Your Cloudy Future Part I – Cloud Basics

Cloud computing is defined on Wiki as “the use of computing resources that are delivered as a service”.  Computing resources that are provided as a service (think renting instead of buying) are applications, network and storage platforms, security services, test environments, etc.  In fact, most of your interactions with computers today can and will be provided as services.

Computing as a service is interesting, it’s great for business, but what will it mean to me and why is it such a BIG deal?

Services being developed for the cloud are inherently built to communicate, interconnect and share.  Your data, all your data, will be interconnected and usable at all times.  This data will include your personally generated data (files, music, photos, etc.), plus all the data that companies hold for you (what you purchased, bank info, Facebook, all the companies you have account with, etc.) and all the data your devices will soon be generating (car, house, etc.).

I know the first thing you think is SECURITY!  Who will have access and will it really be secure?  For this article I’m going to ask you to assume it IS secure and the only people/companies getting access to your data are the ones you want getting access.  I know that is a big leap but let’s save security for another post.  In fact, if there is a cloud security guru out there who would like to share a post, I would be happy to put it on MySurmise.

Cloud Storage

For most of us our personally accumulated data (PAD) is stored in a number of places.  You have data on your desktop (if you have one), your laptop, and your smartphone.  You may also have stored data on a backup drive, some thumb drives, a couple of MP3 players.  Heck, if you are old (like me), you may still have CDs.  And, what about all the DVD you own?  It all digital data and most of it is not shared between your devices.  In the near future, all PAD and more will be on the cloud and shared between all your devices.

But the cloud is more than just storage services.  What about computing services?  Most of us use some form of these services today.  Emails, Facebook, Twitter, online banking are all examples of cloud services.  You have accounts, you have personalization on these site.  These service providers store your data and the application they have developed perform processing services on your behalf.

Siri, Apple’s voice response app, is a good example of an innovative cloud service.  You talk to Siri, Apple takes your voice data and processes it.  Then Siri responds with the answer.  All very innovative.  Here is a surmise for you.  What will Siri be like when it stores your previous questions and starts responding based on previous “conversations”?  Siri will get to “know” you!

Your Devices will Just be Platforms

Desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablets, soon your car and many of your other possessions will all “connected devices”.  If you’ve been paying attention in the past few years, you will have noticed great effort has been expended to meld your computing across these devices.  Just ask Facebook how hard they have been working to mobilize your experience.

While today you think of these devices as separate and you enjoy the fact that you can access some applications across these platforms, in the future you will see these devices only as platforms.  You will expect to access your data and applications across all your platforms.  For example, what good is a car that can’t read your email to you on the way to work? Your devices will be what techies call “form factors”.  You probably won’t do a lot of word processing on your phone (hint – I’m not writing this on my phone), but you will be able to pull up the file and make last minute changes.

I would urge everyone to dip their toes into these waters today.  Get your head into the clouds.  You can do quite of bit with storage.  Try putting some files on services such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google’s Drive, Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox or others.  You will quickly learn just how handy it is to have your files more accessible across your devices.

But we have really only talked about the cloud of today.  The interesting part comes from really opening up the mind and thinking how this will evolve into the future.  Some of the innovations will be absolutely astounding and maybe a little scary.

Look for my next post – Your Cloudy Future Part II  (coming soon)

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