So, now that the cat is out of the bag, where’s it going from here? What kinds of developments are we going to see in cloud computing over the next decade? It’s hard to say for certain, but there are some trends that are likely to develop:• The battle between Google and Apple will encompass consumer cloud solutions. The cloud is going to be the next battleground between Google and Apple, as we watch iOS and Android struggle for dominance. It’s possible that one or the other will come out on top; it’s also possible that various third-party solutions that are truly cross-platform (the way the cloud is supposed to be) will win the day.
• Cloud computing will raise the stakes in the push for municipal WiFi connectivity. Many local governments are either implementing or at least considering offering a public WiFi option. With so many basic consumer apps moving to the cloud, it will make even more sense to implement this kind of infrastructure.
• Random cloud-enabled devices will start to appear on the market. Some will be very useful, such as cloud-enabled home security systems. Others will be, for all intents and purposes, useless (cloud-enabled dog food bowl, anyone?)
• Cloud computing standards will begin to emerge. The sooner this happens, the better. Cloud computing is in its Wild West days right now, and so it has to go through a process of maturation and development before standards can begin to take over. How long this takes depends a lot on how those early adopters (mostly enterprises and larger businesses) respond to those developing standards.
• Home PCs will scale down even further. Today’s home computers don’t need to be tremendously powerful in order to run cloud apps. The last vestige of beefy home PCs – the gaming community – will continue to demand larger, faster hardware, but most consumers won’t need it. This will help to accelerate the move that many consumers are making to portable computing devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
Cloud computing is changing the way that we work and live. While it’s a little bit too early to tell for sure, there are many indications that cloud computing may be the most significant thing to happen to the Internet since the advent of social media. We can’t be sure where this will all go, but it’s guaranteed to be an interesting ride.