Storm Computing: The Next Tech Boom

Brian Hicks

Updated September 23, 2011

The next big tech boom is here.

All the big players are getting behind it: Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, AT&T — name a big technology company, and chances are they’ve already invested billions of dollars.

It has all the benefits service providers and their customers want and use…

More efficiency, lower energy cost, better service, and more capability are all part of it.

And the rest of the world is just starting to see the potential of this tech boom and how it’s going to improve customers’ lives and increase the bottom line.

Best of all, any further economic slide will accelerate this boom.

Sounds perfect, right?

Well, it’s about as close as you can get — especially in a market like this one.

Here’s what I mean…

Recessions are Great for Technology

Technology has been one of the few life rafts in a sea of general economic destruction.

Technological innovation is moving at a steadily accelerating clip. And it’s delivering faster and larger gains for those who move in early…

The mainframe computer took 40 years to mature. The personal computer took about 20 years. The Internet really grew up in about a decade’s time.

Google went from garage to IPO in six years. Facebook went from dorm room to $50 billion market value in four years.

Cloud computing — the latest major tech evolution — has been exploding for only a few years.

Known as “the cloud,” it simply moves data storage, management, and other activities to large, centralized, off-site locations. It has been a seamless transition for users of the cloud like you and me…

In many cases, users simply log on to a common database and pull up documents or whatever they need remotely instead of accessing files from their desktops. No one knows whether that database is housed in New Jersey or Bangalore. Thanks to the cloud, it doesn’t matter.

But here’s the thing: Even though the cloud has come relatively quickly and easily, it has delivered tremendous gains for early investors.

The recent cloud computing mini-bubble shows how profitable a new tech wave can — and will continue — to be:

Cloud Computing Stocks Return Table List

Cloud computing stocks have significantly outpaced the rally since March 2009. The hottest of these stocks, Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD), has beat the major indices more than eight-fold.

But the cloud computing mini-bubble has burst.

And this is opening the door as the next step in computing evolution.

Storm Computing: Beyond the Cloud

George Gilder, best-selling author, futurist, and free market advocate — the type of guy you can really get along with — correctly predicted the emergence of cloud computing decades before it became reality when he said, “When networks became faster than computers, the only logical solution was to switch to offsite cloud-computing data centers.”

That was twenty years ago. Since then, much has been made of “the cloud.”

But once you start seeing ads for the cloud on TV and consistently see it pop up in mainstream media, the real opportunity for investors has passed.

Enter what Gilder sees as the next big step in this evolution: “storm computing.”

On the surface, storm computing seems very similar to cloud computing. (Believe me, I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at this, and I owe more than a couple of dinners to some associates in the technology field.)

Storm computing allows the user to directly access computing power remotely in addition to software, databases, and everything else.

Picture this: You open up your iPad and you can run some of the most powerful software in the world right from your small, relatively underpowered device.

You don’t need a massive processor or a loud fan to keep it cool because it’s all remote; the days of overheating laptops and those little computer fans working overtime will be a thing of the past with storm computing.

In essence, the main advantage to storm computing is the ability of software developers to advance their technology beyond what simple personal computers, laptops, iPads, and other devices can handle… and unlock a massive new wave of software innovation and improvement most of us can barely imagine right now.

The advanced technology can and will be more powerful, have greater capability, be smarter (better at predicting what you want), and be much easier to use.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not making a “big” prediction about the future… Storm computing is already here.

The “Dark Fiber” Boom Comes into Focus

Google has spent the last few years quietly laying the groundwork for storm computing.

The tech giant started off by buying up “dark fiber” about five years ago. The entire tech community wondered why Google was buying up fiber optic lines, which were never or no longer being used and were regarded as completely useless.

Now we know. It was all for storm computing.

Google has been working on building a massive test of between 50,000 and 500,000 homes in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s running fiber optic lines directly into people’s houses and providing the first iteration of storm computing to a few lucky guinea pigs.

The speed of these networks is 100 times faster than current broadband networks like cable and DSL.

The massive data highway is necessary to enable storm computing for businesses, personal users, and everywhere in between.

And the timing for all this couldn’t be better…

The Upside of a Down Economy

Historically, economic downturns have accelerated technological innovation.

Gilder, the same man who predicted the emergence of cloud computing, is also the first to really speak out about storm computing. He maintains, “A recession is the mother of invention.” And he’s right.

The Great Depression was actually a period of accelerating innovation. Many millionaires were made during that otherwise economically disastrous period.

People naturally want a better quality of life. It’s human nature. An economic recession created by government policy, Federal Reserve, excessive debt, and economic dislocation aren’t going to be able to stop it.

If the last few weeks are any indicator, there’s a lot of invention and innovation on the horizon.

Of course, most investors are looking at what they can sell now — or thinking of giving up completely. It’s a totally natural feeling to sell everything now and give up. But as Wealth Daily readers are well aware, uncommon profits are only made by those investors looking for uncommon ideas.

Technological innovation combined with the recession is certainly not the common focus right now. However, there will be tremendous rewards for watching emerging tech trends closely right now…

My colleague Steve Christ, editor of The Wealth Advisory, has been covering the emerging boom in 3-D printing — a concept on the way to changing the way we shop forever.

Christian DeHaemer of Crisis and Opportunity has been all over the growth of real 4G (not the stuff phone companies are marketing as ‘4G’) and other major technology trends.

Now you can add storm computing to the list of big and highly lucrative innovations on the verge of hitting the mainstream market.

After all, when it comes to new technology, if Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others are pumping billions into something… you know it’s not going to be long before it becomes reality.

Good investing,

 Andrew Mickey Signature

Andrew Mickey
Editor, Wealth Daily

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