Welcome to Cloud 2.0…
Cloud 2.0 is being built upon the infrastructure of today’s cloud and will provide significant opportunities to startups and entrepreneurs. In some ways this revolution will be similar to Web 2.0, which capitalized on the technical advances, standardization and ubiquitous reach of the Internet to create new digital platforms, applications, social networks, and content sharing resources. What’s most exciting is that because Cloud 2.0 is still in its infancy, forward thinking startups and entrepreneurs that embrace the next generation of cloud computing now will reap substantial benefits for years to come.
Where Does The Cloud Stand Today?
It was only a few years ago that the idea of “the cloud” was still relatively obscure to those outside of Big Data, Networking, and SaaS (software as a service). Given this reality, it is amazing just how rapidly cloud computing has entered the mainstream and become a staple in the lexicon of the average American. Today, the cloud has expanded to encompass a broad range of services and technologies, including PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a Service). It’s also been firmly embraced by some of the most important technology companies in the world, with big players like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, and IBM all heavily invested in its success.
It’s my guess that the average reader of this article will already have a decent understanding of what the cloud is. In order to contrast today’s cloud with Cloud 2.0 however, it’ll be worth providing a quick and basic definition. Simply put, the cloud is a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet. Because they are all connected through the web, they provide both businesses and individuals with the ability to store, access, manage, and process data without the use of local servers or personal computers.
The average consumer’s cloud experience might be embodied in their use of DropBox for file storage and sharing, or iCloud for backing up their Apple devices, or Google Drive for storing and sharing different documents. For businesses, the cloud can be used for things like CRM, electronic records storage, system networking, and advanced computation.
So What Makes Cloud 2.0 Different?
It may be hard to remember, but in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Internet was a fairly static experience. Social networks like Facebook (and even Myspace) did not yet exist, nor did mobile integration with the web. It was not until the mid 2000s, as the Internet matured and technical advances continued, that a dynamic and interactive web replaced a static web. This unprecedented boom transformed not only the Internet, but the lives of virtually all human beings on the planet. Suddenly we were managing our schedules with Google Calendars, connecting with long lost friends on Facebook, streaming live music on Pandora, and increasing business productivity through Zoho.
The Cloud 2.0 will be the exact same thing because the current cloud has created a mature infrastructure that’s ripe for opportunities in innovation.
Some of these new innovations will be in the continuing expansion and development of powerful cloud based applications. These applications will be increasingly integrated with mobile, thus enhancing the capabilities and functionality of tablets and smartphones.
Other innovations will be in the strengthening of currently existing Cloud 1.0 competencies. Data storage, virtualization, edge computing, and security are all still in their infancy, and there will be almost limitless opportunities to expand both their efficiency and capabilities. Concepts that are on the fringe now, like cloud-based programming will begin to be universally adapted because they drastically increase the speed and simplicity with which new applications and platforms can be created. And of course, Big Data and analytics will continue to be pushed forward because of the incredible and ever expanding availability of computing power.
3 Opportunities That Cloud 2.0 Provides…
Now finally, let’s get to the explicit opportunities that Cloud 2.0 provides to motivated entrepreneurs and startups:
1. Because of continuous development and competition between the major players like Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Microsoft – access to the cloud is now ridiculously cheap. Even a small startup in a garage can leverage the cloud’s capabilities to develop a new app, offer secure data storage and security to a mega corporation, or create a unique content sharing platform.
2. Those same large companies that have driven costs down through fierce competition are also stuck in the business model of “cloud vendor,” rather than being true cloud-based SaaS or PaaS companies. That’s not to say they won’t make forays (most already have), but rather they will have trouble fully committing because so many resources, and so much of their money, is still tied up in being a cloud gatekeeper.
3. Which means that nimble, agile, and fast-moving startups can seize on the new opportunities afforded by the Cloud 2.0 and carve out significant niches and market spaces for themselves without worrying about the immediate pressures of competition from the cloud’s giants.
Putting It Together And Moving Forward…
Through technology and continuous innovation, the Cloud 2.0 definition will likely continue to expand and change. Yet even so, it’s important to understand that there are very real, very tangible differences between how the cloud of 2016 will look compared to the cloud of today. And the entrepreneurs, startups, and tech-based companies that recognize this coming sea change now will be perfectly positioned to capitalize upon it when the floodgates open.