With the rise of powerful cloud computing applications–and smartphones– the future of the Web is more about access than ownership. Applications won’t be owned, they’ll be accessed through the cloud. The same will be true for books, music and every other form of consumable digital media. Though Amazon stands as the giant of public cloud computing, there are many Amazon competitors that offer services with varying degrees of similarity to the electronic retailer’s own products. This is all made possible through elements of the cloud that only require minimal processing power on the devices used to access them. Mobility is the natural evolution of cloud technology. It won’t be long before everything that can be done on a computer will require neither a hard drive nor a computer, but a smartphone and a fast wireless connection. Here are a few current cloud-based technologies breaking ground in the mobile space.
1. Cloud Printing – Digital printing has come a long way in just a short amount of time. Not long ago, a laptop or desktop computer had to be physically attached to a printer via USB, FireWire, Serial or whatever other clunky data cable the printer used. Now all that’s needed is an Internet-enabled device, online access to the requisite documents and a cloud-enabled printer. Any printer purchased in the last year will likely be compatible with Google’s Cloud Print application, or the many other similar apps available.
2. App Management – It’s a funny thought, but now even cloud instances themselves can be managed via mobile devices, with powerful app management programs now available on Android and iOS devices. In fact, Box recently announced they will unveil a new mobile app called OneCloud, enabling IT departments to manage apps in the cloud from a cloud-based app. IT professionals will be able to easily download and deploy apps onto their cloud infrastructure.
3. Document Management – Apps like Google Docs have made cloud-based document management a reality. In January, Google announced a new feature that allows uploading of nearly any type of document file into the Google Docs platform, with the functionality extended even to the mobile app.
4. Mobile Gaming in the Cloud – Mobile gaming is nothing new. Not long after cell phones were introduced, people were playing Snake on their phones. But as processing power became more sophisticated on tablet PCs and smartphones, the question began to be asked: what would it be like to play a PS3 game on a smartphone? The cloud is making this possible through apps like OnLive.
5. Mobile Remote Desktop Tools – Several recent studies have indicated that the world’s workforce is largely a mobile one. Though this isn’t necessarily groundbreaking research–simply looking around the office and counting how many of co-workers have smartphones might do the trick–it reveals that modern IT department managers have their work cut out for them. Since more and more workers are doing their jobs from mobile devices, it only makes sense that tech support also be done from a mobile device. For instance, with WYSE’s PocketCloud app, IT professionals are able to perform remote desktop and mobile device support from their smartphones.
The Future of the Web: Where Mobile and Cloud Tech Converge
With this magical convergence of cloud-based technology and smartphone technology, our brightest computing days may be ahead of us. Anything that can be done on a computer, a smartphone with the appropriate cloud app will soon be able to do, as well.