Network latency is a major concern for many cloud-based apps, and that problem doesn’t just apply to productivity tools. Challenges with latency have led to a major design change in the Xbox One version of the SmartGlass mobile companion application.
Over the weekend, Microsoft announced additional details of how SmartGlass would work with the Xbox One (which is due to hit stores 22 November. The detail which particularly struck us was the change to how information is transmitted to and from SmartGlass:
With Xbox 360, SmartGlass had to talk to a datacenter that could be halfway around the world, and the datacenter then relayed commands to your Xbox. That connection from your SmartGlass device to a datacenter and then to your Xbox required extra time to execute. Now, SmartGlass talks directly to your Xbox One over your Wi-Fi or LAN network.
That change has several benefits, including a sharp jump in the number of SmartGlass devices that can connect to a single Xbox, which has risen from four to 16. That said, it's a reminder that in some circumstances, local network access is the most reliable way to share data. With that said, we'll note that people planning to use the Australian Azure data centres which launch next year seem more concerned with geo-redundancy than latency.