Productivity. Cloud. And the iPad – NetBooks – Tablets era.

As we are very seemingly moving away from the concept of hard disks, the cloud is making more and more sense as the world of network and internet folds in front of our eyes just about everyday. Devices such as iPad/NetBooks/Tablets are just a medium for us to connect to the world where the whole office box lies. Ah well. Not so fast though.

The concept from 1.44MB floppy disks to flash drive changed really in a flash, and then came the small or pocket sized HDD or iOmega’s and then larger flash drives, and then the emails opened up the storage and there was no need of carrying those keychain like hooks anymore. Pop open your email and there it is, the file I was looking for. Then I got Google Docs, and the world has never been the same. And I no longer carry my office in my laptop, rather it sits on a cloud somewhere.

I recently attended the presentation from Lynn Sutherland, VP & COO of Edmonton’s VrStorm at Calgary Technology Inc.  Lynn’s company offers Enterprise Public and Private Clouds, and also offers extended capability for virtual environments. Lynn presented a showcase of running a desktop in a cloud environment (just a common concept for a common individual), and the ease of usability and power of cloud without having to use a hefty laptop or a machine. She showcased that all our regular workload stuff can be available on this cloud hosted desktop, which can be accessed using iPad/NetBooks/Tablets and an Internet connection (either wired or wi-fi). The beauty of this, was that the power of the working horse is not based on the kind of iPad/NetBooks/Tablets that we are using but it lies in the capabilities of the cloud. The only thing that matters anymore is the connectivity speed to the cloud. She stated that MS Office and other productivity apps run up to five times faster in a cloud environment than on her desktop or Mac. Talk about productivity.

So are we all moving to cloud? Not really. The cloud concept is still evolving, and there is a longer debate around privacy and data protection especially within the government enterprises but also within companies who are protective of insider information being shared across the cloud or over a cloud environment. Although, the common misconception around data or information being not protected is no different than the current jungle of Internet, intranet, firewalls, and virtual and shared hosted environments which exists out there. As the cloud technology progresses, so will the security and the protection of critical information. But the services currently offered by cloud providers are well thought out and cover a whole gamut of data security layers.

Today, larger companies utilize it as they can afford to create their own cloud. But for mid to smaller companies, there are other options available in the form of Google Apps and others. There have been a good surge of cloud companies within the past couple of years. And companies like VrStorm are offering their solutions to any size businesses, and that opens up a new category of cloud service providers. Though they claim to be the only Canadian Cloud Computing company that offers such a solution, but nevertheless the north of the border now we have some clouds forming as well. Which I guess is a good thing, not in a literal sense though.  

Pretty soon, and hopefully, we will see a surge of iPad/NetBooks/Tablets – what it means is a cheaper computing device for our laps and palms, and the productivity increasing with offices moving to a more virtual environment. Thus, leaving less carbon footprint, greater sense of responsibility, less paper, and more greener ways to work from home or just about anywhere with no more office rush hours with less traffic on busy roads.