So do you use the cloud? Most people’s first reaction is no.
But let's ask you another question... Do you make use of Internet Banking or do you Dropbox? Yes? Then you are in the cloud!
Owing to its widespread use, online banking serves as a great example to explain the evolution of cloud computing and the progression most of us make towards using the cloud as a de facto standard for service consumption. Let’s take a closer look.
The Backdrop: Online Banking
When last did you venture into a branch of your bank? Answering that will likely require a bit of head-scratching, because it is typically not very often. For many of us, it is a forgotten era where large buildings housed row upon row of tellers, who would greet you by your first name and stamp your little leather-bound savings booklet with every transaction.
Today, instead of reaching for your car keys as the first step of a financial transaction, you reach for the keyboard or phone.
This is pretty much what cloud computing has done for general business. Would you prefer to hop in your car to drive to a physical environment to have a meeting, collect data or information, fulfil a simple transaction – or is it more effective to do it from your desk?
That’s the essence of what the cloud is all about. It gives you time back. It encourages productivity, speed of delivery and customer service efficiencies never before seen.
Online banking stripped away the physical layers with which we were comfortable and gave us options. It wasn’t an either or – but through its progression and now maturity, we have all become comfortable with it and now, to a large extent, most of us prefer it.
Taking things a step further, consider an enterprise context with cloud computing as the delivery of computing resources as a service: the benefits which can be enjoyed by one individual are magnified by scale. What resources? Applications, platforms, infrastructure, storage, databases, security and more can all be delivered via the ‘as-a-Service’ model.
Where does the cloud touch you and where do you touch the cloud?
There is an abundance of examples of cloud services which many of us use today without a second thought. Just some of them include:
With Apple Music, there’s no longer any need to buy music. A monthly subscription means the music you like is streamed to your devices whenever and wherever desired.
Use Dropbox to store files and access them from any device, anywhere there is a connection.
Use of Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, update them on day-to-day activities and, more importantly, to keep tabs on what they are up to.
No need for photo albums any longer. Use of Flickr and sometimes even Facebook to store digital photo memories from smartphones or other devices.
Out goes the dedicated GPS device. A smartphone with Google Maps helps plan routes, avoid traffic and even select public transport options in my area. Because it is delivered as a service, Google Maps is constantly updated – no need to periodically pay for, download and install new maps.
Love to read? Download favourite books onto a Kindle (or the Kindle smartphone app) and forget about lugging around large paperbacks and other volumes
Connect to work documents on SkyDrive using phone, tablet or laptop and enjoy the benefit of being mobile and engaged no matter where (or when).
Got hobbies? Keep track of interests on Pinterest. Pin and share ideas with a network of likeminded people around the globe.
Love staying in touch with your family overseas, but hate expensive calls? Skype has revolutionised telecoms and you can see, talk and even instant message all through the day at low or no cost.
Use Twitter to stay up to date with news and events that are of interest. Follow #hashtags that are of importance to keep up to speed with the state of play.
No car? No problem! Use UBER to get around.
Traffic a nightmare? Proactively tell friends and family to take alternative routes using the crowd sourced power of Waze which lets you know exactly what the traffic situation is.
If solitarily playing games is dull, XBOX Live changes it up. Chat to friends while they play from the comfort of their couch, stream new games and even join clans and groups from all over the world.