If there is one technology that has changed our habits almost without us realising it, it is surely the cloud. The possibility of uploading all our documents to file storage platforms, software that lets us work remotely, sharing material and content with all our colleagues. Professional services that host the entire computer infrastructures of big companies. The cloud has changed the way we use the internet and made our experience as users simpler, quicker and more efficient.
Though it is already one of the most widespread technologies, the cloud does not look set to stop growing. According to a recent report by Gartner, the global market grew by 17.5% in 2019, from 182 billion dollars to 214 billion dollars. But that is just the beginning. It is estimated that in 2022, the cloud will reach 331 billion dollars, almost doubling its current value.
But why this vertiginous growth? First of all, because – as Gartner's study goes on – more than a third of the world's biggest companies consider investments in the cloud a priority. And that is not all. About 30% of companies wish to move to a cloud-only model in the next few years, that is to say one in which all their technological infrastructure is based on the cloud.
And it is precisely to support the digital transformation of businesses that TIM has signed a partnership with Google Cloud. This agreement will see it become Italy's top player in cloud and edge computing services, further speeding up the digitalisation of Italian companies, from SMEs to big business. In support of this development, TIM will invest in building its own cutting-edge data centres (up to Tier IV), and take on up to 800 engineers specialising in the cloud.
The three sides to the cloud
The success of cloud solutions can be attributed to three things: flexibility, scalability and safety. Entrusting their own online infrastructures to the cloud is the best solution for most companies, because it lets them use them regardless of where they are physically. It is a solution of unparalleled flexibility.
Its scalability is even more evident. Today, any expanding company that does not use the cloud will need to get hold of other servers or even build new data centres, at high costs and at the risk of finding themselves with a lot of unused hardware in the future. But on the cloud, they can expand their data and services by simply changing their payment plan, then reduce the space they use should they ever need less.
Finally, safety. Using cloud services means trusting another company to maintain and defend an entire infrastructure, freeing the main company, especially if it is a small one, of complicated work that demands a lot of investment and that is often done inefficiently.
Living in the clouds
The cloud is becoming crucial to the business world, offering as it does safety, lower costs and efficiency. The increasing integration of the cloud and 5G is a further step forward. The new generation of mobile data transmission will have an average speed of at least 1 gigabit per user and a latency of between 20 and 40 milliseconds, up on today's 2 milliseconds. It will make the cloud the go-to choice internet users of all stripes.
Why archive films, music, videos, photos and other physical documents on your computer or even smartphone, when you can upload them to the cloud, where they will be safe and there for you at any moment, regardless of the device in your hands? The problem of limited memory on smartphones could become a thing of the past, because with 5G you will be able to upload and download large files, even of multiple gigabytes, in a matter of seconds. Inevitably, keeping documents inside devices will become less convenient and popular.
There is more. Thanks to the marriage of 5G and the cloud, the concept of mobile internet will taken on new meaning, spawning unprecedented opportunities in business, industry and entertainment. Video games that are streamed – and therefore on the cloud – will also be able to be played on mobile devices, without threatening to drain smartphone bandwidths or memories. You will also be able to experiment with virtual or augmented reality without having a WiFi connection or all the software for it downloaded on your devices.
The experience of smart or remote working is evolving in step, as the cloud and 5G are making the digital workplace more and more similar to the real one. Combining these two technological innovations means being able to exchange documents and materials almost instantly and hold video conferences in high-definition, even on smartphones.
Gradually, the whole digital world, from the smallest files to whole business infrastructures, will be hosted on the cloud, as this technology looms ever greater in our daily lives.