Speaker Adam Papendieck discussed cloud computing as one of the latest developments in data and Internet technology. Cloud computing, or “the cloud” as Adam says, is simply the concept of storing and managing data that is accessible anywhere at anytime. While simultaneously changing business models and the way people interact here, it is highly beneficial to developing nations as well, breaking down barriers to entry and helping entrepreneurs, small and large scale businesses, researchers, and governments. These clouds are not white, puffy, and loose. They are powerful, offering IT infrastructure at a reasonable cost. In fact, in India, cloud computing is projected to grow into a 15 billion dollar industry by next year. In India, Africa, and South America cloud computing gives organizations a way to connect through online applications like Google Docs. Developing countries can tap into cloud resources and compete, which provides many possibilities.
What I found particularly interesting is that the cloud also has its challenges, and furthermore, these challenges are very similar to problems that we have seen with many other ICT initiatives. The lack of connectivity and bandwidth capabilities in many areas of the world is a huge issue. The large data that the cloud can account for requires more bandwidth, making it something that some areas will not be able to utilize. Electricity remains unpredictable in some regions, making information on the cloud vulnerable to loss. And, as we saw with cyber security, cloud users must be aware of backup, privacy, and security issues. Developing countries must keep these things in mind. While cloud computing is a powerful tool for all, challenges for developing countries remain.