A lot can happen in 25 years. The past 25 have brought mobile communication, the
advent of the internet and an entire generation dependent on it. A recent article by Rackspace blogger Eric Boyce takes a wide look at what the next 25 years will look like for us through the lens of internet. What could we reasonably expect the internet to do for us, given a little time? Boyce’s article walks through 25 of the biggest cloud computing implications we can expect in the next 25 years, but for brevity’s sake, we’re taking a look at a few of the most significant.
1. The internet is everywhere, and fast.
Planes, trains, automobiles, almost wherever you can receive a signal you can access the internet. The internet’s availability is not, and won’t be, the problem. The real bottleneck is speed. As cloud computing possibilities in practically every industry increase, the average internet speed will have to also. More businesses utilizing the advantage of cloud computing will drive up the demand high-speed internet. Boyce says expect average speeds to increase from current average of 2-5 Mbps in the US to 100+ Mbps. (Believe it or not, Chattanooga will have one of the fastest internet connections in the world soon).
2. Here a software, there a service, everywhere Software-as-a-Service
Google Docs is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and much software available now is offered in this format over the web. In fact, it’s reported to be growing 5x faster than traditional software products. Soon, over a third of all software developed will be accessed over the web.
3. Smart systems, dumb desktops
The trend looks like this: the more IT services and computing power lies outside my computer, the less smart my computer needs to be. Why buy 800 Gigs of hard drive space if all my software, music, video, documents, etc are stored in massive data centers. Who would need RAM with no complex programs to support? Eric Boyce says it best, the desktop “becomes simply an interface to interact with the cloud. So any screen, keyboard, or brain wave reader will suffice.”
4. Managing medical mayhem
Cloud based medical applications show promise in understanding protein folding, which is key to developments in fighting Alzheimer’s and cancer. The computational power required to analyze folding proteins, DNA and other astronomically large sets of data is enormous, and the cloud will facilitate that process.
5. Education proliferation is sweeping the nation
When all the textbooks and educational materials you may ever need for school are stored and accessed in the cloud, higher level schooling will be more widely accessible. Boyce notes the MIT website that offered lecture videos and notes to anyone free, and that following this model, more education will be offered online.
6. Smartgrid technologies: “WARNING! You left the iron on.”
I can’t improve on Boyce’s definition: “Smart grid technologies allow two-way transmission for electricity delivery. With sensing and metering built in, it allows control (including remote shut-off) and tracking of appliances to cut costs and save energy.” So instead of the power grid just sending electricity to the iron, the cloud could allow the iron to communicate with the power grid, knowing to shut itself if left on for too long.
Research is showing that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) development and managed services, virtualization and utility computing are game changers. Their convergence, dubbed “cloud computing,” changes the way businesses and individuals experience the world. Facebook, Google, Flickr, World of Warcraft, Microsoft Exchange, electronic medical records (EMR) all interface with users via the cloud. We’re beating the same drum here: cloud computing is the future of not just business information technology, but all information technology.
What are your thoughts? We would love to hear them!