You are in Sydney. You take a picture of the Opera House, with the ocean in the background. You like the shot, but it’s not as good as you hoped.
Your cousin, who lives in New York, is a skilled graphic designer. He can see your photo instantly, download it, and make changes. He can adjust the colors, the shading, the format. He can add special effects, then upload it and get it back to you in a matter of seconds. And there you are, still in Sydney, with the perfect picture to forward on to your brother, who manages your travel blog.
We may take this for granted now, but if someone had told this story to your grandfather fifty years ago, he would have thought they were crazy. Thanks to cloud computing, all this and much more is possible today.
When was cloud computing born?
In the early ‘60s, the idea of an ‘intergalactic network of computers‘ was spreading, particularly among scientists and IT enthusiasts. One such man was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, a psychologist and computer scientist.
He wrote an article in March 1960 called “Man-computer Symbiosis”. His piece was noticed by the US Federal Government, who hired him as head of the computer technology section of ARPA (The Advanced Research Projects Agency) – the institute that was responsible for the creation of ARPANET, the early version of the modern internet.
That was a key moment in the origin of the World Wide Web.
But the history of cloud computing was not so simple. On the contrary, it often followed unpredictable paths, as the number of minds that contributed to its origin were countless. (Some argue that the original inventor of the cloud is Agostino Sibilio, an Italian scientist who has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Economy).
Another contributing milestone was the arrival of Salesforce.com in 1999. This idea was groundbreaking: it offered easily accessible high-level applications which were web-based instead of physically contained on local hard drives. It might not sound impressive today, but think of what the internet was back in 1999!
The next achievement for cloud-based applications came in 2002, when Amazon Web Services became the first comprehensive cloud computing platform for business. More recently, in 2009, it was Google’s turn: the tech giant launched its Google Apps Program, now called G Suite, a brand of cloud-computing software and tools that includes popular applications that many of us use every day.
Who invented the term ‘cloud’?
Yet again, a touchy topic. What we know for sure is that the name ‘cloud’ came long after the idea itself.
Some believe that the term was introduced on a specific date: August 9, 2006. On that day, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was addressing the crowd during a panel. In the middle of his speech, he said, “What’s interesting [now] is that there is an emergent new model. I don’t think people have really understood how big this opportunity really is. It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing—they should be in a cloud somewhere.”
While it’s hard to say if Schmidt was the first to use the term, we do know that soon after, several big tech and media companies (Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and many others) started to use it extensively, and in 2007 the term ‘cloud computing’ appeared in newspapers for the first time in an article in the New York Times.
But it doesn’t end there. The MIT Technology Review conducted a thorough investigation, about the origin of the term. The conclusion was that someone had already coined the word ‘cloud’ – in reference to web-based computing – a full decade before: in 1997, at the home of Compaq Computer labs in Houston -TX – the company’s Marketing Executives are discussing the future of Compaq. Among the participants are George Favaloro and a young computer engineer, Sean O’Sullivan. They talk about the future of the web and at one point the word ‘cloud’ comes up. It’s unclear who is the first to use it. Favaloro claims to be the one. O’Sullivan claims the same. In any case, during that brainstorming session, the term was coined and has become a staple in tech vocabulary ever since.
Why did we need cloud computing?
Where does this computing model really come from? From a problem that needed a solution, of course.
Say you have a small-to-medium size company, possibly a tech startup that is quickly growing and gaining value and market share.
One of the most serious problems that a business like that will encounter is having a scalable architecture – meaning the possibility to expand the company’s digital resources quickly and flexibly, to avoid losing business opportunities and, ultimately, customers. Which is exactly what happens when infrastructures don’t keep up with their company’s growth patterns.
Thanks to cloud computing, this problem was suddenly solved.
Andreas Asander is the VP Product Marketing of Clavister, one of the leading companies in the network security business. He states: “cloud computing services can enable an enterprise to expand its infrastructure, add capacity on demand, or outsource the whole infrastructure, resulting in greater flexibility, a wider choice of computing resources and significant cost savings“.
If the cloud computing business was once a billion-company family affair, then the market is now opening up to many diversified players, in both B2B and B2C.
This is because the demand is richer, and there is a strong need for security services that are tailored to the client’s needs.
Doxee, with its Enterprise Customer Experience Management, is cloud native. Doxee is the only Italian company included in Gartner‘s and Forrester‘s reports and has also been included in the Madison Advisor‘s list of key players in the CCM-CXM business.
Describing the unique positioning of the Modena-based company, the American consulting company report states:
“Doxee differentiates itself in the CCM-CXM market space with its unique aPaaS offering, which is a cloud technology that allows its business partners to offer a SaaS solution to their enterprise clients. The benefit of aPaaS includes high-productivity tools, faster time-to-market, lower IT costs and a scalable, flexible architecture for CCM document generation“.
Find out more here.