May 19, 2020

Are you using the right storage? The disadvantages of the public cloud

Big Data
Hu Yoshida, CTO de Hitachi Dat...
3 min
Are you using the right storage? The disadvantages of the public cloud

Some people believe that one day all cloud storage will be free. Several leading Internet companies are already offering cloud storage services for your photos and documents at no cost or at a reduced value for the service. It is believed that in the future these costs will be zero for the user, while providers compete for customer preference in the so-called “Race to Zero.”

As reported by our sister publication Business Review America Latina, while storage service can be free for the customer, the storage infrastructure and data services remain costly for the provider. Building data centers to hyper-scale costing billions of dollars, and cloud providers will have to find other services to afford or take advantage of the information contained in this "free" storage.

RELATED TOPIC: 5 ways cloud computing is changing how we do business

We should consider that when you take a photo from a cell phone and the picture is saved in a public cloud service, it keeps information about where and when a picture was taken. Also, images in the pictures can be analyzed, which can reveal information about the preferences of users. Thus, it offers free storage for some kind of control over their personal data, which may offset the cost for these cloud providers.

Greg Knierierman, who works for HDS and has a successful podcast ("SpeakingTech") in The Register, has been blogging about the need for companies to control their data. He cites a recent survey by The Economist, where 87 percent of respondents reported that their senior management is very concerned about the safety and privacy of corporate data. I am sure that business users will not use free storage unless the supplier can ensure security and data privacy.

RELATED TOPIC: How safe is your personal data on social media?

It should be noted that offering free storage is a way to keep customers longer, since it is difficult to move large amounts of data from one cloud to another over the Internet. It becomes even more difficult if the cloud provider uses a proprietary application. It is not unreasonable to think that public cloud providers may even go beyond zero, and offer rebates or other incentives to entice users to store data in their cloud.

One way to avoid the trap of free storage is to use a content platform that provides all the controls to store, access and protect data regardless of the cloud service you use. Hitachi Content Platform, for example, allows you to manage all the content data from the firewall, store data anywhere, including public cloud, and access it anywhere with proper authorization and authentication. The client controls the encryption of data wherever it resides and can be used without fear.

Cloud storage for free is just another tool that individuals and companies can use to manage your storage needs, as long as they understand the needs of your data and compensation. Nothing is free. It cannot be measured in money, but always requires compensation. It may mean that the client waives some control.

RELATED TOPIC: Concerned about big data breaches? Technology can help

This week I'm traveling in India, and I will be able to communicate with my family and talk to my grandchildren, for free, using Face Time. While the service is free, now all my family has an Apple device—that is the profit of the company. I can share documents and collaborate with colleagues from Hitachi worldwide with the use of Wi-Fi in my hotel room with Hitachi HCP Anywhere, knowing that, in this way, the documents are secured.

Finally, I believe that the greatest risk in the "Race to Zero" is the sustainability of this business model. It requires constant innovation to stay ahead of the game. While the West focuses on public cloud providers like Amazon and Google, there are other companies in the cloud in other geographies as Alibaba Group, China, which could be much more aggressive and innovative in this race.

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Jun 18, 2021

Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking

3 min
Intelliwave Technologies outlines how it provides data and visibility benefits for APTIM

“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.

We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time  spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.

Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate. 

With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.

There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.

Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture. 

It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.

Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.

On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.

As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.

A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.


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