This post is part of a series – 14 Business and Technology Trends to Look for in 2014.
Non-techie friends will understand the concept of cloud storage and the benefits of keeping their digital data in the cloud.
I’m not suggesting that the general population will suddenly understand public and private clouds, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Heroku, virtual machines, Infrastructure as a Service, or Composable Enterprises. What I am predicting is that your non-tech friends (i.e., brother-in-law, your mother and father, and possibly even your grandfather) will understand the concept of cloud storage (using the Internet to store, manage and process data) and the benefits of keeping all their digital data (documents, music, photos, contacts, calendar entries, notes and things to do) in the cloud. The benefits of being able to access all your information via any and all devices is simply too great to ignore. I challenge you to find one person who has done the work to move their world into the cloud that does not think that is simply the smartest thing they’ve done (see comments on syncing below). A number of contributing factors are driving the cloud trend:
- Ubiquity of network access – Wifi is everywhere.
- Proliferation of devices / per person (work machine, home machine, smartphone, tablet, game console, etc.) – With the advancement of new technology, the majority of people own or work from multiple devices.
- Declining price of devices, including all manners of smartphones – “Selling prices for handsets are forecast to decline between now and 2017, falling on average 7 percent each year.”
- Synching multiple apps is often painful and difficult to configure – For example, I tried synching my Google Calendar with iCal (Apple’s calendar app) and the process was far from seamless – some events were synched twice, information was missing, etc.
- The younger generation is completely comfortable with this cloud-based approach – Try to get your teen or twenty something to set up a device backup for anything!
- The travel-lite desire – I personally like to roll only with my tablet.
But what’s the number one reason this trend will make itself known in 2014? The technology to move your digital possessions into the cloud is easy to use and affordable. I believe the trend is driven largely by Google – they understand the importance of the cloud whereby multiple channels, social tools, user accounts and viewing habits get aggregated into one universe – to the benefit of both the consumer and the advertiser. Google’s focus on building cloud-only architected apps form the very beginning is changing the way all applications and services are conceived. My cloud locker of choice is Google Drive for documents, Google Play for music, as well as Gmail and Google Calendar (cost is $4.99/month for 100 Gig of storage). Google has very nice apps for Google Drive that make accessing all your documents from a tablet, smartphone or desktop a breeze. Other vendors are making huge investments as well. Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are realizing that the less the content is tied to one device, the more scalable it becomes. Finally, and this may be my 2015 trend, look for an explosion of applications that process your personal “foo” in the cloud. Examples include indexing your documents, cleaning up the metadata on your music, organizing your photos, offering you financial advice, and of course, building an amazing profile on you to enable the laser-focused targeting of appropriate ads.
Mike Brannan is responsible for building Centric’s Technology Service Line and its associated offerings across Centric. He has more than 20 years of diverse technical management experience in design and delivery of scalable and complex software. Mike also develops and oversees all technology practices and is working to grow Centric’s rippleware Product Development Studio. Contact Mike to learn more.
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