Personal & Business Technology – did they get it right?

I was up early this morning and one of my regularly scheduled Google Alerts had this article (below), from a writer, discussing a similar decision I’ve been pondering for some time now… What device and platform is best for me and my business?

Sure, I have my fleet of desktops in the house – at last count our family of 5 has a CAT5 and wireless network throughout the house, connecting 5 desktops, 3 laptops, and numerous personal devices – tablets, ipods, iphones, etc. – probably typical of most families now a days… Working primarily from home, my office has it’s high-powered desktop (need for various engineering and business development projects), and then there’s my laptop for portability (attending client meetings etc.), and then my iPAD and iPhone were my personal portable devices.

Recently I switched over to Android portable devices – giving my iPhone to our daughter – since this past year has shown me the power of Google’s OS and cloud computing for both business and personal use. So, I switched over to a Samsung Gallaxy S3 and Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet.  I have to agree with Eric (link to post below), the new Nexus 7 is a powerful device and I too find myself doing my emails, social media and even project writings (even this post), right on Google’s new 7″ tablet.  The smaller form factor fits in one hand, which I really like, and the screen is just big enough to view content fully.

Aside from liking the Nexus 7 (and the Samsung S3), what I enjoy the most is that all of may data, files, communications, access to social media, blogs, sites, etc. are identical on all my devices – same applications, same data – simply the same (this is one of the benefits of the Google cloud solutions with Google Drive).  So for me, it’s the desktop for when I need high-end software, and it’s my Nexus 7 for portable computing/connectivity.  My cell is always with me so in a pinch it too can do most of what the Nexus does, just a smaller screen and it’s my phone.  For now, the laptop seems to be the odd-man-out…

So that’s my take on technology and it has been quite a swing for me – one who was previously deeply entrenched in the traditional PC-based email and content.  Now, for the most part, hardware is simply a commodity that I can switch quite readily – as proven by a recent harddisk failure on my PC (actually it was just yesterday…).

It truly is nice to have technology make things easier, more secure and efficient!

Why Use the Cloud?

written by Rod Schulhauser for VizzEco Inc.

Cloud (internet) computing has come a long way since the early days of likes of Gmail and Hotmail. Technological advances, such as high-speed internet, mobile devices and communications technology, have made the cloud a very efficient place to operate. Today, cloud computing offers both individuals and businesses tremendous advantages.

Sometimes keeping up with technology can be quite the task.  Businesses, regardless of their size, often face large expenses to keep current with technology.  So what can the cloud do for you?

Here are 10 reasons why you and your business should consider the cloud:

Save on software costs – buying licenses can be a costly affair, whether you are buying for one individual or a whole company.  Often you are faced with the decision to “make do” with what you have, or pay for upgrades.  Businesses have no option but to keep their licenses current—or face the wrath of piracy and the lack of technical support for non-legitimate software installs.  The cost to deploy a full suite of standard office/business applications for one employee is quite substantial, and if you are dealing with mobility the cost only escalates.

Save on hardware costs – software advances often influence the need for hardware upgrades.  New software versions usually require more computing horsepower, requiring hardware upgrades to track software upgrades.  These types of changes are difficult to plan for, budget-wise, since not all software changes are known in advance.  Cloud computing requires internet access and a browser, thus making even mobile computing (tablets, laptops, etc.) costs much lower.  The trend today is that hardware manufacturers are making computing options with cloud-only computing needs—at significantly less cost.

Save on infrastructure costs – the complexity and volume of infrastructure can be reduced with the implementation of cloud solutions.  The number of and constant upgrading of servers, operating systems, and applications can be reduced—saving both time and valuable capital funds.

Deploy valuable IT resources to key business functions – rather than doing upgrades, dealing with bugs etc.—valuable IT resources can be used on key core business projects/functions.  IT should not be thought of a simply a “necessary cost,” they too can be deployed to revenue-generating functions.  These resources are more valuable than what they are typically doing on a daily basis, without cloud deployed in your business.

Increase collaboration and gain efficiency – since data is stored in the cloud instead of on employee computers, multiple users can access and contribute to projects simultaneously without worrying about using the same operating system, software, or browser. For example, instead of collaborating on a document by sending back and forth revision after revision as attachments, documents are stored in the cloud. Coworkers can access the web-based document simultaneously in their browsers, and even make changes that other authorized users can see in real-time. Eliminating attachment round-trips by storing data in the cloud saves time and reduces frustrations for teams who need to work together efficiently.

Mobility is easy – since data is in the cloud, mobile devices can access the information just like other computing devices.  There is a large consumer trend  associated with mobility (hardware and applications) and taking advantage of these advances is enhanced further when your information is stored in the cloud.  You can access your information any time, any where, on any device—this is what makes a business agile and employees efficient.

Save on utilities and go green –  on average, individual employee computers are only used at approximately 10 to 20 percent of their capacity. Similarly, computers are left idle for hours at a times soaking up energy. Pooling resources into a cloud consolidates energy use, for both the users and the servers. When you are in the cloud, you essentially save on costs by paying for what you use and extending the life of your hardware.

Increased business agility – a cloud-based business can adapt to changes and opportunities quickly, since it’s not limited by technology or infrastructure. Cloud applications and their features can come to market much quicker than conventional software, thus brining efficiencies to your business sooner.  The next significant phase of the cloud will embrace social media for business applications, and with cloud computing deployed in your business, you’ll be able to access these revolutionary changes quickly and efficiently.

Better security solution – with data in the cloud, less business data is kept in vulnerable locations.  It is much easier to eliminate troublesome risks at one point, rather than at multiple points—a good example would be cloud email, such as Gmail, versus email on individual computers/clients. Top quality cloud solutions, such as Google, utilize significant numbers of the highest qualified resources to maintain the integrity of their server farms.  Security is increased in the cloud and multi-geographical redundancy secures your data.

Less glitches – Applications serviced through cloud computing require fewer versions (revisions). Upgrades are needed less frequently and are typically managed by data centers. Often, businesses experience problems with software because they are not designed to be used with similar applications. Departments cannot share data because they use different applications. Cloud computing enables users to integrate various types of applications including management systems, word processors, and e-mail. The fewer the glitches, the more productivity expected from employees.