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Cloud computing is not new. Indeed, anyone who first signed up for AOL mail almost two decades ago was working “in the cloud.” Referred to by many names over the years – hosted applications, Web or Internet-based systems, and most recently, Software as a Service – in simple terms, cloud-based systems ate those that are hosted at a remote location (which can be a vendor server, for example) and accessed via the Internet. Generally, users are charged a subscription fee and only pay for the time they are using the application, in the same way that consumers pay for utilities.
Regardless of what we call it, the use of Cloud-based applications – and the subsequent availability of new ones – has increased tremendously over the past couple of years, a result of broadband internet connections now commonplace among most businesses, as well as the emergence of broadband wireless Internet. (last year for example, I replaced my landline broadband cable with a 4G wireless US B modem that is just as fast, except I can take it anywhere.)
And it is this last realm of technology == wireless broadband – that has really secured Cloud-based systems’ place in the IT world. The increased use of mobile technology in the workplace is driving the increased use of Cloud-based systems, as these applications do not need to be stored locally on a user’s mobile device.
Already we’re seeing examples of this as retailers reach into the cloud to pull reports, scan data, or as you’ll see in the Piggly Wiggly story in this newsletter – catch sweethearting deals at the checkout via video.
In fact, it seems the only limitations to cloud-based technology is not from the applications themselves, but rather those posed by our wireless carriers in terms of connectivity – and we all know what a problem that can be!
But that will be the topic of another newsletter….