In 2020, we all live in the cloud. We may still physically live on the ground but so much of the data we use and create and the products we interact with every day rely on cloud computing. The cloud has a hand in keeping us safe and making our lives easier and more efficient.
The term “cloud computing” has been around since the late 90s but came to popularity around 2006. This term refers to computing processes or storage that utilizes the cloud. The cloud is an internet-accessible network of decentralized servers not managed by the user. The end result is access to on-demand services without the need to own big, expensive servers.
In the last decade and a half, cloud-computing has given consumers access to data and storage that they would have never had otherwise. It has also been used by companies to produce higher quality, safer products without most of us even realizing it.
Whether you are aware of it or not, it is almost impossible to go a day without interacting with cloud computing or a product or service that is enhanced by cloud computing. Here are a few ways that cloud computing impacts your life daily.
It Backs Up Your Phone
If your iPhone is set to backup to iCloud, you use cloud computing every day. iCloud is just one example of the enormous amounts of personal data that is being stored on the cloud. Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Flickr, and many more are all examples of cloud storage for the general public. And, if you can access your work servers remotely through a VPN, there is a good chance that access is going through the cloud as well these days.
It Stores Your Emails
If you use an internet-based email service, you are using the cloud. The most popular personal email providers in the world use the cloud for their services. This includes email providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and more. With these services, there is no extra software that needs to be installed on your device. You can access your email from any app or browser, adding a big layer of convenience and functionality to the service.
It Helps Keep Your Medicine Safe
It is critical that many pharmaceutical products be held at a very specific temperature. If they are not, they can lose their effectiveness or even become harmful to the user. As Dickson notes here, continuous monitoring of conditions for pharmaceutical products is a major part of GxP, which is shorthand for good practices.
To monitor conditions, pharma companies are now using data loggers that transmit environmental conditions to a cloud-based remote monitoring system. These companies can now monitor their products from a central location which both saves money and allows for better control of conditions, ensuring a safe and effective product for patients.
It Lets You Watch Your Favorite Shows
The cloud is how streaming TV and movie platforms are able to give you so many on-demand options for your entertainment. Instead of requiring expensive hardware, like a cable box, all the data you need to watch your favorite programming is on cloud computing servers. This goes for DVR too. Streaming services can offer DVR service with unlimited space because of cloud storage.
Netflix, one of the biggest streaming services on the planet, led the way to cloud-based streaming when it migrated its entire streaming service to the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud in 2016. Four years later, this model has worked so well that many of the top streaming services are cloud-based.
It Powers Social Media
If you are on any kind of social media, you are in the cloud. These platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to LinkedIn to Twitter and beyond, are all cloud-based mediums. This is how they offer real-time updates and communication and store so much data going back to when you first signed up for the site.
Cloud computing is one of the major reasons that social media has become so popular. Whereas traditional communication mediums have limitations in terms of how real-time they can be, as soon as something is uploaded to a cloud-based social media platform, it is beamed all over the world, live. This is one of the things people love about these platforms.
It Creates Chatbots
If you have ever interacted with a chatbot online, you have probably been able to do so thanks to the cloud. Chatbots are virtual, automated customer service or sales reps on websites. They help you fill out forms, answer questions, or get other information. These chatbots are powered by advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence that is made possible with cloud computing. Using the cloud to access these powerful computing tools allows very complicated processes, such as creating smart chatbots, to now be done much more cost-effectively.
It Keeps Us Healthier
Cloud computing has numerous applications in the healthcare industry. Two of the ways it affects our everyday lives are through smart wearable technology and telehealth. When you wear a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, those devices, paired with Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) can gather and transmit real-time health data to you or your physician to better monitor your health.
Telehealth, which became a necessity in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizes cloud-based teleconferencing technology that allows you to connect with healthcare professionals face-to-face when you are actually miles apart. It is changing the way the industry operates and, during the pandemic, saving lives.
These are just a few of the more obvious ways that cloud computing impacts your life on a daily basis. There are far more examples of the cloud in your personal life–when you factor in all the business applications of the cloud that you are likely using at work, the interaction is tremendous. The cloud has changed the way we live and work for the better and is one of the cornerstones of modern life. As technology and the way we interact with it continue to develop, the cloud will most likely continue to grow in importance in each of our lives.