The Kind of Cloud That Rains Money
My wife’s iPhone started to run out of memory the other day. I suggested to her to turn on iCloud and upload her photos there to free up storage on her phone. Not the most tech-savvy person, she was hesitant at first, but after she saw how seamless the process is and how she can now access her phone photos on an iPad, she now regrets not having done it sooner.
Little things like that are a reminder of the modern conveniences we enjoy today. Indeed, 10 years ago, iCloud didn’t even exist—the initial launch was in October 2011.
iCloud, of course, is just Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) name for its storage and cloud computing service. And cloud computing is the technology that enables users to perform tasks on their Internet-connected devices in a way that lessens the resource strain on said devices.
The cloud is everywhere nowadays and you are probably using it without giving it a second thought. Even if you use an email service provider like Google or Yahoo, for example, you are using the cloud. The above iPhone anecdote is a simple example of how you can save up space on a phone, but it can do a lot more than that.
The key feature of cloud computing is that the bulk of the computing is offloaded to a remote server, which lessens the workload on the user’s device (desktop computer, tablet, mobile phone, etc.).
Imagine you are a manager of a large department and you have to make sure all your employees have the hardware and software they need to do their jobs. In the old days, not only would you need a computer for everyone, but you would need to buy software licenses and install programs on each computer.
Each time you expand your department, you’d need to buy new hardware and software. You will also need to upgrade to computers powerful enough to handle increasingly demanding computing needs. This can get cumbersome—and expensive—fast.
Today, with the cloud, though, you would need just one interface application for everyone. Your employees would be able to log into a web-based service and access the programs they need. Because the actual computing work is done on the vendor’s remote computers, as long as the office computers can handle the interface application—commonly, just a web browser like Google Chrome or Firefox—then you are set.
Greater Efficiency and Productivity
This not only saves computing resources and costs, but it also frees up time as employees don’t need to spend time on downloading, installing, or upgrading programs.
The cloud also enables employees to access the program from anywhere at any time. That function certainly came in handy as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many office workers to work from home. The benefits of the cloud are obvious, which is why more and more companies are transitioning to the cloud.
Cloud computing also is a lucrative business that generates billions of dollars in profit for the biggest players. Did you know that the largest profit for the king of Internet retail, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), actually comes from its cloud business? Amazon brings in about $10 billion a quarter in cloud business revenues.
With 5G (“fifth generation”) wireless on its way, the cloud industry likely will see even greater opportunities. The next generation of wireless communications technology promises to bring great changes.
As super-fast 5G makes the world even more interconnected and enables new applications, data generation and consumption will grow exponentially. A 5G cloud connection will be faster and smoother, making cloud services more reliable and efficient. Eventually, anything and everything digital could be on the cloud.
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