Who Owns Whom

Way back in 1798 Malthus phrased his Malthusian trap: “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” The world population then was around 800 million. Today it is around 6,700 million almost 9 times more AND with a remarkable increase in standard of living and no shortage of food, although unequally distributed.

Over 150 years later, in 1965, we had the Moore’s law, many considered an impossibility, which is not a law in the true sense of the word, but an observation made by the co-founder of Intel, Gordon Moore stating that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years, though the cost of computers is halved. He was telling us that the advances in technology are exponential, and by any count they have been. If it was not the fast pace of this phenomenal technological progression, we would possibly still be using “floppy disks” with probably a bit more data capacity!

Today the Cloud revolution is demonstrating that mankind is not short of new ideas and technological innovation. Modern society has become very complex and interdependent on all things happening in the world economies. Cloud technology would not have been possible without the advance in signal/data transmission. We have gone from one telephone connection in a household/community to a smartphone per individual if not more, capturing and transmitting very high density data i.e video, data, text and voice all of which can be accessed from anywhere in the world across multiple devices. Whilst South Africa is still lagging due to the cost of such mobile services, it has kept pace with the technological advances.

The WOW report on Cloud Computing provides an excellent account of different offerings and companies that play a role in the Cloud and goes on to describe a vast array of products and services under the Internet umbrella, like the “Internet of Things”. The Cloud has become an umbrella of a multitude of things (activities, products and services) that operate on the Internet. It’s a good read for anyone interested in gaining a better insight into what Cloud is all about.

Now a few snippets on more pedestrian observations in connection with Cloud computing that can assist the novices in the space to find their way around.

When you make use of Cloud services, your data are not stored in the cloud (literally). Scotland has Cloud datacentres at the bottom of the ocean in sealed containers to achieve green, zero CO2 emission cooling! The transmission capabilities have become so sophisticated and efficient that cloud data storage can be done anywhere. This benefit has drawn the attention of regulators from sovereign states, seeking to enforce local data storage and restricted access to the data considered of a sensitive and private nature.

The WOW report on Cloud computing illustrates how this technology has contributed to productivity, cost efficacy and convenience for business. It also points to the fact that we are only seeing the beginning of this phenomenon hinting that much more innovations and benefits will emanate from the Cloud as organisations and governments become more comfortable with the security and compliance aspects of this technology.

Cloud computing seems to be growing faster in the SMEs sector, especially as the cost of SaaS (Software as a Service) becomes competitively priced compared to acquiring the software. Office 365, comes to mind as a good example as a software product that is exceptionally well established with a huge customer base in all categories of users.

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