Cloud Computing, IoT, Advances at Dreamforce 2015

September has been a big month for tech conferences in San Francisco. VMware just wrapped up its biggest VMworld ever, and the Salesforce Dreamforce conference last week smashed its earlier record with over 150,000 attendees.

The Cloud Makes It Happen

Cloud computing was, of course, a major theme at this year’s Dreamforce conference, but you could almost call it a “Cloud 3.0” theme with many companies talking up new applications and services the cloud is enabling.

For its part, Salesforce made a number of announcements including Salesforce Health Cloud, which integrates data from electronic medical records, wearables, and additional sources to give doctors and other care providers a more comprehensive view of their patients’ health.

It also showed SalesforceIQ for Small Business and SalesforceIQ for Sales Cloud. Both are built off data analysis technology Salesforce acquired with the purchase of RelateIQ a year ago. A big selling point of both new services is the ability to extract insights and recommendations from existing data without requiring the users, such as busy sales reps, to manually reenter it.

The (Near) Future Is Personalized

In his keynote, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he sees a future of more personalized services that speak directly to the needs of individual customers. He compared it to advances in targeted medicines. “I have even had the thought that maybe we’re going to see ‘precision enterprises’,” he said, that would address specific industries and customers with an array of personalized services.

THINKstrategies analyst Jeff Kaplan thinks Benioff is on to something. He notes the three pillars of cloud computing SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) are becoming more powerful and pliable so that organizations can create their own purpose-built solutions.

“Marc Benioff and others are now talking about mass customizations or mass personalizations,” said Kaplan. “It’s the idea that you can use cloud computing resources and services to directly market to or make distinct services available to individual customers in ways that until now weren’t possible.”

Virtualization Powers Cloud Computing

Another analyst, Charles King of Pund-IT, was impressed by advances in real-time analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) that were shown at Dreamforce. “But while impressive individually, these developments all tie back to the central value proposition of virtualization. Without virtualization, cloud computing wouldn’t exist,” King said, because it “helped make powerful compute and storage accessible to a far wider range of people and organizations than ever before.”

Benioff addressed his own company’s growth saying Salesforce is on track to be the fourth biggest software firm in 2016, trailing only Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. “Cloud computing is now a $270 billion market,” he said. “That’s a long way from zero when we started 16 years ago.”

More and Bigger Data Are Here

Along with that growth has come an explosion in data and major advances in predictive analytics. Benioff noted 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in just the past 12 months. What will that percentage be in 2016?