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Cloud in the mainstream

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By Jon Smith, e-Marketing Specialist for Insight Cloud

In the world of IT all we hear about these days is “The Cloud” somehow this has become the subject of water cooler chatter amongst IT managers. When we look at the statistics it is not surprising why with CRN predicting that SME spending on cloud computing alone would reach $100Bn by 2014 and Gartner claim that the entire Cloud market will be worth $150Bn by 2013.

The question is why is cloud suddenly the hot topic on everyone’s lips? Well in a time of economic uncertainty especially in Europe cloud spending is growing significantly quicker than any other type of IT spending. The reason for this are the cost savings that implementing a cloud solution brings businesses, significant savings are made on hardware, maintenance and the time of your IT department.

A significant amount of an IT departments time is taken up by hardware maintenance. One of the main drainers of time is software installation which is no longer necessary when sourcing programs from the cloud. Cloud computing is also considered a green technology which is a major consideration for many businesses especially those seeking or holding a ISO 14:001 accreditation.

The sudden interest in cloud is surprising considering cloud applications have been available for quite some time. Gmail is essentially a cloud email service first launched in 2005 and Hotmail has been around since 1996. With time comes market saturation and this is the situation we’re facing in the UK with hundreds of businesses offering cloud services including Rackspace, IBM, Dell, Insight, Joyent, virtualdcs, firehost and Sleek Networks.

Consumer Market

What is really interesting at the moment is how cloud services and apps are being used by consumers not only for email but for storage, backup and even potentially disaster recovery which is historically used by businesses.

One of the most obvious examples is drop box which can used for backup, storage and disaster recovery. Drop box allows consumers to store files online and then access them from any location whether that be music, photos or important documents. With a low cost users can securely save their data knowing that whatever happens it will be accessible.

Another example is the cloud music service, Spotify. When it first launched it was revolutionary as it gave consumers access to Music from any location and now with the Spotify mobile app they have created a cloud experience that cannot be rivalled.

Why has this happened? Why have cloud services all of a sudden exploded into the mainstream? One reason has to be the rise of the smartphone, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech smartphone adoption in the UK is now over 50%.

Consumer wants and needs have now changed they expect to be able to access information and entertainment on the go and this is now possible. Smartphones and tablets has given consumers more freedom when it comes to accessing information.

The future of cloud

Since cloud has now become a mainstream service the next question is what will the future hold for Cloud Computing? As the industry continues to grow and starts to mature we’re expecting the cost of cloud services to decrease significantly especially as more businesses start offering a cloud solution and the market becomes more competitive.

We also expect to see more cloud services become available especially for consumers. At the moment the main proposition for consumers revolves around personal storage but as the industry develops we envisage more complicated cloud services becoming available to suit changing consumer needs.

Businesses who are in the unique position of offering a business and consumer cloud proposition really are in a position to take advantage of the changing marketplace but the question is will they will be able to keep it up?