Cloud Computing – The Ultimate Wave (Part 3 of 3)
By Brian Shellabarger
Force #3: Mobile device proliferation
This is the one analysts are observing with the most excitement. The modern mobile device has more compute power than your laptop did just 3 to 4 years ago. The mobile explosion is so prolific, in fact, that 87% of the world’s population has a mobile phone, but only 75% have electricity! Cisco predicts that by 2016, the average smartphone will consume 50 times more bandwidth than it does today. Now – ask yourself – what will mobile users be doing just four years from now to consume that much bandwidth?
Just a few weeks ago, the major carriers announced that the sale of smartphones now exceeds the sale of standard feature phones. Now that you can get a high-end smartphone for free (with contract) at any mobile store, why would anyone buy an old-style device, especially as smartphones become easier to use.
The smartphone of the very near future will feature 4 to 8 cores, it will be fully dockable (you’ll be able to attach your monitor, keyboard, and mouse to your mobile device), and mobile applications will begin to feature three different usage modes (phone mode, tablet mode, and ‘docked’ / desktop mode), giving you the optimal user experience depending on where you happen to be sitting (or standing). Combine this with the power of the cloud (which provides virtually unlimited storage capacity), truly high-speed bandwidth (which will blur the line between what needs to live on your device versus what can live in the cloud), and the potential to rent limitless compute power (for more complex tasks that your built-in CPU can’t handle) – and it seems clear that the death of the traditional PC is imminent. And you may not shed nearly as many tears next time you accidentally drop it into the sink, since the device itself will only contain a replicated copy of your important data.
In 2011, Steve Jobs made this vision crystal clear when he said “We are going to demote the PC and Mac to just be a device … and we are going to move the digital hub … into the cloud.”
While it’s certainly fair to admit that the topic of ‘the cloud’ has been getting an immense amount of media attention lately, I think it stands to reason that the true impact of the wave has yet to be fully understood. There are many other forces, besides just the three I’ve outlined here, that will make this truly an incredible transformation.
The question is: Will you be riding the wave, or watching from the shore?