Jan 24, 2013

Intelligent appliances call for advanced hosting strategies

Ansley Kilgore

Intelligent appliances call for advanced hosting strategiesThe Consumer Electronics show has passed and left plenty of us salivating over new gadgets that could be coming soon. Of course, this year’s CES made one thing clear – gadgets aren’t what we always thought they were. Where we once looked at gadgets as handy little technological items, we now can call a refrigerator a gadget because intelligent appliances have gained so much prominence.

This trend was especially clear at the CES, where appliance manufacturers showed off a variety of intelligent appliances that can do everything from provide better control over how much energy they use to integrate with your smartphone. All of this is made possible, of course, by pervasive web connectivity that can turn almost anything into an intelligent device.

However, this trend also presents businesses with a unique problem – supporting these devices. Suddenly, an appliance company that had to host a basic website, perhaps with retail functionality, has to also host applications and web systems within their consumer devices. This represents a major hurdle that needs to be jumped, and soon.

The hosting challenge for appliance manufacturers
With so many appliances depending on web platforms, manufacturers have to consider their hosting capabilities as a key element of their customer service platform. If a server goes down and an application isn’t available for an hour, how will that impact an intelligent oven’s functionality? Generally speaking, there are plenty of controls and embedded software systems in place to prevent disasters from happening, but the exciting thing about intelligent appliances is not always their ability to provide their core function better, it is often the capacity to offer added benefits. For example, an intelligent refrigerator that can automatically adjust the internal temperature based on the density of items inside is nice, but a smart fridge that surfs the web to find recipes can make people giddy.

If the web hosting capabilities that support these advanced functions go down, an appliance manufacturer needs to brace for some customer backlash.

Solving the hosting problem
Cloud hosting solutions can be a major asset in this area because they offer resiliency that can be difficult to match. By attaching a powerful web hosting plan to a cloud cluster, a system can automatically abstract the virtual server from the hardware and move it to new physical machines in the event of an outage. As a result, cloud hosting provides invaluable reliability that can support intelligent appliance functionality.

To learn more about how hosting services can benefit your business, read our Managed Hosting Buyer’s Guide.

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Ansley Kilgore

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