Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Cloud We Trust - Who needs economists?

New York Times (Bits) - 3.15.12 by Quentin Hardy

GT Nexus used shipment data to track countries’ import-export balance in 2008, left, and 2011. The diagonal line represents balanced trade.

Someday soon, the Federal Reserve may be dead, at least for economic information. Blame it on, or credit it to, cloud computing.

I recently visited the Oakland, Calif., headquarters of GT Nexus, a company that monitors supply chain information — things like ordering, payment, manufacture and logistics — for 100 major companies. Think of GT Nexus as a Facebook for corporate behavior: business partners are friends, and the completion of tasks are status updates.

The clients inside this cloud-based system include Home Depot, Sears Holdings, Adidas, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and Fiat Industrial. Each giant company typically has about 1,000 other organizations involved in its business, including suppliers and manufacturers, freight companies, customs officials and banks. GT Nexus keeps straight all their goods, services and the payments involved, in real time, on a cloud-based computing platform. It is possible because so many people, things and computers are now connected to the Internet.

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