Cloud computing is arguably the most significant, disruptive, and game changing, innovation to emerge in a long time. In many ways, it represents the most prominent way that people participate in online interaction and idea sharing. It is the primary facilitator that enables countless people to access, add to, and benefit from, what Clay Shirky refers to as “cognitive surplus”. Shirky’s book is about the impact of social media in a “connected age.” In this post I am going to list 10 of the most significant ways that the cloud is changing people’s lives and the direction that society is moving.
1. New Forms of Collaboration
Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler has coined the term “Commons-based peer production” which explains the new model of “socio-economic production”. It is also referred as “crowdsourcing”, in which the creative energy of large numbers of participants is coordinated and harnessed to collaborate in a virtually unlimited number of projects. This collaborative process can involve a massive number of participants, often working without financial compensation. This new form of collaboration is made possible by the internet and cloud computing, and it is rapidly changing our world.
2. Computers and Software are Becoming Invisible
One of the outgrowths of cloud computing is VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) which enables businesses to store and manage all of their data files from a central virtual location. Such an infrastructure hosts desktop environments on a remote server and allows users to access it from any location using a remote display protocol. Since the software and other major utilities are no longer on the physical hard drive of the physical device, computers and software are now becoming invisible to the end user. This is drastically changing the way companies do business. It is lowering costs and providing greater security. VDI is also making its way into the lives of regular consumers. This is greatly reducing the amount of technical problems and upkeep that people are having with their devices.
3. Real Time Retail Inventory Verification
When we think of the internet and shopping we usually think of online shopping. Interestingly, the cloud has even changed the relationship of brick and mortar retailers with their customers. The cloud is increasingly making web-to-store shopping more convenient to consumers by giving them access to real time inventory listings. This reduces the frustration of showing up at a retail location only to find that the desired item is not currently in stock.
4. Virtual Health Care
Home health monitoring is going to be a huge explosive area of growth which is facilitated by the cloud. In the future, health care practitioners will be able to wirelessly monitor patients that have a variety of conditions, including sleep apnea. After monitoring the situation virtually, they will be able to collect the data and then access a huge number of experts to cumulatively devise the best treatment protocol. The cloud is going to help make home health care more cost effective and significantly more effective.
5. Businesses Offer a Greater Selection of Products
A greater selection of products will be made possible by the ability for companies to find, manage relationships, and refine ordering protocols with a greater number of suppliers. The cloud will deliver much greater efficiency and flexibility and will enable small businesses to handle a much greater number of relationships with suppliers. This will benefit the consumer.
6. Greater Laptop Security
Although laptops are mobile and convenient, they pose a real threat when they are stolen. Many people with traditional computers have sensitive information on their hard drives which can get into the hands of the wrong people. The cloud enables the information to be stored virtually, protecting the user.
7. Rapid Growth of New Start Ups
Many new business startups are leveraging the cloud to grow faster by reducing their startup time. They accomplish this be using managed service providers through the cloud rather than building their own infrastructure. This enables them to do in a matter of days, what would normally take months or longer.
8. Information on Demand
The amazing thing about the cloud is that it can convert any mobile device into a supercomputer with a massive amount of computing power. This enables consumers to access any kind and any amount of information on demand. Consumers will be better informed on everything from grocery purchases to stock market decisions.
9. No Need for Dear Abby
The cloud is moving information and advice faster than ever before. Cloud based services enable people to get the advice of thousands of people within seconds. The cloud is also putting competitive pressure on businesses to become more consultative in their selling practices and providing helpful information to establish long term relationships.
10. A Generation of Gamers
Gaming has been referred to as the “killer App” of the cloud computing industry. Since the cloud provides increased speed without any interruption, mobile gaming can take place now where it couldn’t a matter of years ago. These ten areas represent ways that the cloud is changing our lives.
How has the cloud changed your life? Share your thoughts below.
Jared Jacobs has professional and personal interests in everything technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest trends and breakthroughs in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. In his spare time he is tinkering with sound systems and other awesome gadgets he can get his hands on. He's also a big Rockets and Texans fan.