The Cloud is without a doubt the trending buzzword of this decade. While it will be an ongoing drive to teach and learn more about the potential that cloud technologies have in store for us, they have already started to integrate into almost every facet of our digital lives.
To date, business has been the key driving force behind the incredible growth we have seen with cloud services. But as companies explore new avenues to monetise or perhaps revolutionise cloud services, we are seeing some innovative uses for The Cloud emerge in the consumer market. We are also seeing incredible growth in the number of social media interactions between consumers, businesses and indeed the interaction between companies and consumers.
It does not take a genius to see where we are headed. Services such as Office365, LiveDrive, and Dropbox are showing us that there is a demand for cloud based consumer services, while social media it fast becoming a communication method of choice for millions of people around the world. We are also seeing the convergence of personal life with business life and the resulting impact to the workplace.
For social media and the cloud to become truly cohesive however, we’ll need technologies that can communicate cross-platform. Ironically, the trend we are seeing today is that social media platforms and cloud service providers are tightening the restrictions on their API’s and killing cross-platform operability. Does this mean that the open Internet is dying because these giant industry players are closing their systems to interoperability? I don’t think so. We are merely at the point where these industry leaders want to show their clout by forcing their technology standards onto the web hoping they’ll become the global standard.
Think of it as a growth path, our exploration of the digital realm is still in its infancy and there are many barriers still to cross. The big battleground for social networking, and in some instances for cloud services, will be the interface you choose to access these digital services. We should also start to see interoperability return to mainstream digital services in the coming years. Essentially, the underlying cloud services or social media platform you subscribe to will become transparent to the network you communicate with, be it business or consumer focused.
The jury is still out on whether our digital lives will consist of a stream of social interactions or if email will continue to dominate as method digital communication. Perhaps social media will fulfil the “chat” role or perhaps we’ll see a combination of both as the preferred method of communication. I tend to lean towards the latter.
Either way as we build new technologies to enhance what is capable with The Cloud, interoperability will become key. Not only between cloud services, but interoperability between social networks and the cloud services consumers want to use. In a nutshell, true cross-platform collaboration.