The three most popular electronic devices used nowadays are:
- The personal computing device – laptop, tablet, etc.
- The personal communication device – mobile phones.
- The personal entertainment device – iPod, Zune, etc,
Now, what is the common attribute they share, other than the fact that whenever you buy one, you feel that you should have waited a month for the next model?
Being able to carry your electronic device with you wherever you go is what makes these three categories widely popular. It’s the same feeling that drove the enormous popularity of the Sony Walkman decades ago. And it’s the same feeling that will drive the popularity of cloud computing in the near future.
Consider the following scenarios:
- You are stuck in an airport for 10 hours and want to work on an important client presentation with your team located thousands of miles away.
- You are a real estate agent on the field with a client and want to look up a list of all your firm’s listed properties in the area.
- You want to listen to the latest chartbuster but don’t have it on your iPod.
With cloud computing, you can do all this.
- You fire up Google Docs on your laptop on the airport Wi-Fi and collaborate on the shared presentation with your team.
- You use your mobile phone to access your company’s database on the cloud and retrieve the required information.
- You buy the song from iTunes by logging on to the Internet, and save it on the cloud to be able to access from any place on any device.
Now, all these are possible at this very moment using existing cloud computing technology. However, there’s a lot more in store.
Many experts believe that the three personal devices mentioned at the beginning of this article will eventually merge into one. In fact, the trend has already started with the iPhone incorporating all the features of the iPod. However, there will be a limit on the computing power and storage, because there’s only this much you can pack onto a handheld device. It is cloud computing that can allow one to transcend these limits.
Here are some of the immense possibilities that cloud computing can bring to a single handheld device:
- Payments for purchases.
- Supercomputer-level processing speeds.
- Access to unlimited memory.
Here, the device will behave like a thin client with minimal computing power; it will be geared more towards communicating with the cloud which will serve all processing and storage needs. Now, this will be the ultimate mobility device. While it will still require access to the Internet to function, the day is not far when even in places of no terrestrial Internet access, a handheld device can use satellites to get online.
Of course, there will be several developmental challenges. However, none of them will be insurmountable. We already know that going to the cloud does translate to greater mobility; it’s only a matter of time before this technology is leveraged to give complete freedom of movement, anywhere in the world. An individual will be literally able to access everything of interest from a single handheld device, irrespective of location or time. The belief “To the cloud for enhanced mobility!” is definitely worth investing in.
By Sourya Biswas
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