HP’s Joe Weinman
AND THE NUANCES OF CLOUDONOMICS
BY JENNIFER SCHREIER PELCZARSKI
In today’s world of hyper-specialized silos, Joe Weinman is a rarity: equally comfortable developing strategy, working with customers globally, keynoting events from Sao Paulo to Singapore, writing technical papers, and inventing — with 14 patents already awarded in fields ranging from data networking and cloud computing to the culinary arts.
His professional career has long bridged technology and business, beginning with an Ivy League education, then as an engineer and executive at Bell Labs, then in operations, strategy and business development, sales, marketing, and product management leadership roles. An AT&T veteran, this industry leader moved to Hewlett-Packard in 2010 to lead HP’s Communications, Media, and Entertainment Industry Solutions organization. “I relished the opportunity to move upstream to the leading global high-technology firm, with a broad portfolio targeting consumers and businesses and ranging from mobility to data centers, where I felt my ideas and innovation could have a broader impact,” he acknowledged.
He is a recognized leader in Cloud Computing, for his multidisciplinary perspective at the intersection of strategy and technology and the creation of the discipline of Cloudonomics: rigorous economic, financial, and behavioral analysis of cloud computing as a business, which will be the topic of his book by the same name to be published by John Wiley and Sons in Spring, 2012. He claims that “cloud computing can basically be viewed as an on-demand, pay-per-use rental model for computing services similar to, say, hotel rooms or rental cars. It complements the traditional ownership model, and can mean virtually unlimited capacity for computation.”
This computing approach is having an impact on many industries, not the least of which is the global media and entertainment business. Entertainment has always relied on technology, but never more so than today: Five of the top ten highest grossing movies of last year were animated features, and the rest were heavily infused with special effects.
Leading the entertainment industry in cloud computing, DreamWorks Animation has always leveraged innovative technologies to realize their creative ambitions. As Ed Leonard, CTO of DreamWorks Animation explains, “in our business today, technology is at the core of our entire filmmaking process. Technology is an enabler to our artists.”
Leonard continues, “On Kung Fu Panda 2 we used HP’s Enterprise Cloud Services and HP servers to render over 20% of the film’s final images. Without the cloud, our artists would have had to compromise on the visual richness of the characters and their environment. Instead, we broke free of previous technical constraints and delivered the technology solutions our creative team needed.”
“Cloud computing is revolutionary for the entertainment industry, because it doesn’t just accelerate production by a few days, but alters the entire process,” argues Weinman. “Artists, animators, and directors are getting to the point where they can review and share almost as quickly as they can imagine, transforming the creative process, enhancing collaboration and socialization, accelerating iterative improvements, and ultimately enabling delivery of a richer, more entertaining end-product.”
The cloud is relevant to media and entertainment in more ways than just rendering or feature film production: today’s hottest media, user-generated content, social networking, mobility, and gaming companies run completely or partly in the cloud. And a substantial fraction of the Internet is being used for streaming not just sleeping cats and laughing babies, but feature-length motion pictures, often via cloud service providers.
Weinman believes this is just the beginning. “Facebook is 5 years old, Google 10, and the World Wide Web only 20. We can only begin to envision how the intersection of mobile, social, gaming, video, and the cloud will drive new forms of entertainment. Imagine producers creating loosely-directed multiplayer games that are a mix of collaboration and competition, existing in a participatory, immersive alternate reality delivered to your home via multiple digital cinema screens and high-bandwidth connections, where the illusion of reality is maintained by using cloud-based compositing of real-time 3D video of you with your colleagues, friends, or family, enhanced with multi-layered CGI effects, and with the option to lean back and watch or lean forward and participate.” Whether for business or entertainment, such a world may be closer than we think.