Recently, Deloitte’s research chairman, John Hagel went on the record on cloud computing. He said that it had the potential to change all of our lives. And its effects would ripple through almost every aspect of our lives. That distributed computing could do so much in such a short period of time is exciting. And it bodes well for a future of a more connected and user-friendly world. Here’s where he says we’re likely to see the most profound changes.
Everyone Will Be A Gamer
At the moment, most people don’t want to invest thousands of dollars into a top of the range gaming PC. It’s too much of an investment for too small a return. Most people aren’t hardcore gamers who do 36-hour stints on World of Warcraft. They’re casual players who like to dip in and out of Angry Birds. At the moment, the fidelity of most casual games are limited by the processing power of mobile devices. That’s why Candy Crush is the most popular game on mobile, not Crysis 3.
But cloud computing offers a solution to this bottleneck, says Hagel. Cloud computing allows computers to share resources. Phone processors are quite puny compared to, say, a modern supercomputer. And so it makes a lot more sense for phones to outsource the processing power of applications like games. Using the cloud, games can be rendered remotely. And then the image can be transmitted to the user’s phone in real time. This, in turn, means that users don’t have to spend a fortune if they want to play the latest games. They just sign up to a service, like Netflix, and then game through that.
Smartphone Storage Won’t Be A Limiting Factor
In today’s smartphone market, storage is a big issue. Recently, users complained that some models of the new iPhone only came with 16GB memory. For today’s data gluttons, that just isn’t enough.
But Apple had its reasons. In 2016, it’s reasonable for Apple to expect its customers to make use of the cloud for storage. After all, there are now dozens of companies that offer free cloud storage. When the market finally catches up, it’ll be a game-changer for mobile phones. Hagel says that the cloud will allow phones to overcome some of their age-old limitations. Users won’t store photos and videos on their devices. Instead, they’ll be stowed away more cheaply in huge data racks in a data centre somewhere. And what’s more, hardly a soul will notice.
We’ll All Start Bootstrapping
Bootstrapping used to be a term that only found airtime in the most radical of entrepreneurial circles. But today, the term has almost gone mainstream. And it’s all because of the cloud. The applications of the cloud to business are almost limitless. But the most important application seems to be that it’s a great tool for collaborating on, and testing, products. Hagel argues that the cloud is accelerating the pace of entrepreneurs. It’s allowing new companies to do the sort of modelling that only large corporations could do in the past. And that, he says, changes the nature of innovation.
Fewer Language Barriers
The universal translator has been a dream ever since the original Star Trek series aired back in the 1970s. But thanks to the cloud, universal translators are now a distinct possibility. Again, it all comes down to the cloud’s ability to increase processing power. Today’s mobile devices, though powerful, aren’t powerful enough to translate languages in real time. To do that, you need something that’s really quite advanced. But, just as with gaming, language translators will be hooked up to the cloud. And when they are, they can use its massive resources to get the job done quickly. Hagel says that the opportunities for businesses are impressive. There’s no need to hire an intermediary anymore. You can simply speak to suppliers halfway around the world yourself.
At the moment, the technology is limited by the speed of the internet connection. Slow connections will increase the time it takes to communicate with cloud resources. But companies with fast connections are already benefiting from real-time translation today.
You’ll Make Better Decisions
One could argue that today’s smartphones are intelligence-enhancing devices. If you need to find something out during a conversation, you can just hop on Google and look for an answer. But the cloud promises much more than mere search to augment our intelligence. By turning our smartphones into supercomputers, the cloud allows all of us to analyze data more deeply. For instance, users might be able to call on the cloud to analyze patterns in stock market data and make better trades.