The Rise of Cloud Computing
The entry of technology giant Apple into the Cloud computing market has created a great deal of publicity around the new technology and focussed attention of the next generation of personal computing.
Cloud computing is essentially storage and data access services provided by companies to enable consumers to access data via the internet through various devices. ‘The cloud’ stores data such as photos, music or applications that can then be used on-demand by users. The advantages are seen as allowing users to access data through multiple formats at any location with internet access, and as providing a back up service or a way to store large amounts of data without clogging up the limited space of a laptop or personal computer.
Though cloud computing has been used in various ways for a number of years (Dropbox, Flickr, Photobucket), the release of three cloud systems this year – Google Music, Amazon Cloud Player and Apple’s iCloud – is suggested by many as signalling the next step in the evolution of personal and professional computing services.
The three major systems released this year have initially been designed for the remote storage and access to music. Steve Jobs, the Chief Executive of Apple, said in a conference speech during which he announced the Apple’s latest technological release, that users would be able to access their iTunes music anywhere and the iCloud would be “important for those people who want to be PC free”, with the implication being that computing is moving towards a more flexible structure, with users able to use smartphones and tablet computer for almost all personal and professional computing tasks. The development of smartphones and tablet computers over recent years has seen two major developments in consumer and professional consumption.
Firstly, there has been a rush of development across a wide range of firms to produce software compatible with these devices to establish early footholds in the market. Companies producing language courses, media companies, publishers and many more have sought to provide software that fits with on-demand, convenient consumption model provided by tablets.
In a professional environment, the ability to conduct business over such devices, unrestricted by cumbersome and fixed hardware, has increased rapidly via smartphone access to email and development of corporate applications such as salesforce.com.
Improving flexibility of computing technology in personal and professional environments has considerable implications for the speed at which business is done. Its ever increasing international nature, especially with increasing standardization of global access through cloud systems, also places great emphasis on the efficiency of producing multi-national and multi-platform software systems.
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