The cloud is the platform of the future. I strongly believe that every company & individual should embrace the new capabilities of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Because, “the future belongs to whom it takes it.”

To give you some perspective on the topic, I want to take you on a little trip through history.

1st Industrial Revolution

The first Industrial Revolution started in 1760 – 1840 and the main driver was the steam engine. The discovery and creation by James Watt changed everything known to human kind at this time. We were able to create many cool machines with these steam engines, such as trains that connected countries or regions, steam boats, and of course the manufacturing of products.

2nd Industrial Revolution

From 1870 – 1940, the world found itself in its 2nd industrial revolution, which was driven by the introduction of electricity. With electricity came the conveyer production line and manufacturing went through a big boom.

From the time electricity was discovered to the point where the first power plant went live, some time had passed. At the beginning, we didn’t have the technology needed to produce large amounts of electricity. Another time span passed before we were able to transport large amounts of electricity over long distances. All over the world you’ll find that many of these big manufacturers had built their factories close to rivers, where they could produce the necessary electricity.

3rd Industrial Revolution

We are all part of this revolution which takes place between 1960 – 2015. This revolution kicked off by the introduction of computers. First starting as mainframes that took a lot of space, to the introduction of the personal computer, and then all the way to now, where we have more capabilities in the form of smartphones than we had with the big mainframes. The computer has changed everything.

However Prof. Robert J. Gordon comes to the conclusion in his book: “The rise and fall of American Growth”, that the transition from the mainframe computer of the 1960s to the PC and to the connected devices today is “relevant only to a limited sphere of human experience” and “represents only seven percent of GDP.”

In the beginning, we had similar challenges like we had with electricity. We didn’t have the technology to produce huge amounts of computation and to transport it over long distances. So each company had to build their own infrastructure, server room or even data centers.

As in the second industrial revolution, there came the time when we were able to produce large amounts of electricity and deliver it over long distance. That step allowed manufacturers to focus on their core business and no longer concern themselves with the production of electricity.

With the public cloud, we are now at the same place. We have the capabilities to produce compute at large scale and deliver it to individuals and business all over the world. We are even discussing the same questions as are predecessors did in the second industrial revolution. What if their isn’t enough compute? What if their is a service outage? The only new part of the conversation is the one about security, transparency, compliance, and trust. This isn’t just a job for the cloud provider themselves, but rather it is the responsibility of all to ensure that our government makes it a priority and provides the necessary framework to take advantage of the platform of the future.

Sometimes I’m wondering how soon it will be until the companies no longer invest and operate their own datacenter, but actually focus on their core business and just pay for the compute they consume. What do you think?

4th Industrial Revolution

Earlier this year, Prof. Klaus Schwab released his book about the 4th Industrial Revolution. In the book, he is mentioning that the this industrial revolution will have great impact on:

  • Physical:  Autonomous vehicles, robotics, 3D printing, new materials
  • Biological: Genetic diagnostics, treatment, engineering
  • Digital: IoT, Blockchain, dusruptive business models

All of these have one thing in common,  and that is the cloud platform. I’ll even go so far and state it right here, the cloud is the platform of the future.

“The 4th industrial revolution will bring change at a speed, scale and force unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It will affect the very essence of our human experience” Prof. Klaus Schwab

If you want to read Prof. Klaus Schwab’s book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, you can purchase it here on Amazon or if you rather watch the 12min Youtube Video you can do so as well.

Probably the #1 example for “disruptive business models” is Uber. I know you’ve heard this a thousand times. But let me give you a new angle to look at Uber. Right now, cab drivers all over the world are protesting Uber. What will happen when the autonomous cabs arrive? Where will all the cab drivers go when we don’t need them anymore? What we still need is a application to order and pay for car service. Guess which company has the biggest user base for exactly that service? Yes, it’s Uber. They are in the best position to become the first major global car service company.

Every industrial revolution has killed jobs and created new ones, just think of the time where every elevator once had a “liftboy or liftgirl”.

We shouldn’t loose anymore time to answer the following question: “Where is my place in this 4th industrial revolution?”

Because the cloud is the platform of the future, you should embrace it with open arms. Don’t make the mistake of just moving old world thinking and processes into the new world, but instead re-invent yourself.

So what are you waiting for?

Written by Dave Kurth
Thriving within my current role as Product Marketing Manager, I am the leader and voice of the Microsoft Azure within the Swiss subsidiary. Views are my own.