How cloud computing is levelling the playing field

Cloud computing is levelling the playing field for SMEs, according to Ian Gavin, Managing Director of Amazon Web Services UK.

Cloud technology is constantly evolving and businesses that have so far held back from engaging with cloud could be missing out on some of the incredible opportunities that it presents. 
Put simply, cloud computing allows IT capacity to be added when it’s needed and removed when it is no longer required. Although the concept is simple, it has completely changed the way we interact with technology. Take mobile for example, pre-cloud, content would be moved to – and stored on – the device. Now, devices are simply a viewing platform for content and services that live in the cloud.
Cloud formation
Cloud has expanded and is now used to power many everyday, internet-enabled devices and services. British Gas use the cloud to power their home automation technology, Hive. Samsung use the cloud to power their Smart TVs, and Spotify use it to store their rapidly expanding song archive. In this way, Spotify can store over 20,000 new tracks per day, which would have been nearly impossible using traditional technology hardware.
As we move into the future, we’ll see even more cloud-driven innovation. UK food-ordering service Just-Eat already uses cloud-computing technologies to calculate and process billions of delivery routes to determine the exact driving time between a customer’s location and the restaurant. The possibilities for this technology are endless.
A case in point
A great example of a business using the cloud for mobile applications is Hailo, a London-based start-up that has launched a free smartphone app that can hail you a taxi in two taps – one to open the app and one to hit the ‘pick me up' button. This communicates your location to a nearby licensed cab that’s also equipped with the app. Cloud computing has enabled Hailo to expand around the world without any additional investment in technology infrastructure, and without the need to re-architect its application.
The business advantage 
Cloud computing allows companies to try out new concepts immediately, as there is no up-front investment and users pay only for the resources used. This is particularly exciting news for SMEs, who can launch good ideas as soon as they’re hatched. If the idea succeeds, the cloud can help the company grow quickly; if an idea fails, a business isn’t left with wasted technology investments.
As such, cloud computing has levelled the playing field: smaller companies gain the resources to compete in ways that were often cost-prohibitive in the past. Lowering this barrier to innovation has created a surge of new businesses that are challenging traditional business models and bringing exciting new services to companies and consumers.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK