2020 was a huge year for digital transformation. With the global pandemic came the need for everybody, not only programmers and website development consultants, to go virtual. And with the shift to digital, cloud computing also became highly relevant.
Now, the industry is expanding rapidly, with more companies switching to cloud computing than ever before. As a result, it’s expected to grow from $371.4 billion in 2020 to $832.1 billion by 2025, according to a report from Research and Markets.
But what is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is when data is stored on the internet rather than a server or computer. It allows for on-demand access to resources like applications, servers, data storage, and more.
Companies that host these resources are called cloud service providers (CSP). Some of the biggest CSPs include Amazon Web Services, NetApp, and Google Cloud.
By using CSPs, customers essentially borrow the infrastructure to store resources. This helps to save on IT costs and allows for faster scalability.
Companies both big and small can take advantage of cloud computing, from e-commerce for enterprise businesses to your local coffee shop.
Many of the services we use day-to-day employ cloud computing. This includes communication tools like Gmail, smart home devices like Alexa and Siri, streaming services like Netflix, and social media platforms like Facebook.
As the cloud computing industry continues to grow and evolve, however, it may become difficult to keep up with the latest trends and changes. So, to help consolidate all the newest information, we’re sharing the top seven cloud computing trends to expect in 2021.
1. Collaboration tools will become more specific and simple
With remote work now the norm, there has been a surge in the use of collaboration or productivity tools. In 2021, people will likely keep working from home, and collaboration tools will be critical to productivity.
Video conferencing, screen sharing, and chats will all become more integrated. This will lead to easier communication between teams. Other AI advancements such as noise cancellation and virtual backgrounds will continue to improve and be more widely used.
Collaboration tools are also becoming more niche. There are now apps specifically designed for all sorts of teams, from legal to engineering. These highly specific apps may meet your needs better than 8×8 or other large platforms, so it’s best to do your research and see which app is the closest fit for your team.
2. AI will be used more widely in the workplace
Artificial intelligence (AI) covers a wide range of things, including chatbots, location services, and digital assistants. It aims to automate repetitive tasks, thus saving time and money.
Its growth will continue this year, with worldwide revenue for the AI market projected to surpass $300 billion by 2024.
As companies push to optimise and streamline their business, AI will be even more relevant in the workplace. It may be implemented to automate payroll, forecast budgets, or improve compliance. Employees will also be able to save time on things like expenses reports, invoices, and data analysis.
With AI, companies will be able to eliminate most manual tasks and instead focus on innovation. For businesses with limited resources or tight budgets, technology like AI will therefore be of the utmost importance.
3. Healthcare will move to the cloud
Healthcare has been migrating to the cloud for the past several years and will continue to do so in 2021. In fact, the global market for cloud technologies in the healthcare industry is projected to grow by $25.54 billion during 2020-2024.
Since cloud computing allows healthcare systems to store data online, this has opened the door for telehealth. Patients can get healthcare right to their door and do many routine check-ups or consultations online.
According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, telehealth adoption has been accelerated by approximately two years due to the global pandemic.
The flexibility of cloud computing will also save money for healthcare companies. For example, since patient visits increase during flu season, they can increase their cloud capacity during this time. During the summer, when fewer people are sick, they can decrease it.
This also allows companies to reduce spend on the latest hardware or software updates, as the CSP will manage it all.
4. Edge computing will dominate
Edge computing has grown in popularity in recent years. It’s like cloud computing in that it stores data and information online, but it stores it locally (aka ‘on the edge’). It brings data storage closer to the devices being used, eliminating the need to rely on keeping data in a faraway, central location.
Edge computing is very useful in remote locations where there is little connectivity to the sort of centralised site where data would normally be stored. It can also ease any latency issues that affect the speed or performance of real-time applications.
For example, if you are in a self-driving car, instead of running the algorithm through a traditional cloud computing service, edge computing can run it locally. This improves the efficiency and speed of the delivery.
Edge computing is used for other Internet of Things (IoT) technology, such as facial recognition, remote doorbells, smart light switches, Bluetooth, and temperature control systems.
As IoT becomes more popular, we can see how edge computing will be increasingly relevant to our lives.
5. Serverless computing will grow
Serverless cloud computing is a relatively new development and is especially helpful for software developers. Instead of having to maintain, update, and scale up servers, CSPs are responsible for allocating resources.
Source: Coding Sans
Since the cloud provider only charges the company when it assigns resources to deliver a piece of code, it can be an enormous cost-cutter for companies.
This frees up more time for employees to focus on customer-facing features like UX and UI, as there is no need to worry about infrastructure. With this, we can expect to see the development of more developer collaboration tools to help front-end teams further optimise workflow. These types of tools can be better utilised if there is less time spent on the back-end.
Given that serverless computing is more energy-efficient, cost-efficient, and flexible, it’s easy to see why its popularity will continue to grow this year.
6. Virtual cloud desktops will be more common
Virtual cloud desktops (or desktop as a service, DaaS) deliver workstations to us via the cloud. This means that everything from computer settings to operating systems are delivered over the internet.
As work from home becomes the norm, DaaS will become increasingly important as it allows us to work from anywhere and on any device. According to Gartner, DaaS will grow at an annual rate of 58.8% by 2023.
DaaS also helps to cut costs, as businesses can eliminate the need for hardware updates and redundant technology. Further, since it is a by-the-hour subscription model, businesses can predict costs ahead of time and adjust their needs on-demand.
For example, if a company hires new employees, they will need to increase their capabilities. If using virtual desktops, this can be done easily.
It is also secure. Everything is backed up automatically and stored in a secure data centre. Since everything is centralised, it’s much safer than if all the data was stored on an individual device. And it can be recovered quickly if damaged.
7. Cloud gaming will rise in popularity
The gaming industry will likely look more like the TV and movie industry in the next year.
Traditionally, users would buy a console or pay for individual games online. With cloud gaming, users can stream a large number of games for a flat fee, similar to Netflix. Players can also play games on any device, such as a phone, tablet, or computer.
The industry is already growing quickly, and its revenue is projected to reach $3.74 billion by 2023.
Cloud gaming may also give rise to alternatives to Discord, one of the leading social gaming platforms. These niche social gaming platforms are gaining steam and will continue to attract new users this year.
Cloud computing in 2021
There’s no doubt that cloud computing is something we cannot ignore. With such fast developments and innovations, it’s clear that the industry as it is today looks completely different from how it will appear in 2022, let alone five years from now.
All we can do is buckle up for the ride and make sure we’re aboard.