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November 10, 2009

It’s not all in the cloud

Mary-mcdowellESPOO, Finland – You’d have to be hiding under a very large rock not to have heard about something “the cloud” recently. But it isn’t all about the cloud. Mary McDowell has kicked things off today by shining a light on how devices play an important part of bringing the cloud to life, and that not everything has to live in the cloud. Peer to peer activity is important too, specially when it comes to things like Nokia money, which will enable those without a bank account to send money to each other. Context is also important, getting information based on where you are, which helps filter through the myriad information we can be bombarded with.

There are more than 4 billion mobile users in the world, but only 1.6 billion bank accounts. Nokia Money is a good example of how the cloud and the device come together. Designed to bring banking to countries where it simply doesn’t exist, it relies on having a solid, cloud-based, backbone, combined with true integration on the device. This will enable person to person transfers and the ability for users to pay merchants online and in the physical world.

Bridging the gap between the physical and digital world is the centre point for Nokia devices. Researchers in Nokia’s Tampere lab are working hard on the concept of mixed reality, where location, the device, the cloud and the person all combine to bring a new experience. Point and Find is the first example of this, but Mary hints at more to come.

So, what’s next? Super sensing the world around us. Going beyond location, it looks like we could see a range of bio and nano sensors to help us observe and detect our environment. Some of these might appear in our devices, some might even end up in our clothes. Take this information, use the device as the bridge and the cloud suddenly starts to take on a whole new meaning. We’re already seeing the early fruits of this methodology in Nokia HealthRadar and Nokia Data Gathering where information is gathered at ground level, sent through the cloud for sorting and analysis. Add sensors to that which have an understanding of what’s happening to the people who are using them and keeping on top of contagious diseases starts to become a reality. The cloud on it’s own is smart. Plug in a large number of devices and it becomes much smarter.