3 Cloud Computing Solutions for You and Your Small Business
“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined it to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?” – Larry Ellison, Chairman, Oracle
As the cloud computing model continues to grow and provide a great array of services, some of the most prominent ones include cloud storage and cloud video surveillance. We’ve previously discussed the advantages to setting a cloud video surveillance system.Traditionally, hard drives and portable storage devices have been how users accessed their data. As a form of networked online storage, cloud storage differs from traditional storage methods in a couple of ways.
Its growing popularity is influencing even the top network attached storage vendors such as Barracuda and Seagate, whom are now offering their own cloud solutions to compete with the likes of Carbonite and Dropbox.
Cloud storage has evolved and is now more than just a “backup solution” to backing up data on a local network attached storage. It’s not enough to just offer storage, that’s a commodity. Companies need to have a focused solution, and are now using cloud storage to make offerings built around specific solutions, including:
#3. Collaborative and Productivity Solutions
When Frost & Sullivan performed a global study of more than 3,500 businesses and IT leaders, they concluded that companies have increased their return on investment by 400% from their collaborative investments, including cloud-based efforts.
A common feature available in cloud storage is the capability of immediately syncing different types of documents online, which eliminates the need for data to be physically moved from one computer to the next. This will ensure you and the rest of the team have the most up-to-date versions of spreadsheets, training documents, and business proposals in order to collaborate effectively.
The most popular collaborative tool to use is Basecamp. Basecamp is an intuitive project management tool that allows entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses to collaborate, gain feedback, and ensure your project is running smoothly. The tool has a ton of cool features including project calendars, task lists, comment sections, as well as a great variety of community-made add-ons. Currently some of the biggest brands are using Basecamp, including Twitter, Nike, Fox Sports, Kellogs, and NASA.
Jason Zimdar recently wrote a blog about Basecamp’s potential as a Smartwatch application. If the usage of smartwatches continues to gain popularity, we might see a smartwatch version of the application come to life in the near future.
Another popular collaborative platform is Box. Box is a web-based project management application that helps you securely store, share, and manage all your company’s files. Whether you need to secure confidential business information, develop a custom mobile app, or simplify administrative and workflow processes, Box aims to give its users the space to share and implement ideas easily.
Box is also one of the more popular web-based project management applications, offering a slew of features including to-do lists, milestone management, file sharing, and time tracking. They even offer their software in multiple languages including Spanish, German, and Polish.
#2. Sales and Marketing Solutions
Let’s face it, in this day and age your entire customer database is in the cloud.
The power of cloud computing has benefited the marketing industry by allowing some of the greatest minds in the industry to create a number of solutions, and one of my personal favorites is Mailchimp.
Mailchimp is an online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails, and track results. With over 7 million users, Mailchimp is currently the most popular email-marketing service. Mailchimp also has a page dedicated to some of its most creative users titled “Look What You Can Do with MailChimp”. The page’s goal is to showcase both the tool’s and its customers’ creative capabilities, with the page getting updated every week to ensure it’s showcasing the latest content. Many other cloud-based marketing solutions have had huge successes including IPOs such as Hubspot and Marketo. Hubspot in particular has been dominating the marketing automation space, offering an extremely large variety of content, webinars, and e-books for free.
Another great tool is Salesforce. Salesforce is the most widely used customer relationship management software with over 100,000 customers as of 2014. The software manages all of a company’s important customer information in one place. This is done by keeping track of leads and prospects across sales, marketing, tasks, and performance with its deep management tools.
Salesforce has recently announced their new Customer Success Platform, with the aim of creating deeper relationships with customers, elevate customer services on all channels, engage customers, and allow its users to easily surf large waves of data. This is Salesforce’s big move to bridge that gap between the company and the customer to create that 1 to 1 relationship.
#3. Security Applications
There exist an array of expensive video monitoring options from traditional alarm companies and other big organizations. Being in the surveillance industry ourselves, with the power of cloud computing Camcloud has created a reliable cloud infrastructure, as well as integration with a large number of cameras. Cameras that are supported include big names such as Axis Communications, D-Link, Foscam, and Sony.
Offering cloud storage with all your cameras’ videos and images, Camcloud uses an open platform and an easy user interface to manage your media – all with no software or hardware install requirements. The goal is to bring cost-effective video monitoring to homes and small businesses.
Another set of tools that are growing in popularity are home automation software. At this point, new devices and technologies arriving at home has become much more common. Although technology’s end goal is to enhance our lifestyle and make it easier, they lack a common language that they can all use to communicate with one another. That’s where OpenHAB comes in.
With a goal of providing a platform that can create an automated and smart environment at home, OpenHAB is one of the most popular open source home automation software solutions. Being a technology and vendor agnostic open source software, it has a powerful engine, can run on any device, and is maintained by a passionate and growing community . Its goal isn’t to replace any of your existing solutions, but instead enhance what you already have. You can look at it as a “system of systems”, so to speak.
OpenHAB recently won the 2015 People’s Choice Winner at the Postscapes ioT Awards, with the new revamped version 2.0 being recently released. They’re not the only ones making big strides in home automation OS solutions, with some of the fortune 500 penetrating that market including Apple’s Homekit, Google’s Nest, and Samsung Smart Things.
The common denominator across all these applications is that cloud storage is just “assumed”, it’s no longer a feature that can set you apart. The real value is the vertical and industry specific applications that sit in front of them.
And if you are interested in our video monitoring security service, try out a free plan today. It only takes 2 minutes to set up.