Clouds Ahead

Nov 22 2011   11:20AM GMT

Cloud Computing Will Make Tough Decisions Look Quaint

Pedro Pereira Pedro Pereira Profile: Pedro Pereira

Remember when we didn’t use cell phones or email? It’s like wondering what we did before the ATM. Did people go around with big wads of cash in their pockets because they couldn’t get a quick hundred whenever they wanted?

As cloud computing asserts itself in our lives, try to imagine what we’ll be looking back on years from now, wondering how we ever got by without this or that. If you think we’re dependent on technology at home and in the office, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Like it or not, more and more of our lives will become dependent on the public cloud – to the point that virtually everything we do will have something to do with the cloud.

Take a second or two to absorb that thought.

Got it? OK, now let’s continue. Accept the cloud is here to stay, privacy and security concerns notwithstanding. It will affect us in ways we can only start to imagine, so you might as well get ready.

Like it or not, more and more of our lives will become dependent on the public cloud – to the point that virtually everything we do will have something to do with the cloud.

It’s no longer impossible to image using your smartphone to control the lights, heat and air conditioning. You can turn your TV on and off with it, flip through channels and schedule recordings of your favorite shows. A few months ago, I was at a family function when one of my cousins whipped out his Blackberry to turn on the lights at his place of work – 70 miles away.

I remember scoffing at LG’s refrigerator with a built-in TV some years back, but now I see the company was simply ahead of its time. You can find those units at Overstock.com now, but they seem to be discontinued. Ah, the price you pay for being ahead of your time!

Now I see the introduction of the Nest thermostat, designed by Tony Fadell, who also designed the iPod. Rather than scoff, I marvel at it. Here you have an iPod-like device that learns your habits to adjust temperatures throughout the day to your liking.

Siri, the iPhone’s new voice-command technology, gives us a glimpse at the possibilities. You can tell Siri to give you reminders throughout the day. So long as you keep your iPhone close, you’ll never have an excuse to forget anything again. You can tell Siri to call your mother or text your business partner. Someone already has figured out how to get Siri to control a thermostat. (Hey, it gets cold in New England this time of year, so forgive my thermostat obsession!)

Will Siri be able to remotely start your car or unlock your office doors? Using the Internet of Things, will Google give us technology to turn on coffee pots remotely? Will your car eventually drive itself and take orders from a GPS system that processes information in real time from traffic lights and highway sensors for optimal routing?

I’m going to guess yes on all of the above, though some of these things will take a while. But when they happen, we’ll look back on decisions like whether we should replace our Exchange server with a cloud-based service and think them quaint. As painstaking as these decisions are today, we’ll look back and say, “Times were simpler then.”

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  • James Murray
    I remember when I moved from connecting desktops to the network to working on the NOS that connected the servers to the desktops and it seemed difficult. But over time I got used to it. Now I'm working with the unified communications technology for Multi-tenant lync. The technology again seems like a huge leap into a much more complicated world. Then again, as we consoldidate server pooles in smaller and smaller boxes I'm more worried about all the on-premise networds going into the cloud. Cloud technology is actually pretty simple compared to a Multin continten on premise server environment.
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