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2014 cloud news: IBM Watson, mobile and IoT get top clicks

In 2014, news about developing cloud applications using IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities and mobile-first strategies were top traffic-getters on SearchCloudApplications. An article about developing Internet of Things (IoT) apps and a piece about enterprise architects’ cloud projects were runners up.

Looking at why these four stories attracted over 12,000 readers, I talked with our expert contributor, George Lawton, who wrote all of them. Together, we offered some footnotes to each story.

The year’s top story was “IBM’s Watson supercomputer gives developers access to cognitive cloud.” In it, Lawton describes how software developers are using IBM Watson to build customer-focused cloud-based applications. Essentially, Watson provides the ability to analyze data about customer behavior and suggest — or, even, predict — future behaviors. For example, Watson technology has been used by Fluid Inc.’s retail business customers to increase customer engagement and sales. Also, Welltok Inc. is building a Watson app that provides regular wellness activity guides and rewards for users’ healthy behavior.

IBM’s Watson Group is putting $100 million into fostering work by third-party software developers, one of those being Welltok, according an article by reporter Stephanie Neil about cognitive computing. Talking about that investment, Lawton told me that setting up a new Watson Group headquarters spurred “the single largest movement of IBM research personnel in its history,” he said. He predicts spurt of Watson-based product releases in 2015, particularly in vertical markets such as financial services, retail, healthcare and travel.

Mobile-first report takes second

High interest in SearchCloudApplications’ feature on mobile-first development of enterprise apps shows that “mobile is now a premiere consideration in the rollout of new services,” Lawton told me. Mobile-first design of applications is now a must, because people don’t have to use a computer to access information and make transactions.

The mobile-first trend has far-reaching impact. “It’s helping to redefine the traditional notion of service-oriented architectures to embrace a more flexible infrastructure based on much simpler APIs,” Lawton said. At the same time, the gap between native and hybrid development environments is starting to shrink, which promises to lower the bar in keeping up with the proliferation of iPhone, Android and now Windows devices.

Developers, take note of IoT

The intersection of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) was a buzzy topic at the 2014 Silicon Valley EclipseCon conference. Developers there posited that the cloud could enable quick tests on new IoT projects, according to SearchCloudApplications’ third most popular news story, which covered the IoT cloud discussion at EclipseCon. Cloud testing will speed development and innovation in IoT projects by reducing the number of failed projects traditionally associated with early-adopter rollouts. “Leveraging the cloud to quickly test out new ideas will allow businesses to weed out bad ideas with less risk,” Lawton said.

Watch SearchCloudApps in 2015 for regular, in-depth coverage of cloud-based IoT development. Meanwhile, catch up on IoT with articles on design issues in mobile and IoT development and how IoT technologies are impacting product development.

An enterprise architect’s cloud apps success

Everyone likes to learn by example, so it’s no surprise that a first-person account of cloud development projects was fourth on our news traffic tally. Exploring enterprise architects’ first cloud projects, George Lawton tapped the experiences of veteran software pros. Check it out to learn about how cloud helped in landing NASA’s Curiosity Rover and onboarding two companies’ sales teams to mobile and cloud apps.

If first-person articles appeal to you, you’ll find a bunch of them in our Change Agents profiles of software developers and architects.

That’s the news round-up for 2014. I can’t wait to see what tickles readers’ fancy in 2015.

Happy New Year!

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