December 29, 2015

In the years since the cloud was first introduced, it has continued to evolve into an increasingly versatile service. Users can scale their computing needs to match their demand, control and even customise workloads on-demand and measure and pay for the resources that they’re using.

As TechTarget says, “Cloud computing enables companies to consume competing resources as a utility — just like electricity — rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.”

Due to this seismic shift in the way companies allocate and ‘consume’ computing resources, the cloud is levelling the playing field between enterprise giants and small enterprises. Not so long ago, powerful, large-scale technology assets were limited to even larger organisations. With high levels of risk and investment involved, only the goliaths could adopt the newest hardware and the software that used it. In fact, few organizations or companies could access fast and infinitely scalable computing power.

Now however, you can access the latest and greatest in technology (with a low and predictable monthly cost,) you no longer need an Angel Investor or a pot of gold to make a mark in your industry.

Here are 10 of the ways companies are using the cloud and how it’s changing their business for the better:

  1. If they were only able to move one application to the cloud, 25% of people would choose storage
  2. There will be a predicted 44% annual growth in workloads for the public cloud
  3. 82% of respondents questionedreportedly saved money after switching to the cloud
  4. Over 60% of companies use the cloud for IT-related tasks
  5. 14% of companies actually downsized their IT expenditureafter going to the cloud
  6. 80% of cloud adopters saw improvementswithin 6 months of moving to the cloud
  7. More than 50% currently transfer sensitive or confidential data to the cloud
  8. 56% of survey respondents trust their cloud providersto protect their sensitive and confidential data
  9. North American enterprises lead new spending in cloud computing which is expected to continue throughout 2016
  10. 60% of enterprises include cloud-related spending in their enterprise-wide IT budgets

So, now we know what the cloud is and how people are using it, where can it go from here?

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Gaming:

Well you know what they say: work hard, play hard. However, with failed attempts from the likes of OnLive, it can seem like the cloud and gaming might never come together. Way back in 2009, IGN wrote that (LINK –  ) “this service has the potential to completely change the way games are played. If it works and gets proper support from both publishers and gamers, you may never need a high-end PC to play the latest games, or perhaps even ever buy a console again. That is not an exaggeration.”

Only a few years later, that dream came crashing down, with the cloud gaming pioneer finally closing down in April 2015. Once valued at £1.2 billion – it clearly shows that subscription based, cloud gaming services are the future of gaming. They just need superfast fibre connections in every user’s home to succeed.

However, here comes the second act.

With huge players like Nvidia (with their Nvidia Grid system for gamers and businesses alike) and Sony (with PlayStation Now) stepping into the arena, it looks like cloud computing really could be the future of gaming.

Imagine a world where everyone has a small box, the size of a microwave-meal, that can play graphically intensive and visually stunning games, in high-definition, whilst using less power than a kettle. If you know technology, then this may seem a long way off with physical hardware. Modern console systems (such as the Xbox One) are as large as your Dad’s old VCR player and they struggle to play games at 1080p, let alone 4k or even 8k.

With cloud computing now accessed like a resource, gamers could one day pay a subscription fee to play their games from the cloud. And, companies could offer a pricing model that includes different levels. Gamers could pay more per month to play at higher resolutions or with more visual effects turned on. So, they would only pay for what they want, need or can afford, with the benefits of flexibility and scalability that only the cloud can offer. And, as we have seen with the likes of Netflix and Spotify, a subscription based business model is favoured by today’s media consumers.

Virtual reality:

Speaking of second acts, there’s also the rebirth of Virtual Reality. A fad born from the regurgitation of the 1980’s or potential finally realised, Virtual Reality (or VR for short) is making a big comeback. But what is VR? Well, you put on a set of goggles that can track your movement – You turn your head in real life, the camera in the movie or game will turn in exactly the same way. A missile flies overhead and you follow its path, to see it hit your friends tank. You look over your shoulder to see a group of ravaging zombies is closing in on you. VR allows people to be fully immersed in a movie or video game like never before. Oculus Rift is leading the charge for VR. But it’s targeted towards media consumption and video gaming. Can this technology also be used to improve the way we work?

Augmented Reality and work:

This rebirth of Virtual Reality has also spurned the actualisation of Augmented Reality. Once the prop of every futuristic sci-fi movie, Augmented Reality allows you to project 3D images and overlap them onto the real world, and it’s enabling radical new kinds of work and boosting productivity in many fields. Microsoft HoloLens is the most prominent version, garnering a lot of media attention – mostly because it’s from Microsoft.

A car designer can visualise their new sports car on the table in front of them, making minor tweaks to its shape on the fly. They can turn the room into a desktop, placing different programs and apps on different walls (or even the roof) to maximise productivity. With Augmented reality, the world is your canvas.

However, all of these use cases and features are in the (hopefully not too distant) future. What can you do with the cloud right now? You can save money, improve your workflow and boost productivity by taking your company to the cloud.

If you need a helping hand getting on board, or want to find out more about the cloud, get in touch with the Synextra Support Team today.