19 Feb The Cloud
What is the cloud?
The “cloud” is a network of servers that are hosted on the internet, and are managed in a highly automated way. They also shared by many applications at the same time. Cloud computing has been growing increasingly. Cloud specific spending is expected to grow 6 times the rate of general IT spending through 2020. Many executives and leaders are recognizing the need and potential for the cloud, Dihraj Pathak, leader of PwC Cloud Program believes that “cloud options for enterprises are definitely set to rapidly expand”. Currently about 85% of businesses operate using a cloud, and that number is expected to grow to 100% by 2025. So what does this mean to the consumer and how will industries be affected differently?
Like other companies, banks are racing to take advantage of the opportunities and manage the risks that the digital economy brings. Companies like Goldman Sachs and Capital One have already made moves towards the cloud. Capital One is running all of their mobile app and data through Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud, whereas Goldman Sachs has gone with a private cloud strategy. Goldman Sachs Engineer Don Duet explains “We’ve been investing in technology for a long period of time—more than two decades—so none of this marks a sudden, abrupt shift in strategy for the firm. It’s a process of continual transformation—moving more and more core parts of our business into models in which things are done electronically, at higher scale, and delivered in a more seamless fashion”.
For organizations, they are able to innovate at a higher pace and a lower cost, but not without benefit to the consumer. Mobile cheque deposits, e-transfers, instant deposits, timed bill payments are all made easier because of the cloud and its strength to process much more information than any system before. The efficiency for both the consumer and the enterprise are the result of developments in the cloud.
Oil and Gas
The oil and gas industry has had the ability to collect vast amounts of data for some time now. The problem was, they did not have any analytics or computers strong enough to make use of that data. U.S oil producers reported only 5% of their data was actually used. With developments in the cloud, oil companies are now able to reap the benefit of big data, making it one of the fastest adopters of data-driven innovation. British Petroleum Oil recently used data to execute an optimization model that raised the production of 180 wells by 20%. Other companies are estimating that by analyzing the design of wells and how they are drilled, that oilfields will be able to cut costs by 40% in the next decade. General Electric Oil and Gas is migrating most of its computing storage to a public cloud, saying it will reduce cost and operational risk while enabling analytics to streamline operations. The Oil and Gas industry is definitely set to see some large changes in it’s data analytics operations, and in turn profit as well.
Oil and gas isn’t the only industry expected to grow from cloud computing, massive advancements in agricultural efficiency are already taking place around the world. Known as “smart farms”, agricultural operations are beginning to place sensors to gather information such as ground chemical composition, humidity, mineral content etc. This information can be relayed through the cloud straight to the farmer to either:
- Have an automated system fix the issue
- Have the farmer him/herself fix the issue
Manual, physical samples would have to be taken in the past, leaving lots of room for error and not a true representation of the entire farm ecosystem. This is allowing farmers to largely mitigate risks from lost crops, lowering the cost of labour and eventually resulting in a more transparent product to the consumer. The cloud also offers a very accurate predictive analysis, pinpointing products, markets and their specific demand. In the same scenario, they are also able to provide insight into upcoming weather condition. The overall use of the cloud for agriculture not only helps the farmer and consumer, but also helps the environment by limiting precisely calculating the exact amount of fertilizer or potentially harmful chemicals used in the process.
Cloud computing is helping the airline industry soar. To help with the customer experience at an airport, cloud computing is used in the self-service to fight long lines waiting to check in and check baggage. The entire process of booking a flight, to customer details and security clearances are all stored using cloud technologies. Another area that benefits is with aircraft maintenance. Sensors around the plane can quickly communicate with the cloud to warn the pilot or a service worker of any type of maintenance needed. This is just scratching the surface as almost all data processed throughout any and all flights is stored and analyzed within the cloud.
Big industries with large, capital heavy assets are benefiting from the cloud, but what about entertainment? NASCAR is currently leveraging machine learning solutions on cloud to analyze real-time and historical racecar data to improve performance and enhance simulation scenarios. Popular music streaming app Spotify has opted out of their traditional IT structure for the Google Cloud Platform to leverage the scalability and the higher functionality it offers. Although we think of Amazon as strictly an online salesplace, Amazon Web Services (AWS) are essentially tied in first place with Google and Microsoft’s Azure for the strongest, largest cloud. Some of the high profile organizations using Amazon’s Cloud is the N.F.L, using the cloud for basic storage and data analysis.
Though these are just a few examples of what the cloud has done up to date, we can expect to see it in every part of our life and business. It will likely play a big role in the digitization of or world and how we operate. With that being said, it does come with many opportunities for new businesses to emerge, and poses risks for businesses that may be relying on their old IT for support. It’ll be important going forward to evolve and innovate as technology progresses.