At Jive, we like to keep our head in the clouds—or Cloud, in our case. Cloud technology has already re-wired the way we live, from social media to file storage to streaming your favorite music and movies.
But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.
The Cloud is the forefront of a far-reaching technological wave that will impact more than just your smartphone or tablet. Soon, the Cloud will affect how you interact with your house and your health, with driving and schools and work. Even what you wear will be connected to the Cloud.
We’re already seeing signs of where the Cloud may be taking us:
1. Smart Homes
Last year, Google acquired Nest, a home automation company that manufactures self-learning, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal was worth billions, and seems to have only been an ambitious first step.
Google Nest Labs later announced it was buying Dropcam, a home-monitoring camera startup that stores its footage in the Cloud. Users are able to check in on their home anytime, anywhere. This is all signaling a move toward the “smart home.”
Imagine a house where everything is connected through the Cloud. Energy is managed effectively by automatic lights that switch on when you wake up and switch off when you leave a room, and by thermostats that adjust themselves based on ambient temperature or whether anybody is at home. Home security systems arm themselves once you leave the house, and appliances will send you updates on their performance, or alert you to any necessary maintenance.
The smart home also has the potential to be safer, with carbon monoxide detection that shuts off the furnace when the CO count in your home reaches unhealthy levels, as well as health-monitoring technology. Which leads us to . . .
2. Smart Health
The Cloud is also revamping healthcare technology, opening up all kinds of exciting options that enable patients and doctors to collect and analyze more health information than ever before.
There’s already the HapiFork, a “smart fork” that connects with your phone or tablet and downloads data about your eating habits. It even vibrates to tell you to slow down when you’re eating too fast. We’re not far from utensils that count our caloric intake, or water bottles that measure how much water we drink.
Additionally, companies are already working on “smartwatches” and other accessories that monitor brain waves, glucose levels, cardiovascular health, and other vital signs. Google is testing a nanotechnology pill that will monitor the body for diseases and upload data using the Cloud.
3. Driverless Cars
This innovation hasn’t become mainstream yet, but watch out—it’s coming. Corporations are already testing self-driving cars, and the results are very encouraging, with robo-cars making fewer errors and having fewer accidents than manned vehicles. And states like Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan, as well as the District of Columbia, have already passed legislation regulating the licensing and test-driving of automated cars.
What does this have to do with the Cloud? A lot of the driverless car’s processing is performed in the Cloud. Cars will also be able to communicate with each other, enabling them to send hazard warnings or traffic notices.
So, what can we expect from Cloud-based cars? One application is cars “on demand.” Like streaming your favorite music or checking your email, it will become just as easy to request transportation on your phone or tablet and have a driverless car pull to the curb, ready to go.
Driverless cars could also eliminate the dangers of speeding, or drunk or distracted driving. Potentially, traffic congestion could become a thing of the past, decreasing commuting times and increasing leisure opportunities. However, this technology would also drastically impact those who make their living in transportation, like cab or truck drivers.
4. Classrooms in the Cloud
The education industry is already enjoying many of the perks of Cloud technology, like easier collaboration between students and teachers on assignments. Digital resources are slowly eliminating textbooks, allowing students to access them through a “virtual locker,” which is also leading to a slow phasing out of expensive copiers and printers. Unified Communications platforms, like Jive Cloud, are taking over for dated legacy phone systems, freeing up budget dollars while delivering enterprise-grade telecommunications.
But the classroom will no doubt continue to evolve. In five or ten years, maybe textbooks will give way to apps and game-based learning. E-learning may overtake face-to-face learning. Tablets and smartphones may be replaced by sleeker, smarter mobile devices. But no matter how much the classroom changes, you can bet that teacher and student access to the Cloud will remain essential.
5. Office of the Future
Companies are always looking for ways to become more agile and adaptable. That’s why the workplace is one of the fastest adopters of Cloud technology. Cloud adoption and “State of the Cloud” surveys consistently confirm that most companies have already migrated certain functions to the Cloud and plan on adding more in the future.
What does the Cloud mean for the office of the future?
Increased mobility for one thing. Having data, reports, and other office resources available on a phone or other mobile device already a given for several organizations. This opens up a future where workers don’t have to be tied to a desk or office to get their job done.
The mobility advantages are also helpful when it comes to disaster recovery. When misfortune strikes (a flood, a tornado, an earthquake, or even Godzilla), Cloud technology enables businesses to bounce back quickly. Data, settings, and configurations are stored remotely and can usually be recovered by just plugging in your computer or phone at your new location.
The Cloud also gives startups access to a virtual infrastructure without having to invest heavily in expensive equipment. Phones, faxes, conference bridges, and voicemail are all available through the Cloud and can be easily scaled to suit both large or modest teams.
The Cloud: It’s Everywhere
The point is, there’s no escaping the Cloud—and that’s a good thing. The Cloud places the world literally at our fingertips, with navigation and entertainment and resources available at the press of a touchscreen. That’s why Jive’s service-delivery platform, Jive Cloud, was purpose-built to deliver its Unified Communications products via the Cloud. Jive is one of the few phone system options that was born in and built for the Cloud.