While many hear the term ‘the cloud’ and think of storage or hosting, cloud technology is an exciting, robust market that is only just beginning, and has real long-range benefit to both consumers and businesses. The past year has seen a boom in startups and ideas in cloud-based tools and services. Much of this has centered around business needs. It has spanned everything from payroll to billing and bookkeeping, sales and marketing department functions, to applications that track customer behavior. For consumers, online education that moves beyond the traditional courses is increasing. Web-based fitness instruction, dance lessons, cooking and more are all being offered with growing participation. Communications is an equally powerful area — I am EVP of Innovation at RingCentral, which provides cloud-based phone systems. It is a very exciting and emerging category in cloud-based technology, and one that will continue to grow in the years ahead.
While many of the deals and movement has been on the business-side, we have only just begun to see the potential for cloud-based applications. Watch for emerging trends in utility management, cross device tools and services, fun and games for kids and many, many new ideas.