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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Head in the clouds

If the future is mobile technology then cloud computing is the key. Essentially, it enables users to draw down software, infrastructure, and storage as separate components or a complete platform via the Internet on demand. As with all technology most of us use it without understanding how it works or why.

So it is hardly surprising that a survey of Americans in which they were asked what their understanding was of cloud computing came up with a wide range of answers.

The survey found that ninety-five percent of those claiming they never use the cloud actually do so via online banking and shopping, social networking, and storing photos and music. But why should they know or even care. After all it is not important that they understand the technology they are using, just that they are able to use it:

The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted in August 2012 by Wakefield Research and shows that while the cloud is widely used, it is still misunderstood. For example, 51 percent of respondents, including a majority of Millennials, believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing. Nearly one third see the cloud as a thing of the future, yet 97 percent are actually using cloud services today via online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing. Despite this confusion, three in five (59 percent) believe the "workplace of the future" will exist entirely in the cloud, which indicates people feel it's time to figure out the cloud or risk being left behind in their professional lives.

These survey responses show there is a significant disconnect between what Americans know, what they pretend to know, and what they actually do when it comes to cloud computing. Among the key findings:

People feign knowledge about the cloud: One in five Americans (22 percent) admit that they've pretended to know what the cloud is or how it works. Some of the false claims take place during work hours, with one third of these respondents faking an understanding of the cloud in the office and another 14 percent doing so during a job interview. Interestingly, an additional 17 percent have pretended to know what the cloud was during a first date.

As a topic of conversation this could run and run.
I am sad to admit that I am one of the 22% of Americans who feigned knowledge of the cloud when I knew nothing about it. However, I had to learn quickly when my company decided to pursue enterprise cloud computing technologies. I found out I had been using the cloud for years without ever knowing. It's interesting how something so integral to daily technology functions can go ignored. The cloud is a bit like gravity. You know something is holding everything in place, but you can't see it, and if you never learned about it, you wouldn't know it existed.
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