Faster Internet = More Cloud
When meeting with new companies, Internet speed is always a concern and a limitation to cloud adoption. A few times, I have made the mistake of allowing a potential client to get excited about how all of their pain points will be cured by our cloud prescription, only to find out that their companies’ Internet speed is too slow to even send incremental nightly backups. The new LTE (Long Term Evolution) network will open up more doors for increased cloud use in both personal and enterprise applications.
Canadians have an average broadband download rate of 11.3 Mbps, while LTE can achieve theoretical download speeds of up to 150 Mbps to Mobile Devices. These speeds create a huge opportunity to access information from the cloud at the blink of an eye. Anyone who uses a CRM on a daily basis has experienced what I call the “Starbucks Lag”, referring to the loading delay caused by too many people on a WIFI network. With speeds that LTE provides, the user will not be able to tell the difference between files accessed locally, or from the cloud. For example, with LTE you can download a 2 hour movie within a few minutes, and download an MP3 in just seconds.
I have the iPhone 5, and have always been a huge fan of the Skype application for both PC and iPhone. For less than $5 a month, I get unlimited North American calls to phone lines. With the new LTE network, I am tempted to get rid of my voice plan completely. When comparing the Skype and Phone applications on the iPhone, the dial pads look identical, so why not just run all of my outgoing calls through my data package? I work in Business Development and have a hybrid meeting model between remote and on site, so I use the GoTo Meeting App religiously. I have noticed that with the new LTE speeds, I have confidence that GoTo meetings and conference bridges will run seamlessly during and travel time will not affect my productivity.
One of the coolest innovations I have seen was on the new Verizon commercial, demonstrating how cloud computing can save lives. (http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7wsp/verizon-powerful-answers-firefighters) In summary, they have leveraged cloud technologies and designed a protective display for firefighters to wear, which gives them vision in any circumstance.
As more data is stored in the cloud, the hardware costs for computers and devices will go down, making information more accessible for developing countries. We have seen this in India with the Aakash, a $35 dollar tablet running on android designed to connect link 25,000 collages and 400 universities in an e-learning program. (http://tech2.in.com/features/tablets/aakash-2-indias-low-cost-tablet-dream-come-true/656122) The speed with which these technologies are improving is exponential, so when I think forward 10 years from now, I imagine the day where we will access everything from the cloud, including a cell phone’s operating system. Who knows, maybe someday cell phone devices become carrier agnostic. Instead of buying a Rogers iPhone with iOS preloaded, maybe we will just be buying a low cost screen that streams everything. At that point, all you have to do is purchase the licenses for whichever OS you want from Apple, Android, or heck, maybe even give the new BB10 a shot.
Overall, I am excited to see the future of how we access applications as Internet and wireless speeds increase. My predictions might be a bit far-fetched, but I still remember my sister yelling at me because our dial up Internet connection was blocking the phone line…and that was only 10 years ago.