The PC Magazine article by Lance Ulanoff linked below focuses mostly on the ownership of what is now generally called “content” that is articles, books, music, video or anything else we read see or hear. I find it interesting because I am essentially a content provider. However there is another very significant finding that Ulanoff discusses and that is the maturity and the potential of…”The Cloud”
Its almost shocking to watch the fundamental distrust of “the cloud” fade away in favor of cloud-based content storage and access. As recently as last year, the cloud came under attack with every Google service failure on Gmail or Google Docs. “There it is,” the critics cried, “proof positive that the cloud cannot be trusted. You must have constant access to all of your e-mail and files 24/7. Anything less than that is a disaster.”
When we buy a book or a video what we are really doing is assuring access to that “content” whenever we want. If we want to read it we just go to the shelf and get it. But if we can just go to the Internet and get it streamed to out e-reader we have the same benefit of ownership we just don’t actually have a physical book.
So how about a patient chart? We have charts stacked on shelves because we need assured access to that info whenever we need it. However if we could get the same chart info from the cloud anywhere any time wouldn’t that be just as good. In fact better as you could get the data at home or while traveling you don’t have to actually be at your office.
From a purely intellectual point of view cloud storage of digital content makes perfect sense it just seems strange and risky to us. However as Ulanoff notes that attitude is rapidly changing.
Data storage is just one aspect of cloud computing. What is even better but also even harder to accept is that the actual computing takes place in the cloud. We don’t have any software applications installed on our local computer we just exchange data with a big server in the sky and the actual processing of the data takes place in the cloud.
This idea was originally called ASP (Application Service Provider) and has been a wonderful but elusive geek dream for almost twenty years. Several dental management systems have been launched based on the ASP or cloud model and the early ones all failed. As have most of the general cloud based business applications. They failed for a variety of reasons including people’s distrust of the Internet and worries about the system failing.