This bit of news might come as an unpleasant shock to software giants who still have the bulk of their businesses tied to a workstation/local PC model. According to the latest research by major research company Gartner, the cloud will soon replace the personal computer in how consumers use their computing. Just how soon? 2014. While that year might seem surprising to some, it should not be considering the explosion of iPads, smart phones, and a wide variety of devices that require wireless connectivity to do their functions. Come to think of it this was predicted by big computing giants back in the 90s. The only difference is this future reality is wireless while the earlier failed dream of interconnectivity is a wired version consisting of interlinked “dumb terminals.”
According to Gartner, cloud services will become the connecting technology for the interlinking these differing devices. More and more consumers use these devices for differing aspects of their daily lives. Microsoft’s Windows 8 system weaves cloud capabilities. The same goes with Apple. Google isn’t being left behind either. Through an initiative dubbed Google Play, the search behemoth aims to give its users cloud service features including storage on one’s own personal cloud.
While there are substantial application development and software obstacles to cloud-centered computing, these challenges can be overcome if there is a market demand for it. Still, there is one large hurdle-requiring enterprises to rethink their application and service delivery model. Old thinking habits and paradigms die hard. There is also the problem of institutional inertia since shifting to a cloud-based model might mean a disruption regarding existing infrastructures, both hardware and personnel. Indeed, some see the recent launch of the new iPad as a key event in pushing enterprises to move to a cloud-based model Gartner sees the explosive consumerization of cloud-based services as providing a key push in the rise of cloud systems. Other factors include virtualization, the rise of apps, shift to mobility, and finally, the self-service cloud.
According to the report, Gartner sees the whole cloud-based system as not revolving around devices but around the personal cloud. Devices become interchangeable. What is important is the data stored on the cloud. The personal cloud data management service, Dropbox gives a glimpse of the device-interchangability future. The focus is on the cloud not the specific device used to access it.