Data storage, file sharing, word processing: tasks relegated to the domain of the personal computer. No longer! More and more, our digital lives are stored in the “cloud,” massive remote servers that allow access to files and data from any location. It has even been proposed that, by 2014, personal cloud solutions will overtake the personal computer (PC) as the world’s most used digital application. Personal cloud solutions could quite literally change the way the world works.
Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, Inc. notes that the current trends in client computing have had a significant impact on the transition to this technology. The benefit of these changing trends and how they affect personal computers has been subject to discussion, however, the user’s progression from PC to mobile device has already proven the worth of the personal cloud. Studies show that cloud services will play a key role towards connecting users and their devices as they go about their daily lives. And it could be green too!
The biggest question about personal cloud solutions concerns storage capacity. The huge amounts of data to be stored in the cloud will require better and more secure storage, forcing companies to explore various options as the technology grows. Cloud service providers are addressing these problems every day.
There are various factors (or megatrends) from the last ten years that have led to the current cloud technology. In order to understand the impact the cloud will have on people’s lives, each must be considered. These megatrends can also help to foresee the future of personal cloud solutions.
The first megatrend focuses on consumerization – consumers have become technologically knowledgeable and expect more each day. The Internet, affordable multi-functional handheld devices, and social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) have empowered consumers. As they demand better technology, companies must meet their needs. For example, a consumer carrying a smart phone but not a laptop may want to view the document he’s working on. Before the cloud he was out of luck. But his desire to access data from his device pushed companies to develop the cloud.
The second and third megatrends are virtualization and applications. Through their connection to the cloud, lower power devices can process data in the same way as a more specialized machine. Additionally, lower powered devices have been made to work under higher processing outputs, and in return increase processor performance. The move from desktop applications to mobile apps is also significant. The mobility of an app allows it to be used across multiple platforms and in multiple ways. These changes will impact the market place, in both small or large user bases.
The fourth and fifth megatrends are storage and portability. As our computing and digital life moves away from the traditional PC and towards devices like smartphones and tablets, the cloud’s benefits are plain. The use of portable “smart” devices with the personal cloud solution allows you to complete almost any computing task anywhere you go. You no longer need a PC in order to access your email or download data attached to it. Your important files can be stored in the cloud with a file sharing service, and are available to you whenever you need them. By storing and working from the cloud, you have freed up memory on your device, and both business and personal information can be at your fingertips at any time.
Personal Cloud Solutions
Personal cloud technology is the future of personal computing, affecting the day-to-day activities of businesses and individual consumers alike. While storing and accessing data from a remote cloud server presents challenges in security, reliability, and accessibility, personal cloud solutions have already become an important part of digital life. As consumers turn from personal computers to hand-held devices such as smart phones and tablets, the cloud allows increased functionality in these lower powered devices, frees up memory in computers and devices, and presents users with data, files, and documents at the tip of their fingers and the click of a button. Just think of the possibilities!