When it was first introduced into public servers, the cloud was a mysterious entity that confused the general public, but it did not take long for people to see its advantages. Cloud storage and computing has made significant changes to the way people use their computing devices and the way companies do business. One question that resonates among all types of professional and lay cloud users is, “What is next in the evolution of the cloud and how will it affect society?”
Effects From the Cloud
The cloud is much more than just a place to store and access data, it is an opportunity for growth in the IT world, especially as people begin to understand the benefits of mobile business. There are all sorts of beneficial and perhaps unanticipated side-effects from this data storage and connectivity system:
1. Instant Access to Company Data From Anywhere
Companies are always trying to figure out more cost effective ways to do their work, and the cloud has made it feasible to work from almost anywhere that there is an internet connection. Working from a home office rather than a large corporate building saves millions of dollars worldwide in overhead costs. It also allows employees to set their own pace and often motivates people to increase their own leisure time by performing their work more efficiently. Without the cloud, the only companies that could allow this sort of work model were those that could afford multi-million dollar servers and IT departments.
2. Connecting More of the World’s Devices
It is estimated that in the year 2000, 200 million individual devices were connected to the internet. This may seem like a large number, except when you take into account the number of people in the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 300 million individuals, making that small number of internet compatible devices small. Now, there are an estimated 10 billion devices that are connected to the internet. When all of these devices can connect to a data storage and sharing system, like the cloud, there is that much more opportunity for world-wide growth and potential innovation.
3. The Changing Landscape of Business
With superior data up- and downloading capabilities, the cloud has made it possible to purchase files on-the-go. From a sales perspective, this ability to tap into the impulses of the market is a game changer. It is more important now than ever before to connect with the mobile generation and provide ways to download content quickly. The expanding functions of the cloud are how this is happening today.
How Far Can Web Technology Go?
An amusing anecdote, especially to people who have grown up in the last few decades, is that of the patent official who stated that “everything that can be invented, has been invented.” This was said in 1899 which makes it even more amusing considering the gigantic leaps in technology that the planet has seen since. It is important to remember this little lesson in predicting the future when asking if web technology has gone as far as it will go. The answer is a resounding, yes, it can go further! The specifics to what the future will bring, however, are much more elusive.
Possible Improvements Made to Future Cloud Computing Models
Since the cloud has been so wildly successful and has been integrated into numerous business models and services, IT engineers and designers are certainly figuring out ways to improve its systems. Some improvements have to do with modern usage, while others hope to break into new ground:
- Increasing Security – One of the biggest concerns with public cloud usage is security. As more people begin sharing information, what is to prevent other people from accessing private information? This is a question that most businesses and individuals take seriously, and cloud designers are trying to improve the current security options for future cloud use. One of the most interesting ways to make security a non-issue is with hybrid configurations, combining a physical server with a private cloud model for specific use only.
- Introducing cloud compatible CAD programs – Computer Aided Design, or CAD, is essential to countless industries and companies that produce designs or products. Unfortunately, CAD files are often so huge that they are not compatible with most mobile devices, but changes to the way CAD interacts with the cloud is hoping to change this, making it possible to work on-site or at the client’s location.
- Cloud-based businesses—Outservicing – Most people have heard of outsourcing, but the cloud is starting to make something called outservicing possible. There are a few aspects of company work that is not unique to individual businesses; most notably this includes Human Resources. By outservicing HR data to cloud-based companies, there is a better chance for small companies getting first-rate HR services for more affordable prices.
- Applications – With smart phones and tablets, applications are where the action and the money are. Changing the way apps interact with the cloud is something that many vendors have been taking a good look into and the next generation of cloud-based apps is likely to arrive soon.
- Cloud sensor spots – In an increasingly digital world, some companies are trying to bring back a measure of personal communication. A cool idea is a cloud sensor spot that interacts with a mobile device in cool and exciting ways, giving passersby an opportunity to take advantage of a special deal or to learn more about a product or service. These spots would work in a similar way to WiFi, but with custom content uploaded by the owner of the cloud-spot.
What Will Cause People Change?
As amazing as the cloud is, it is likely not the end-all of web connectively solutions. However, until something even more effective is invented, and then implemented on a large scale, the cloud will likely continue to be a major focus for vendors, large and small businesses, and the general public. The more people who experiment and share their ideas through data storage systems like the cloud, the faster technology will progress. The hardest part of the entire process will be waiting for the new inventions to be brought forth. Stay connected through the web and the cloud, and you will see the newest and most exciting innovations to come and maybe even submit a few ideas yourself to the world-wide community of IT professionals and enthusiasts.
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