Less than a decade ago, the concept of cloud computing seemed like a futuristic idea. But, now cloud computing has changed the way we do almost everything. From business documents to vacation photos, cloud computing has allowed us easier access to our digital information.
Cloud computing isn’t only changing the efficiency of our personal lives, it is also being applied by tech companies and businesses to make a variety of sectors more productive and communicative. “We’re moving into what is becoming known as the mobile/cloud era,” wrote The Guardian’s John Baguley. “Our thinking is being shaped by several key areas: the need for flexible IT infrastructure, the emergence of big data analytics and increased mobile usage.”
The prevalence of mobile data use and the rise of the virtual office is unprecedented, ten years ago a small majority of people worked from home and used their mobile device throughout their daily lives. Now it is normal to see workers who are flexibly working remotely through the use of mobile devices and cloud technology.
A 2013 study conducted by UK based VMware found that 39 percent of the employees and business people they surveyed said they would consider leaving their current job if they couldn’t use their smartphone or tablet for work. This rose to 46 percent for knowledge workers and 53 percent for those office workers who have already used their device for work.
To keep up with the demand of technology and the expectations of employees, cloud computing and big data analytics are being applied to a wide range of industries and sectors. Research carried out by IT analyst firm IDC forecasts immense growth in the area, with the market expected to reach $16.9 billion dollars for 2015 up over 16 percent from $3.2 billion dollar in 2010. This growth has come from businesses seeking to gain a competitive edge by leveraging the intelligence generated by analytics and harnessing it for its full potential.
The healthcare sector is one of the many sectors that is embracing what cloud computing and big data has to offer. As health care institutions around the world experience restrained budgets and cut backs, they are turning to IT to bolster efficiency and cut costs. For example, MaRS, a Canadian based innovation facilitation company, partnered with Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital to develop a mobile tool for doctors and nurses to monitor patients’ health after surgery and their discharge from hospital.
Millions of dollars are spent annually on surgical complications and patient re-admittance. MaRS’ technology was aimed at reducing the number of readmissions, thus cutting costs. By using a cloud and analytics, Mount Sinai staff are now able to access all clinical records from tablets, thus improving patient experience and increasing the level of one-to-one care.
Cloud computing and big data analytics is also being brought to one of Canada’s oldest and largest industries – the oil and gas sector. Calgary’s Ambyint, a company led by Nav Dhunay, is helping to bring the oil and gas industry into the new century with technology aimed at boosting productivity and efficiency. As Nav Dhunay explains, Ambyint’s technology provides an out of the box solution that can be integrated to oil pump systems. When the Ambyint technology is affixed to a pump, the pump can be easily monitored and a range of analytical statistics can be recorded to improve the pump’s productivity and output.
Ambient and Nav Dhunay’s technology is a welcome relief for a sector that has undergone hard times over the past year. Dhunay goes on to explain how in order to remain lucrative and competitive, companies do need to integrate technology into their business operations. If they don’t, they risk being left behind.
To be sure, we have only begun to scratch the surface of the capabilities that cloud computing and big data analytics offer. In the future, whole cities will be run through the cloud computing and big data, making everything from street lights to traffic signals more efficient and hopefully making our lives easier.