Cloud computing could look quite different in a few years

Two years ago, Wired ran an arresting headline: “The Cloud Computing Era Could Be Nearing Its End.” In the piece, the author suggested that cloud’s much-discussed lag problem, among other things, could prove to be its undoing, and that perhaps an edge computing network was in order.

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But that view of the future now seems unlikely. LinkedIn has said the number-one hard skill companies are looking for in 2019 is a facility with cloud computing. And speaking to CNBC last November, Daniel Zhang, CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said not only that cloud computing will become Alibaba’s “main business” but that “every business will rely on the cloud in the future.”

Almost everything in the digital world is already connected to the cloud in some way, with the exception being data stored locally for security reasons. LogicMonitor’s ‘Cloud Vision 2020: The Future of the Cloud’ study concluded that 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud in a year’s time, while a 2018 SmartCompany report found that cloud technology came second only to smartphones in terms of impact on business efficiency over the past five years. And my own company — a SaaS service for dry cleaners and laundromats — is an example of how cloud services are already reaching far beyond tech companies and enterprises.

In these circumstances, it isn’t too hard to imagine that in the future — maybe as soon as five or 10 years from now — almost all businesses will operate primarily from the cloud, which has implications for cost-efficiency, productivity and flexibility.

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