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How Cloud Computing Facilitates the Sharing Economy
It’s what the sharing economy is all about. It’s a social system based on efficiently using other’s assets – from data and consumer goods to talents and office space – and offering the same in return. It’s a village approach that values the overall success of all businesses – and cloud computing plays a key role.
Cloud computing – the use of offsite servers on the web for data storage and retrieval – frees up a business’ staff and funds to projects other than IT, maintenance and integration.
But it’s not all about the fad. According to an IBM study, companies who use cloud computing report twice as much revenue growth, and nearly 2.5 times more gross profit growth than those who don’t.
But how exactly does cloud computing fit into this ecosystem we call the sharing economy?
Sharing (and saving) with strangers
All this respectful collaboration has a feel-good quality about it.
Airbnb, a community marketplace for travelers looking to book rooms to rent in people’s homes, is often a steal. Clients are background-checked.
Startup FlightCar, will park and wash your car at the airport – so long as you let them rent it out while you’re away.
It’s the same with cloud storage. You share your most important data and information on the web. Trust, then, is the key – whether it’s the keys to your Saab convertible or your life’s work of data on someone else’s server.
Nothing is 100% guaranteed, but we feel safe depositing our checks in the bank or dropping our kids off at school. Trends indicated that same trust in the cloud.
A Wall Street Journal report slapped a $41 billion global-market value on cloud computing in 2011. Technology research and advisory firm predicts that figure will be $148.8 billion in 2014, and another firm, Forrester, sees the worth at $241 billion in 2020.
Sharing economy: Lean and mean
The sharing economy fosters leanness and agility for small businesses and startups.
Corporate America, denser and less agile, can’t ignore the impact that this sharing economy has on consumer behavior. The shared-economy startup is no longer the ill-regarded anomaly. It’s the blueprint for success that big companies need to replicate – or acquire.
Early in 2013, Avis, the world’s second-biggest car rental company, bought car-sharing startup Zipcar for $500 million. Zipcar and its peers, who’ve begun to reap their share of venture capital, alter the establishment by meeting the consumer in their tech-savvy, asset-efficient element.
Other applications are more business savvy endeavors.
Cloudability is a service that helps track your cloud costs. You can track, analyze and share your multi-cloud spending and usage data, companywide. You can determine how many of each RI are needed to be provisioned perfectly with the Reserve Instance Planner feature.
Digital Ocean offers simple cloud housing starting at $5 a month. Built for developers, Digital Ocean gives 20GB SSD and 512MB memory. It has launched more than a million cloud servers, offering quick, easy signup and deployment. The site also offers tutorials on set up, installation and scaling.
It isn’t just for startups
More often, consumers give their business to companies that provide services, not just products. With influences such as Toyswap, which lets parents trade toys their kids have grown out of in exchange for age-appropriate items, big companies such as BMW and Toyota have altered their approach.
These major automobile manufacturers have entertained the concept of car rentals from their lots, in addition to sales. It’s still in development, but it’s a signal of the sharing economy’s upward mobility. In a sharing economy, there’s plenty of opportunity to get a fair share.
And in the business and information sector, cloud computing is helping to spread the wealth.
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