As the Cloud gains momentum in consumer consciousness, we look at five top trends set to rock the foundations of cyberspace in 2012.
A recent poll by research firm Gartner revealed that worldwide Cloud adoption is growing at an annual rate of around 17 percent while industry surveys show 50 percent or more of organisations polled have implemented some form of cloud computing.
So now we have dipped our toes in the proverbial waters, what’s next for the Cloud?
1. The growth of mobile Cloud
As soon as Apple lays claim to something, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get consumers’ thumbs up, and this is certainly the case with the latest move in Cloud computing. With iCloud going live this autumn, and Microsoft’s Windows 7 bringing the Cloud to the masses, the average Joe is beginning to understand the concept and embrace it. Not only do a greater number of the public now operate their social and professional lives via mobile devices and tablet PCs this is only going to speed up the assimilation of the mobile Cloud and of course the demand for faster, more user friendly and storage happy applications – something the Cloud can deliver on in bucket loads.
2. The evolution of Cloud security
This is always going to be a hot topic, and is one of the major reasons that organisations with sensitive data are reluctant to fully embrace the benefits of the Cloud. However, this is one area of development that is accelerating at breakneck speed so much so that the Obama administration delivered a Federal Cloud Computing Strategy report identifying $20bn in spending (one quarter of the government’s total IT budget) that could be moved to the cloud. Now that’s confidence. As fast as the hackers are hacking, the developers are creating new security measures and protocols to limit security breaches such as authentication verification. Expect more from this area in the coming months.
3. A mobile-enabled workplace revolution
Much like how email changed the way in which we communicate with our colleagues and customers at work, the Cloud is now facilitating a faster, smoother way to send and store information than ever before. Forerunners in the Cloud world, such as Salesforce, Microsoft and Google were quick to embrace the hunger for email-based platforms which have historically been perceived as mission-critical by organisations. However, now the SaaS delivery model is fast-becoming the email platform of choice.
4. Smart buildings, smart grids, smart everything
IBM recently predicted that there will be 1 trillion devices connected to the internet by 2013. This ‘internet of things’ as it is referred to, will be fronted by the network companies and mobile phone giants and we can expect to see sensor networks, smart grids and smart buildings popping up everywhere. IBM has gone a step further with this and is teaming with the Mediterranean island nation of Malta to build a smart utility system. Plans include 250,000 utility meters with interactive versions that will allow Malta’s electric utility, Enemalta, to monitor electricity use in real-time and set variable rates that reward customers that cut their power consumption.
5. Get your head in the Cloud – it’s going nowhere!
Even those who appear to be against the Cloud amid fears of security issues are inadvertently in the Cloud via their connections with Salesforce.com, OpenAir and other SaaS applications. The reality is the Cloud is everything and everything can be hosted in the Cloud. This isn’t science fiction anymore, this is modern life.