It's a term that's been thrown around a lot in recent years: the post-PC era. The market has seen a slow decline for higher end desktop computers in particular as the larger demographics gravitate toward smaller, lighter and less expensive hardware. Some people have abandoned their desktops altogether in favor of thin notebooks or even convertible tablets. And who can blame them? With the heavy lifting for everything from photo editing to video conferencing being handled away from the device itself, the days of needing that super fast SSD and that extra powerful graphics card in your PC may be numbered.
Cloud Computing for Everything
Of course, I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek. As intriguing as streaming services like OnLive and NVIDIA GRID may be, you'll still likely want to have the higher end hardware in your own desktop if you want to handle any sort of higher end gaming. The same can largely be true for any real video editing, for example, but that doesn't mean that a lot of other tasks can be easily delegated to the cloud instead.
There is a reason why devices like the Chromebook or even your smartphone can be perfectly adequate for the majority of your everyday tasks. You can access your email through the web. You can update your social networks via the web. With even faster Internet right around the corner, the communication between your own device and the cloud servers will be faster than ever, as if the higher-end cloud hardware is actually physically connected to your computer. And what does this all mean?
Yes, having a more powerful gaming rig will still have its appeal, but you don't have to abandon the older computer that you already have, because it can still be very useful for all sorts of other tasks. In the context of business, video conferencing with a cloud-based service like that offered by Blue Jeans is just as seamless and efficient on that older rig as it is on a newer one, because you don't need all that specialized equipment.
When you use the cloud-based video conferencing service, you also bypass being restricted to this standard or that. Your colleagues or clients may have bought into Cisco Jabber or Microsoft Lync, but a soft client on a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone can tap into any of those systems. This is even true with room video conferencing systems like those offered by Polycom or LifeSize. You don't need the specialized hardware yourself, because the necessary hardware is in the cloud. You don't need to worry about upgrading the hardware when the time comes either, because the cloud provider handles that for you.
Video Conferencing for Everyone
About a couple weeks ago, a story broke out about how a 4-year-old Indiana boy used FaceTime on an iPad to save his mom's life. This same boy probably couldn't have figured out how to properly boot up a powerful PC, set up the appropriate hardware, and initiate a video call, but the ease of use with mobile video conferencing meant even a toddler could get it done. And that's the kind of future that we have to look forward to.
Technology--both from a software and hardware perspective--doesn't need to be confusing or intimidating. When it's in the cloud, all you have to do is click the "connect" button.