Cloud Computing as an Opportunity for Big Changes in Travel Technology? (Part I)

With Google recently announcing the rollout of their long rumored and unofficially called “GDrive” the discussion about cloud computing becomes worth talking about again.

In combination with shared folders, Google provides users with the ability of secure and easy collaboration on online files by storing them in the cloud. Its forerunner Google Wave already changes the direction away from people thinking, ‘This is my PC, and this is my hard drive,‘ to ’this is how I interact with the web.

Both home and business users increasingly turn to free web-based services such as email, digital photo storage and other applications for documents in order to make the loss of hard drives or laptops less jeopardizing.

When the Forecast Calls for Clouds

The growing demand for cloud computing is based on the numerous advantages going along with this technology, provided that it is used appropriately. Using cloud-computing services makes it easier to scale up and down technology to handle big increases as well as abrupt scale-backs in demand. Gaining popularity arisen by means for saving cost of IT ownership, for scaling flexibility of infrastructure usage, for reliable storage of data for disaster prevention and solutions as shareable pay-per-use services, the cloud delivers the fundament for SaaS and SOA respectively.

Nevertheless, several things seem shady in these early days of (seriously) using cloud computing. Shortcomings include technology, the process, legal and regulatory issues among others. However, discovering problems with the clouds is not what requires effort; offering real solutions for inadequacies should be the declared goal in order to utilize the cloud in a value creating way. The question is, in which way the more and more self-sufficient consumption of data-heavy things could be of benefit for the travel market?

The Sky’s the Limit

An interesting analogy between cloud computing and air travel was recently drawn by Whitfield Diffie in an interview concerning the effect of these developments’ growing dependence on public transportation respectively storage media. A very good point was made when he called the benefits of commodity air travel as so significantly high that it allows us to ignore its most insignificant negatives and forces us to trust in organizations that we can’t control and subjects us to rules that wouldn’t apply if we were flying our own planes. Frequent business travelers in particular are aware of the insufficiencies in conjunction with air transportation which doesn’t stop them from using the services as they are much more economical that they don’t have any alternative.

Like aircraft maintenance, the secure base for cloud computing needs to become something that is a given part of the process and the most important component in order to trust in the system as a whole. However, in the long run the convenience of cloud computing will simply overpower the uncertainty about security issues as happened with air travel.

As Whitfield’s creative imagination strength can’t be the only reason for this applicable analogy, there must be parallels between cloud computing and the travel industry which will be discussed next week in the second part.

Image by alphaspirit

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