You may have noticed that over the last decade, computers have grown faster and more powerful, with more RAM, bigger hard drives, and improved processors. This is made possible by the development of better, cheaper technology, coupled with a corresponding need on the part of consumers and corporations. It has also come in response to software developers, who have continued to introduce more complex and demanding programs.
Then, “the cloud” came along, and software such as office programs, contact managers, editing programs, and data storage went virtual, no longer requiring local computer space and speed.
As a result, old, slower PCs have a new life, and new devices like mobile phones, netbooks, e-readers, and tablets rely on the cloud to function as fully portable productivity tools and entertainment centers.
One of the cloud’s most significant impacts so far has been in music. Since the digitization of songs, we have seen dramatic changes in devices and hardware for music consumption, as well as in distribution mediums.
Last year, a Gartner report predicted that cloud-related spending would reach $258 billion by 2020. It accounted for $28 billion in 2010. This rapid increase should prompt investments in related technologies, applications, and services to account for 45% of all IT spending.
In the short term, as the cloud grows, more jobs will be created. In the long term, however, it is likely that many of the smaller administrative tasks that are currently performed on local PCs will take place in the cloud, managed by big companies along the lines of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and even AT&T and Verizon.
The cloud will encourage the development of identification technologies designed to authenticate individuals online and via mobile and card technologies. The advantages and sheer connectedness facilitated by the cloud and our complimentary devices will ultimately allow for a more seamless and secure digital life.