In case you hadn’t noticed, you’re currently living in the age of cloud computing. This technology, which will form the bedrock of communication and information systems for decades to come, has been around for a few years under different guises, but is now beginning to transform the ways in which we conduct our lives. It also has the potential to transform the ways in which you work and collaborate with colleagues, allowing you to work remotely on data-intensive projects that would have traditionally required an on-site presence. These same principles are also being used to innovate in all spheres of life. Let’s take a look at just a handful of the ways in which this technology could benefit your working style, and at how the same principles are being applied on a macro-scale to totally reshape society as we know it.
The ability to remotely store and access data from anywhere, on virtually any device, is what has given the cloud most of its recent surge in appeal. While this is mostly being used on the consumer level for the purposes of assuring information is safely backed up, we should remember that it is a resource that means data can be collaboratively edited in real time. Utilities like DropBox and Google Drive have made it possible to simultaneously edit even the most complex technical reports from opposite sides of the world, which is great news for those of you who are unable to schedule meetings because of pressing travel schedules. Data can be updated in real time from any place, resulting in much-needed flexibility in our increasingly globalised world. Innovations – no matter what their source within an organisation – can now quickly be spotted, refined and broadcast to a much wider audience thanks to this creative adaptability. This reduces the length of production cycles and facilitates speedy solutions to problems of all sizes in all technical and creative fields.
As well as allowing you to outsource storage, the cloud means you can also outsource processing power, with extra crunching available from many providers on a “pay-for-what-you-use” model. This is could be great for those smaller business owners who require access to particularly nasty, processor-heavy applications and software. It also removes the need for dedicated server teams, and prevents you from fretting over the maintenance of expensive and finicky technology that you require for occasional use but not on a day-to-day basis. This aspect of cloud technology is useful not only for businesses in the West, but has also been enthusiastically embraced in the Developing World, with many governments taking advantage of these features to conduct previously financially-prohibitive surveying and integration techniques.
One particular area where cloud computing has been employed to astonishing effect is that of disease research, control and prevention. In the developing world, the cloud is now frequently employed to provide instantly accessible databases of treatments and prevention tips for those in more remote areas. The prevalence of free tools like Dropbox and the like has allowed for rapid advancements in the field of Aids research, as this article shows. Experts are able to freely and quickly communicate with each other over a variety of devices to rapidly compare and unify their findings.
This ease of collaboration has even improved the ways in which individuals communicate: we now habitually share notes on the nature of the technologies we have been using to keep in touch with each other. This change in communication promises exponential growth in the ability of different special interest groups to make their voices heard, or to work together on very low budgets to achieve truly remarkable goals. No matter what your job, industry, or lifestyle, the cloud can benefit you at some level, and the beauty of the system is that even if you know nothing about how to bend the cloud to your will, it will be more than happy to show you how!