By the end of 2013, consumer cloud services for accessing content will be integrated into 90 percent of all connected consumer devices, according to Gartner. Gartner managing vice president Andrew Johnson said that the emergence of personal clouds reflects the “4S experience”, consumers’ desire to store, synch, stream, and share their content on regardless of device or platform seamlessly.
That raises an interesting question. To the extent that enterprise and business technology increasingly is based on use of consumer tools, that means cloud apps and services will be better suited to business and in many cases enterprise application and information technology requirements.
So what might that mean for enterprise communications, enterprise data architectures and “business technology” in general? The answers of course have huge implications not only for enterprises, but for suppliers of all forms of “enterprise” voice, data and applications.
If in fact we certainly are leaving the PC era, and if the next era of computing architecture, for which we as yet have no name, includes a heavy reliance on both cloud computing and mobile technologies, there are certain to be new developments that essentially simplify and “flatten” business IT requirements.
We can’t yet say with definitiveness that the next era of computing is defined by mobile devices, tablets, the Internet or cloud computing or even the fact that leadership is shifting more in the direction of applications and activities than computing appliances.
Those are big changes, indeed. But they are logical implications of a shift to cloud-based computing and mobile devices. More and more people will be able to work by interacting directly, from their mobile devices, with mission-critical business apps that are cloud based.
The need for intermediary and mediating technologies will not be necessary. Users will be able to use any broadband-connected device to access all the apps that formerly were resident on a local server. That could be a big shake up.
“The shift to the personal cloud will accelerate rapidly in 2012 as consumers learn how to use new services on their devices,” said Johnson. “As cloud services become part of people’s lives, device vendors and platform providers must integrate cloud services in order to win customers in 2012 or risk being displaces by those that offer these services. Brands must stretch across multiple devices, platforms and services.”
According to Gartner’s definition, personal cloud allows consumers to seamlessly store, sync, stream and share using multiple connected devices such as smart phones, media tablets, televisions and PCs over the Internet.
In principle, there is no reason why enterprise apps could not be supported in precisely the same way.
Consumers have begun to adopt cloud-based services as part of their digital ecosystem, thanks to services such as Netflix, Google Apps, Amazon Music, Microsoft SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud. In a personal cloud, a TV show, for example, can be watched, left and resumed across multiple devices.
Might enterprises do the same? And if so, what happens to the business need for VARs and system integrators, when everything is in the cloud, and accessible directly on any device, especially mobile devices that communicate directly with the cloud services?