Tag Archives: Cloud computing

16 tech trends Andreessen Horowitz is most excited about

This list lets you inside the mind of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. 

One of, if not the, most prominent VC groups in Silicon Valley has revealed the hottest tech trends changing the world right now. For those wondering, that firm is Andreessen Horowitz and we’re referring to no other than its “16 Things” list. The breakdown, which highlights the most investable spaces at the moment, unsurprisingly includes Internet of Things, digital health, crowdfunding, and security — a couple of areas in which we know a little something about.


“We don’t invest in themes; we invest in special founders with breakthrough ideas,” Andreessen Horowitz writes. “Which means we don’t make investments based on a pre-existing thesis about a category. That said, here are a few of the things we’ve been observing or thinking about.”

While the list — which includes several themes that were evident throughout the CES 2015 show floor — will likely change over time, it does provide a nice glimpse into the firm’s thinking at the start of this year. Just in case you don’t feel like clicking through and navigating a16z in its entirety, here’s a brief overview of those breakthrough areas.

Virtual Reality

“VR will be the ultimate input-output device. Some people call VR “the last medium” because any subsequent medium can be invented inside of VR, using software alone. Looking back, the movie and TV screens we use today will be seen as an intermediate step between the invention of electricity and the invention of VR. Kids will think it’s funny that their ancestors used to stare at glowing rectangles hoping to suspend disbelief.”

Sensorification of the Enterprise

“For enterprise, the value of the sensors is in being a shortcut for the user interface, potentially even replacing typing so we can concentrate on the easy, fun, creative things.”

Machine Learning and Big Data

“The key here is in more automated apps where big data drives what the application does, and with no user intervention.”

Full Stack Startups

“The old approach startups took was to sell or license their new technology to incumbents. The new, ‘full stack’ approach is to build a complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses incumbents and other competitors.”


“The next step in containerization is treating the datacenter, with all its containers, like one giant computer or server. Many applications today are really just distributed systems: Applications aren’t necessarily confined to just one container.”

Digital Health

“Tomorrow? To understand your personal diagnostic data, you might soon depend more upon an iPhone app developed in a garage than on your local MD.”

Online Marketplaces

“We’re continuing to see tremendous innovation in marketplaces. The first generation of net companies saw a few big horizontal marketplace winners like eBay and Craigslist. But entrepreneurs are continuing to create the next generation of online marketplaces.”


“There are two things now driving the security industry: (1) The bad guys are already inside. (2) New platforms — cloud and mobile — have arrived… Both are forcing a different set of technologies, and the creation of new kinds of companies.”

Bitcoin (and Blockchain)

“The clock has just begun on Bitcoin’s acceptance more broadly. Crash or no crash, we should expect a significant increase in the level of institutional adoption this year. Specifically, a large number of companies will put together groups focused on what Bitcoin means to them.”

Cloud-Client Computing

“Endpoints aren’t just phones; they could be wearables and other small devices and screens connected to the internet. Beyond the devices themselves, it all adds up to a massive amount of compute power. The next decade of computing will be about doing something with it.”


“Crowdfunding is going somewhere it never has — into the mainstream. That, in turn, will change all sorts of other things.”

Internet of Things

“Something often overlooked when we talk about all the shiny new connected gadgets emerging out of the Internet of Things is what happens to all the old things. I’m fascinated by the power of adding multiple sensors to old things and then connecting them to the Internet…. With the IoT we’re headed to a world where things aren’t liable to break catastrophically — or at least, we’ll have a hell of a heads up.”

Online Video

“What we do know is that online video is far from done… so it will be interesting to see what even a little competition will do here.”


“Insurance is all about distributing risk. With dramatic advances in software and data, shouldn’t the way we buy and experience our insurance products change dramatically? Software will rewrite the entire way we buy and experience our insurance products — medical, home, auto, and life.”


“The rise of the hyperscale cloud datacenter has now made this job much harder as developers have had to hack together tools and complex scripts for pushing code to thousands of pancake servers. This complex cloud infrastructure — coupled with the growth of the DevOps movement today — has opened up many opportunities, starting with helping developers and companies to manage the entire process … to much more.”


“The goal is not to fail fast. The goal is to succeed over the long run. They are not the same thing.”

The Internet of Things, Arduino and Android, that’s Souliss

By: Dario Dimaio of Souliss and Tom Vu of Atmel

The Internet of Things, Arduino and Android, that’s Souliss

Network connectivity is shifting from people to objects, driving the revolution of the IoT (Internet of Things).

Souliss is an open-source framework, based on Atmel technologies. In 2011, Souliss founders began searching for cheap and effective devices capable of turning objects into interconnected devices. Back then, such technology was mature and inexpensive enough, although no one method had a lead. Simply put, this few people agreed upon how the objects should be interconnected, a rather typical problem of standards and architectures.

However, once there is a unified solution for device connectivity, like the conventional Internet of today, the Internet of Things will significantly increase, both in terms of scale and pervasiveness. Remember, in any new technical development there is always room to propose a bridge or contribution to the vision. That was the basis for Souliss.

Souliss is a distributed open-source framework designed to run on the Atmel Atmega328 and Atmega32U4. It can also run on other AVR microcontrollers, like the Atmega1280 and the Atmega2560. The Souliss standard offers offers working solutions, allowing users to build a network of interconnected devices within minutes.

Starting with open-source design

Open-source hardware and software represents an amazing revolution, as it gives people the power to design and build high-level software and hardware tools, even if they don’t have a large company behind them.

For example, there are dozens of people on the Souliss team that did not do any coding. Instead, they articulated the goals for the framework. This is the power of open-source to the community of emergent Makers at Souliss.

The Souliss team designed most of the code, prototyping a board based on an Atmel Atmega328 microcontroller and a AT86RF230 2.4 GHz wireless radio microcontroller manufactured by Freaklabs. The fact that the board is Arduino-compatible is not arbitrary, as openness helps drive this project as well as other hardware designs that you often see in the Arduino community. The open-source nature of the design offers wide accessibility and abundant documentation such as user guides, schemas, application notes, and ecosystem material. This provided Souliss with an early start in its design journey.

Open-source offered a quick design and development starting point. This made it easy to transition to the next steps, including new innovations, and higher-level functionality. The openness of the AVR compilers encouraged open-source prototyping boards like Arduino. The core of this spirit creates a chain of solutions that drive the next successive achievement. Souliss is the next link in that chain.

What Souliss does

Start controlling a light bulb from remote and local switches, report the state to the Android app

Souliss offers a simplified set of tools that allows users to build a network of interconnected devices. Potentially, you don’t have to write any code. You just choose what, which, and how many devices for your internet-connected things. Then you select the proper APIs and compile. The focal idea is that your IoT should be scalable and will not rest on a single architecture. In other words, it has to be robust. For instance, communication between nodes and users need not be cloud-based. This improves reliability in case of a missing connection. Yet an individual should be able to join the cloud for functionality that he or she cannot get easily in a local network, like acting based on the weather forecast. 

Devices that run the Souliss framework can communicate directly via peer-to-peer. There is no central node or cloud service that coordinates them.  The logic driving objects is executed locally. Meaning, networking is an opportunity, but it certainly isn’t mandatory.

A Souliss example

The simplest Souliss configuration includes just two nodes, a bridge node and a peer node. The illustration below is an example of controlling a garage door:

Souliss WirelessMyGarage - Open and Close the garage door from the wall switch or the Android app

Users and Souliss

The direct interaction between the nodes is a fundamental part of the Souliss framework. But all items in the Internet of Things has to eventually be able to be controlled by a person. The Souliss team provided for this by designing an Android application that behaves as a node.

The app gets data and interacts directly with other nodes, using the same data protocol without needing to request additional devices in the middle. There is one node, called a gateway, which in the course of performing control of its own devices, collects data from all other nodes in the network. The gateway makes data available to user interfaces, including Android, Modbus or JSON. You can move functionality over nodes as you like, shifting from distributed to centralized paradigms, all without having to configure anything other than node addresses and controlled appliances.

What you can expect

Without an open standard your disparate devices have no interaction. Souliss may drive a different solution. Consider an electric coffee machine. The coffee making is handled by a microcontroller. Now consider using a microcontroller with a built-in transceiver, like the Atmel Atmega128RFA1 or Atmega256RFR2. The PCB assembly cost and part count is the same. The incremental cost for the transceiver is not large. However, a microcontroller combined with a functional RF transceiver can have a disruptive effect.

The coffee machine’s closed firmware can now interact with an open ecosystem. This will turn it into an innovative node in the Internet of Things, giving it interaction and additional distributed intelligence. You can create an entire new layer of distributed access and event triggers that can be based on other devices designed to act on opportunities.  In such a scenario, every device can become a Souliss node. As a node, its methodology and connective state can be communicated with other devices or items.

Where Souliss is now

Souliss is a night-job, a Maker’s adventure, developed for the sheer joy of the technology. It is a harmonious way to propose an idea and a vision to the community and to contribute in the scope of the Internet of Things. We love, share, and enjoy Souliss with a community spirit infused with transparency. We invite others with this passion and spirit to help in its evolution. We continue to have passion for the Internet of Things, along with others whom we work and collaborate with. Evolve, crowd-source, and most importantly, keep it open. Souliss will never look completed to our eyes.  Instead, we see it as a digital connective sculpture. It communicates to existing electronic ecosystems such as home automation, home entertainment, industrial automation, medical, mobile to mobile, and others. Yet you can build it as a digital canvas of eventful nodes.

Stay tuned for our next blog piece…