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Friday, September 10, 2010

You Know It's Real When It Enters the "Trough"

In August, Gartner Group released its annual Hype Cycle on Emerging Technologies. We here at 3Point Communications were awaiting the release of this year's Hype Cycle because we were particularly interested to find out if cloud computing -- which had been at the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" in 2009 -- would begin its descent into what Gartner terms the "Trough of Disillusionment."
You see, the ultimate goal of any emerging technology is to become an accepted technology as quickly as possible, go mainstream, thus lowering the cost of production. It is then that the investment in the new technology can be recouped and profits realized. This doesn't happen until the emerging technology makes the perilous trip through the Trough.
Some emerging technologies enter the Trough of Disillusionment never to be seen again, such as broadband over power lines, while others, such as interactive TV and speech recognition, are well on they way to mainstream adoption.
It is our belief that cloud computing will quickly become standard operating procedure for businesses and consumers alike, and this was confirmed by Gartner's recent report which has cloud computing going mainstream within 2-5 years. So seeing cloud computing entering the Trough was a welcome sight.
Here are five reasons we think cloud computing is here to stay:
  1. It's already here. If you've used a photo-sharing site such as Shutterfly or accessed email on a friend's PC, then you've already tapped into the power of cloud computing. These simple applications, and countless others like them, don't exist on your PC, laptop or mobile device, they "live" in the cloud and are accessed on an as-needed basis. On the business front everything from email to CRM to customer support has migrated to the cloud. Not every company has moved every application from internal IT systems to the cloud, but the trend is well underway and in our opinion inevitable.
  2. Cloud computing saves money. When businesses move infrastructure, platforms and software applications to the cloud, they save money. If your core business is not IT, why invest resources, time and money in owning and managing an infrastructure? A good example is, the first government-wide system moved to the cloud, which expects to save $700,000 in its first budget cycle with more savings to follow.
  3. Cloud computing is more secure than people realize. The number one concern among CIO and IT professionals is security when moving a company's data and resources to the cloud. But in many cases, cloud-based security is more secure than a company's internal systems. For example, an Aberdeen Group report found that a company's email security may improve by as much as 53% when moved to the cloud.
  4. Going mobile. With the success of Apple's iPad, new tablets hitting the market, smartphones and other mobile devices, businesses and consumers are both accessing information on the go. These devices simply don't have the storage capacity or internal power to house thousands of apps. Rather, mobile devices are portals into the world of cloud computing. And IDC predicts that more than a quarter of a billion smartphones will be sold this year and numbers will increase next year by 10% or more. All will access the cloud.
  5. Money talks. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Cisco, CA, Oracle and thousands of other companies big and small, are investing billions of dollars in cloud computing. Some, like Microsoft, have made bold claims that cloud computing must be the future of the company if it is to survive and thrive. With this much momentum behind the cloud, it is only a matter of time before it becomes mainstream.

We would interested in your thoughts on cloud computing. Are you there yet? Have you begun the journey? Or is something holding you back?

For the record, 3Point Communications embraces cloud computing and uses cloud-based applications to manage and run our business.

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