Have you ever imagined playing the role of a spy like James Bond? Any 007 fan knows that saving the day takes more than smarts and agility. It’s the gadgets that make the spy superhuman.

Bond’s gadgets are underpinned by technology like real-time decision making, sensing and automation. They need to work wherever Bond works—and of course that’s places with limited or no connectivity. 

The 007 gadgets are discreet, hiding in plain sight in his watch or pen and so the technology needs to fit within a small space and run on ultra-low power. They support critical missions that are private, highly secure and literal life-or-death scenarios. 

Last but certainly not least, they need to be cost-effective because we know Bond doesn’t take good care of them.

What’s amazing is that Bond’s gadgets can be real today with the Cloud Continuum —specifically with its next-generation capabilities like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, edge, robotics and emerging IT infrastructure. 

Cloud Continuum’s pool of compute resources stretches from the core to the edge and everywhere in between. And that means you can live out your own “license to thrill” with your products and services and how you work and live.

The Continuum… The Cloud Continuum

When I describe my job as Chief Technologist of Accenture Cloud First, I often say that I’m Q, the head of research and development that creates Bond’s gadgets. 

Q anticipates the mission needs and packages game-changing technology into a form that fits the purpose and is easy to use. 

In fact, that’s exactly how I described my role at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show.

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My mission? Use the Cloud Continuum to bring Bond’s gadgets into the real world. 

These two sides of the Continuum are the secret codes:

Cloud is an extension of place. We all know cloud for its on-demand commoditized compute that you can access whenever and at whatever scale you need. But there are new resources on a continuum that go outside the cloud’s core data centers and into the network, the neighborhood, onsite and on devices. 

These new places offer localized resources that are closest to the data source and the point of action. The loop is now closed and we can sense, analyze and act all in real-time. This is what makes your self-driving car, robot-assisted surgery, and your immersive gaming system all possible.

Fancy training AI models in the core to take advantage of compute scale, but running inferencing at the edge to enable immediate actions? No problem! Like Q, the Continuum lets us embed intelligence and automation anywhere and into everyday things and places.

Cloud as an engine of innovation: Thanks to cloud, we can invent something and try it out immediately. That’s because cloud is always available and providers launch new services all the time (like accessing the latest hardware and even quantum computing). 

From an innovation perspective, I’m building on the shoulders of cloud giants. I can use these new building blocks to reimagine the next generation of wellness, work and retail experiences. And like Q, I’m not starting with the core science, but innovating how we apply technology.

Together, these two dimensions of the Cloud Continuum make the real world look a bit more like a Bond movie. Our digital landscape—from our home appliances to our buildings—is smarter and more real-time than ever.

The smart car adapts to the chase

In every Bond movie, there's always the car. It’s sexy in large part because it’s smart and can act on its own to support Bond. 

The Cloud Continuum can make Bond’s car real. Compute in the cloud core powers the creation of AI built with new hardware accelerators that process more data super-fast to optimize the car for speed, traction and durability. It’s at the edge where these models run right on the vehicle. The models apply real-time data generated along the high-speed chase to direct Bond via voice or to trigger the car to reconfigure itself. Seamless connectivity synchronizes the data across core and edge, and even allows Bond to remotely operate the car to get him out of a sticky situation. The Continuum augments the car with intelligence and automation to adapt to whatever Bond needs.

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Bond’s gadgets need to work wherever Bond works—including places with limited or no connectivity. 

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Back in the real world, we are working with automotive equipment manufacturers to create not just a smart car, but a hyper-personalized car using the Cloud Continuum to create ultra-low power voice recognition. 

We're using the cloud core to create the initial AI model and then the edge to personalize it while keeping the data secure. It’s at the edge where the model is trained exactly for each individual. That means it adapts to my voice and its particular lilt as a woman, an Asian woman, an Asian woman from California wearing a mask, and it continues to adapt as my voice changes. The Continuum allows us to get the best model to start with and the ability to continuously refine it for every permutation that’s encountered. 

With the Cloud Continuum, any product can become intelligent thanks to software and frequent updates. The Continuum gives products unparalleled flexibility to be hyper-personalized and evolve thanks to a continuous innovation cycle—no replacement necessary.

The gadgets work together to adapt to the place

When Bond infiltrates the bad guy’s lair, his gadgets help him find what he’s looking for while keeping him safe. 

Cloud Continuum is what’s going to create, maintain and use a digital twin (a digital representation of a physical thing) of the lair to help Bond plan and navigate his missions. It’s not just a static view. The Continuum extends Bond’s human senses, where seamless connectivity feeds data from sensors at the edge. 

Some of this data synchronizes the twin in the core, where processing scales to look for anomalies and patterns in sound and movement. The most important data is processed right at the edge, where it might be helping Bond break the code and unlock a door or controlling a robot to diffuse a bomb. The Continuum maintains a twin of the lair that monitors and even adapts the space to give Bond an advantage in the place.

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Cloud is an extension of place and an engine of innovation.

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And again, let’s go back to reality. We’re working with retailers to help you with your own mission: go to the market, get the things you need and do it all safely and efficiently. We're bringing elements of the digital retail experience into the physical environment. The physical store “knows” your preferences, makes personalized offers and automates your journey to checkout.

How is this all possible? The Cloud Continuum creates a digital twin of the store that’s used to coordinate all the devices: the beacons, cameras, signage or a self-checkout system. All this tech works together to better direct your shopping journey, reminding you of things on your list, delighting you with recommendations and offers. The store itself is better maintained with a twin that automatically monitors if inventory needs to be re-shelved, or if a spill needs to be cleaned. It might even direct a robot to perform some of these tasks.

The Cloud Continuum puts the digital into the physical not just for a product, but for an experience that takes over an entire space. The environment itself adapts and becomes a platform for creating new experiences personalized for the users. 

Connected anywhere to save the day! 

Bond goes everywhere—in the desert, the middle of the ocean or any city—and needs to communicate effectively and securely. The Cloud Continuum supports a future where Bond can deploy a custom high-speed network anywhere he goes to bring the intelligence and automation he needs. He may configure an existing public 5G network in the city or deploy his own in a remote area. He may deploy a drone to add more bandwidth to support, giving headquarters a better view zooming into higher definition 4K video. The Continuum enables rapid deployment of intelligence, allowing Bond to connect his gadgets anywhere.

We've also worked with natural resources companies to extend their reach into the most challenging environments. Wells and pipelines are located in areas that might, at best, have a satellite connection, where only helicopter access is possible because of extremely challenging terrain.

The Cloud Continuum adds intelligence and automation in these places. For example, at the wells, we’re using the Continuum to deploy predictive models developed in the cloud to operate independently at the edge. For the pipelines, we’re deploying a drone to survey and bring back the data we need and then process it in the cloud. We’re deploying private cellular networks at refineries to extend critical connectivity, keep the workers safe and extend operations in previously unreachable areas.

Cloud innovation worthy of a Bond mission

The Cloud Continuum taps into the massive power and scale of compute in the core and offers the option to act anywhere and immediately at the edge. It offers the elastic on-demand scale with new capabilities like ultra-low latency, real-time decision making, personal privacy and security and hyper-personalized experiences. All needed to bring 007 gadgets to life. And if you don’t see yourself playing Bond in real life, you can apply these innovations to customize your customers’ orders in a fast-food restaurant, extend healthcare experience to your patients’ homes or to improve worker safety in your manufacturing plant. 

Teresa Tung

Cloud First Chief Technologist

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