This month, Google announced the launch of its Stadia product; a hybrid between a gaming console and a streaming service. The impact on Business IT could be huge.
How does Stadia work? Well, all you need is a Chromecast, Pixel phone or another similar device. You then purchase a subscription to their streaming service and play games. So, what’s new? Well, there’s very little computing involved on the users’ side where very low-end specifications are required.
Everything is delivered via their streaming platform – so effectively as you are playing the game on the modified Google server, using their CPUs and High-end custom-made Graphics cards. The resulting computation allows you to stream 4k content directly to your device of choice with options to downscale to 1080p for devices incapable of displaying 4k resolutions.
Why is this concept important? Think about your IT – you most likely use a desktop pc or laptop for your work in or out of the office. Within a variation of hardware, how often do people use more than a portion of the computing power at their disposal? Probably very few.
It’s most likely a rarity in most cases excluding professionals who carry out heavy duty tasks daily. We don’t tend to max out our CPUs or RAM (unless you’re using Google Chrome), do things that are highly graphically intensive nor fill up all available space, all the time. You multiply that up and there’s a massive amount of IT resources not being used in a business at any one time.
Now try flipping this on its head. Instead of having 100 computers with a 2GHz processor (all with their separate power demands and associated chips), imagine having 1 computer with 200 GHz processing power, which was shared amongst all users.
So, a business can offer up to 100 times the processing power to its users on demand, completing tasks quicker and saving money on hardware and power usage. Resources are distributed to those who need them rather than sitting on each desk being unused.
Taking that one step further, imagine having access to super-computer levels of CPU and RAM remotely located, where you can instantly access Terahertz of processing power on demand. Your Excel Spreadsheet will certainly run fast in that environment.
All you need is an input device (screen, touchscreen, keyboard, mouse, etc) and a connection to your infrastructure. Suddenly we are free of computers, laptops and can access our “desktop” from any suitable device. This is the utopia of cloud computing.
Sure, we’ve already some of this now. Remote Desktops and Virtualisation gets us so far, AWS the same. But it still isn’t the slick, reliable product we were promised. And yes, there are downsides. You need high-speed internet ideally synchronized up and down, and as low latency as possible.
Latency is the time it takes to initiate the connection from one machine to another, measured in milliseconds. And we’ve been sold this before – remember thin clients?
When Google is behind something, it has the infrastructure and support to dedicate massive resources to it.
They already have the systems which deliver massive amounts of data quickly and simply – think how long it takes you to get search engine results and how reliable YouTube is. However, it is also noted for how quickly it drops products if they aren’t working. Google+ anyone?
So, for business owners, how this gaming platform works out in 2020 will be fascinating. We could end up with Google, Microsoft, Amazon all selling access to a complete cloud-based business streaming solution. The laptop/desktop dies and is replaced with simple input devices. We wish Google the best of luck, as this little joypad thing could revolutionize how we all access IT in our workplace.