It seem like over the past couple of years the term cloud has found itself as the center of attention after a long spell of being of interest to only meteorologists and folks with nothing important to talk about.
Of course, this is because over the past few years “Cloud” as a means of computing has piqued the interest of so many from tech savvy consumers to enterprise CIO’s.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Cloud Computing is that it isn’t new. In fact, the earliest attribution of cloud computing goes back to the 1960’s and a little known man name Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider who is believed to be its inventor. However, it really wasn’t until the mid 2000’s when Amazon launched its storage cloud that cloud computing started gaining wide acceptance among technologists and really until the past 2 or 3 years with the growth of Apple iCloud that the adoption grew rapidly among consumers.
While the origins, adoption and acceptance can be debated, one thing that cannot is the amount of impact cloud is starting to have on our lives and the way we communicate.
It Seems Like Everyone Uses Cloud
Does anyone remember when email seemed like the second mailbox? It was by no means an everyday part of our lives and the process of exchanging email was still pretty cumbersome. With storage at a premium and transfer rates slower than molasses, email was limited mainly to simple text communication.
How about now, though? Is email still your second box? As a professional or even in your personal life, do you spend a lot of time in your inbox? Given that over 200 million emails are sent per minute, it would seem pretty likely that email has become our first means of written correspondence. What is more interesting is that the cloud is what made this possible.
For businesses, the use of an email client and server was the early deployment of private cloud and for the average consumer, thinking back to your days of Prodigy, AOl or Hotmail accounts; all of those were driven by the cloud. Those were just early iterations of private/public clouds, but nonetheless it was a very good indication of things to come.
Cloud Spreads Its Wings For Productivity, Applications and Communication
Today, cloud is a widespread means for all types of business and personal productivity tools.
Many of the leading business tools such as accounting packages, CRM systems, VoIP and ERP platforms all ride on the back of cloud computing. These tools, which drive the entire business ecosystem, are often hosted thousands of miles away from where they are being used.
This trend of hosting our most important applications extends straight into our personal computing habits. Our social networks like Facebook and Twitter are both accessed in the cloud. Many of our important documents are sitting in Dropbox folders or Google Drive accounts, both built on cloud. For many of us our favorite games or lifestyle management tools for health, diet and entertainment are all cloud driven. Heck, even our music is now powered by cloud applications such as Spotify, Pandora or iTunes Radio.
As more and more technology can continuously be crammed into smaller and smaller products, the cloud will continue to play a bigger and bigger part in all that we do.
Storage will find itself more and more removed from the device as thin clients and ubiquitous Internet access give us endless accessibility to our information from anywhere we are.
Applications will become more robust and more evolutionary as changes can be made with minimal disruption while always offering users availability and improved experience.
Communication will continue to evolve at breakneck speed with large files, videos and documents being available for on demand delivery and consumption. Today we can capture, transform and stream video to a mobile device anywhere in the world in seconds. Basically making any business or individual with a camera a media outlet, all because of the cloud.
A buzzword perhaps, and most certainly an idea that gets no shortage of attention, the cloud and what it offers to businesses and consumers is going to continue to shift the ever changing landscape of how we communicate. It has certainly disrupted my life. Question is, how has it disrupted yours?
This article first appeared on Forbes and can be found here. Images: Creative Commons Via Flickr