups work with colleges and universities to bolster their STEM, specifically Computer Science, to expose students to the Next Mobile Web.
The program is expanding to include more colleges and universities. One of the top issues that my higher education CIO/CTOs advise me and challenge me with is mobile and cloud computing. We mutually believe that both are market shifts that we need to prepare for and leverage today. However, what does the road ahead look like for learning experiences and pedagogical applications? In Project Hawaii, the professors and students are building the next thing.
You can find out more here.
Update: URLs to Project Hawaii updated.
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