The classic cloud model for virtually lifting your physical hardware to the Cloud is well known and used today. The flexibility of infrastructure is such that the hardware capacity and therefore the costs can be planned in relation to the application usage and the required availability.
The RecoMatics EasyForm Capture solution is a good example: almost exclusively used as an automation application, it only needs to be available during office hours. This is only 25% of the calendar week, so why should you pay for the remaining 75%?
Web or 'fat client' desktop applications, it doesn't matter. Virtualized desktop applications look and behave like locally installed applications, but without the installation hassle. Azure Windows Virtual Desktop is one of the latest evolutions in this respect.
Our customers and RecoMatics use these Microsoft Azure Cloud capabilities to bring the EasyForm solutions, including the customer's specific adaptations and integrations in the cloud world of tomorrow, delivering optimal cost and scalability to every PC.
Cloud is not the new kid in town, it re-defines the town itself. It brings new challenges, new opportunities and new possibilities!
Cloud has enabled the enormous transition to Software as a Service (SaaS) over the past decade and is embraced by all major software companies today. Microsoft with Office 365, Dynamics platform, SAP with the SAP S/4HANA cloud service, ... .
These are strong indicators of how mature and reliable the entire cloud and the SaaS model have become. The enormous focus of these players on security and all kinds of smart insights around it makes these complex and smart security layers very difficult to copy on your own infrastructure.
RecoMatics uses these technologies to deliver smart document processing as part of day-to-day business applications such as Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint and Teams.
Cloud brought the online REST service as an alternative to licensing an SDK. Let's take OCR as a relevant RecoMatics example to compare both options. With the SDK option you give the local OCR engine a local image file and you get a txt file back (in reality this all happens in memory of course). The online service option provides a website where you can upload your image and get a txt download as a result. The result is the same but the path to get there is different.
With the consumerization of Artificial Intelligence a variety of online REST services are born with user-friendly applications to upload, train, monitor and optimize the results. A good example is Azure Custom Vision service. This is a great web application to label and train your sample set and once the online REST service is used, production samples are added to relabel and retrain the model to increase accuracy.
Depending on the recognition and automation challenges, RecoMatics uses such specific online trained models, sometimes integrated in our EasyForm platform, to deliver "beyond standard" solutions for our customers.
The pace of change across the entire cloud ecosystem is fast, very fast, and is changing the way applications and services are designed at the core to be cloud native. It brings new challenges, but above all new opportunities and new possibilities within reach.
One of these challenges is scalability: how to ensure productivity and user satisfaction at peak loads but also lower costs at low usage? You could call it "instant scalability and pay-as-you-use".
Developments in serverless computing such as Azure Functions makes this a reality today. Microsoft as cloud service provider takes care of the complexity of the underlying cloud infrastructure to deliver you an easy to use services platform which scales up and down in sync with the requests it needs to process.