“To the cloud!” was a popular ad world rallying cry two years ago (thanks, Microsoft), but the cloud is still kicked around as a new idea, a novelty of hotly debated adoption between C-suite and IT executives. But the cloud isn’t new; it’s simply computing that’s come full circle. Before the advent of PCs and laptops, there were enormous mainframe computers that large groups dialed into to share resources. At the time, only large corporations could afford the expense of their own computers. Everyone else shared mainframes (kind of like the party line telephone systems of the mid-twentieth century).
PCs emerged in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and with it came distribution. Next up: corporate network servers for centralized mail, network file storage, and a few applications. And then – the internet. As connective speed increased, accessibility sprang up everywhere, applications became centralized, and information could be easily and widely grasped from almost any device and location in the world.
It should come as no surprise that the personal cloud is replacing the personal computer. Data and capture technology is rapidly expanding with scanned and digital documents, as well as emails and their attachments. Document retrieval speed, sharing and collaboration technology is experiencing explosive growth.
Sales of mobile devices are growing at an astonishing rate with cloud-based support, while personal computer sales continue to drop. Practically speaking, with internet access almost everywhere, what is the point of toting a large, heavy device? We’re a mobile, global society and workplace, and our technology reflects that. The cloud is weightless, its possibilities are endless. So are ours.