Impacts of Cloud on daily life ident to travelers
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Impacts of Cloud on daily life
by David Ross
Note: Any vendor-specific references in this article should be considered examples only, and not endorsements by the author or by IBM Corp.
There is a lot of information out there today about “Cloud Computing”. It is revolutionary and game-changing, in case you did not know. If you don't know what cloud is all about, you need to at least get some basic education. It is changing how we consider many aspects of corporate and personal life.
In this article, though, I want to focus on how cloud impacts my life - me, David, IBM employee, father, husband, enablement specialist. In particular, this time I will write about how cloud is changing my life when I travel.
Let me be honest: I do not travel a whole lot. I watch the "air warriors" who fly out on Sunday evening or Monday morning and return on Friday, only to do it again week after week. My life and work circumstances are such that I have not travelled extensively. I often joke that if I ever get good at travelling, I'm doing it too much. I still travel some, however, and I have found that cloud technologies have bled into my travel experience. Here are a few examples of cloud and the life of David Ross, intermittent traveler.
First, there is entertainment while on the road. I almost always read on planes, as for me it is the fastest way for time to go by while confined to a hollow tube streaking through the atmosphere. In days gone by, that would mean carrying several large bundles of paper (books) that, once read, were only dead weight the remainder of the trip. With the advent of the tablet and smartphone, and the availability of materials online, I do not do that as much anymore. I can order a book while at the airport, download it from a provider's cloud environment onto my phone or tablet, and read all I want. On some flights, I can even order the book while the plane is in the air and download it at 300 miles per hour!
Netflix is one media vendor that leverages cloud technology a LOT. They do not own an infrastructure at all for streaming their content - they use Amazon's cloud services to do so. This interconnection set up some interesting situations in recent years, with Netflix losing connectivity but Amazon streaming being available during the holidays, for example. I will not take one side or the other on that situation here, but only point out that cloud - flexible, dynamic, on-demand, standards-based - is a great fit for such material, as you can never predict what movie or show will be in demand, when, and where. Cloud can flex to accommodate that as needed, and I take advantage of it while on the road to catch up on a show or movie I might have missed.
Some aspects of travel itself have changed. For example, I have seen many travelers use their phones to get a boarding pass while sitting in the lounge - from an airline that is using cloud and mobile technologies to deliver them. Once on the ground, in many cities cab companies use cloud and mobile to enable you to 'hail a cab' with your smartphone. The company uses GPS technology to send the closest free cab your way. Pretty neat, indeed. Translating text or speech on a device is becoming more available, so those of us who are linguistically limited can hope to at least get help from a kind person. The back end for many such technologies is cloud-based.
Finally, and most importantly to me, is communication. There is an interesting merging of voice and data occurring, all driven by cloud-based services. I seldom "call" my family while on the road anymore, particularly overseas where cell or land-line charges can get expensive. Instead, I use a service such as Skype and place a video call to my loved ones. My eldest, who is autistic, interacts much better with me when he can see me. At every place I stay, I give him a "tour" of the hotel room using the camera on my phone or laptop as we chat. He looks forward to that on my first call when I arrive. Pictures I have taken while playing the tourist on a trip can be available to my family and friends before I board the plane to head home, all thanks to cloud storage and services. On a few occasions, I put my itinerary in my Dropbox folder from my phone, and my wife's laptop had it within a few moments – no phone calls, no emails, but cloud-based services meeting a need for my family.
You can probably come up with more, but in the end, conveniences and services to travelers and non-travelers alike will continue to expand and grow, all thanks to “the cloud”. I, for one, am glad they are there.
David Ross is a Senior Enablement Specialist with IBM Corporation’s Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure team. His recent travels have taken him from one side of the globe to the other, presenting classes in Asia and the United Kingdom.