I was lucky enough to attend MIT Future Compute 2021, to understand the convergence of various technologies, from the Internet of Things to new(-ish) connectivity options, like 5G and LoRaWAN.

Future Compute 2021
An examination of the computing landscape, hosted online by MIT Technology Review February 10-11, 2021

Particularly as Microsoft Ignite 2021 kicks off (I'm particularly excited about the session on Semantic Search - the power of understanding at your fingertips!), I thought it would be useful to explore some of the takeaways from Future Compute.

Everything is converging

I'm sure this gets said every year - and like every other year, it continues to be ever more true.

Surprisingly, AI and Machine Learning don't get a look in - partly because to my mind, they infuse every aspect of the diagram.

We can see the continued rise of cloud providers, who are continuously onboarding and updating their Quantum and High-Performance Compute services. On the flipside, you can see the emergence of an open internet coalition - with organisations like DFINITY and SOLID attempting to swing the pendulum towards decentralisation.

A venn diagram showing: energy consumption, processing - then open internet with ledger inside; then Cloud with thinking achines inside; then quantum intersecting with cloud. Then Intelligent edge with IoT inside, and intersecting with Icloud and open internet.
Credit: Fergus Kidd & Chris Lloyd-Jones

This was an early draft from a related piece I'm working on for Avanade - with inputs from Fergus Kidd.

We're waiting for the pieces to land

With speakers from Microsoft, IBM, AWS, and Google on the one hand - and consultancies, academia, start-ups and new players on the other, I felt like there was an excellent overview of points of view.

The commonality was - no one had a clear answer. To my mind, we're looking to see what happens around sovereign internet, and connectivity.

Sovereign internet - whether it results in global collaboration, or global fragmentation - can be demonstrated through moves like Facebook v Australia, or the various different Azure Cloud deployments (Azure Public, Azure China, and previously, German Azure.)

Connectivity - seems to driven by whether a post-COVID world will end up in a return to the rural areas, or centralisation in cities; and continued globalisation. If people jump at the chance to work remotely, and live in the countryside, then we'll see an outflux of knowledge workers from the city, leading to increased dominance of virtual spaces.

I posit four potential scenarios - we'll likely end up with a combination of these four, but really interesting to see the trends in the market.

Credit: Chris Lloyd-Jones

Oh well! This is my attempt to see where things are going - catch you at ignite!