We all know what large technology companies do with people’s data: They use it to their advantage, they sell it to the highest bidder, they use to spy on users.
As most readers already know, there is no free lunch when it comes to using social media or ‘free’ cloud services. Even paid cloud or email services come at a high cost for users.
Somehow, however, Amazon is in the process of launching a cloud service that would be available to students, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
One of Amazon’s most ambitious projects is called Ground Station, an infrastructure of stations that aims to deal with one of the biggest problems suffered by companies that depend on satellites: the cost of maintaining a station on Earth and the problems and delays that arise from managing dedicated software programs and the data collected by the satellites.
The CEO in charge, Andy Jassy, explained in a speech that satellite communications are increasingly important, but that this is an activity that “is not so simple”: many antennas or base stations are needed all over the planet to receive the data from the satellites and servers near the antennas to process the data. That’s where Amazon comes in, promising 80% savings.
The service promises to make the use of this data easy and affordable thanks to a future network of 12 ground stations. When customers access their information, they can leave it in the AWS cloud, where they store it and analyze it with machine learning.
AWS is the leader in the cloud business, with 34% market share, followed by Azure, the equivalent division of Microsoft, with 14% of the business, and Google, growing at 6%.
According to data from the Sinergy consultancy, Gartner, one of the leading technology consultancies, says that this year the industry will have exceeded 270,000 million euros.
By 2020, just two years from now, growth is expected to occur in other sectors. It would exceed 360,000 million euros, or 33%.
Recently, Amazon Web Services itself reached an agreement with Iridium Communications, a company that has 66 satellite constellations, to jointly develop a space network called CloudConnect for Internet of Things applications. It will be operational next year.
The alliance of the companies intends, as Iridium has confirmed, to extend the speed of broadband communications by land, sea and air.
In addition, the Internet of Things, the interaction of any household appliance, vehicle and machinery through the Network, will be key in the growth of subscribers of services.
The service of both companies will reach 80% of the planet that now lacks connection to mobile networks and will ‘facilitate’ the interconnection between all the devices.
Maxar Technologies’ vice president, Walter Scott, released a video that showed how cloud computing is allowing satellite monitoring work to accelerate dramatically.
The Amazon Ground Station stations will work with a dedicated network of low cost antennas from the Lockheed Martin arms company. Amazon has partnered with it to radically lower the prices of connecting to multiple satellites and take advantage of the data they receive.
With these two new services, access to this information, which until now was reserved for large companies or governments, is ‘democratized’.
Rick Ambrose, vice president of Lockheed Martin, believes this project will lower prices: “Now any student or startup can afford access to satellites and use their information to invent new business models,” he added.
There is no doubt that neither Lockheed Martin nor Amazon will be simple vessels for all new information to circulate among stakeholders.
There is money to be made in this as the cost of accessing the Cloud and satellites supposedly falls to levels that almost anyone can afford.
What do Amazon or Lockheed Martin win with making the Cloud widely available? Well, the Cloud is just the bait, as a free account is the bait in the social network business.
The prize is not the satisfaction of allowing individuals to access unlimited resources. The prize is masssive amounts of data and information.
If you think this is an exageration, try to remember when Mark Zuckerberg or anyone at Google told the public they would use private information to spy on users. That’s right. They never did, yet, that is exactly what they’ve been doing all along.