APIs and Your Personal Cloud

Personal Cloud

Hey, that’s my personal cloud!

You didn’t know you had a personal cloud did you? I was a bit shocked myself.

Well, we might not all have a personal cloud yet, but Rackspace’s Robert Scoble gave an intriguing keynote talk today at Dataweek 2013 on what he calls the age of context, which promises such a thing for rapid “context adopters” as himself. It was a great talk and I was able to see Google glass up close.

So just what is this new age of context?

Age of Context

Robert described five changes that contribute to the age of context:

  1. Social network data is going up exponentially
  2. Location data is going up exponentially
  3. New types of databases are proliferating, especially for sensor type data (such as MongoDB and Hadoop/HBase)
  4. The number of sensors around us are increasing
  5. Mobile devices are changing and the use of ‘wearables’ are increasing.

This new age of context implies two new things: Personalized products that act on this contextual information and new assistive technologies.

I think there is another aspect here that binds all of these items together, and that is of course Web APIs. APIs form the conduit for the personal cloud and make the data move within the cloud. Mobile devices use APIs, APIs form the entry and exit point for data from all sorts of clouds and provide that ubiquitous, well understood communications channel.

So in this sense, APIs enable the age of context. Without them there would be only data silos.

Robert’s keynote was very interesting and the audience was eventually steered towards the hot-button issue of privacy. Robert’s main stance was a popular one, to paraphrase, “I just let it all hang out.” Not everyone in the audience shared the same view, and at least one objector noted that with this view there is an imbalance between corporations and governments which tend to keep data secret or ultra-secret and the age of context, which does the exact opposite for consumer data. It appears to trade a measure of “fun” for diminished, or even ‘near-zero’ privacy.

If you are at the conference I’ll be speaking tomorrow at 4:00pm at the main stage (Festival Pavilion) on Enterprise APIs and will try to relate some of these concepts to the Enterprise, especially the connection to mobile devices and APIs, as well as some of the concerns we’ve seen from the largest Enterprises in the world as they put API management in practice. Hope to see you there.


Blake Dournaee

About Blake Dournaee

Passionate, energetic product manager that lives at the intersection of business, innovation and technology. I currently work at Intel in the Datacenter Software Division working on products and technologies relating to mobile, APIs, cloud services and big data.

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