How to Survive in the Cloud

In the past six months I have been transitioning my personal life totally online, and thought I would share a few findings with you.

The catalyst for this was the monthly pain I endured of having to manage the back up and sometimes repair the data from my desktop PC, my laptop, my son’s laptop and my daughter’s laptop. This was made worse when my daughter, who did not back up her PC as told, lost all of her iTunes songs from the past three years (for anyone with a 16-year-old teenager, you know how much money that was worth!)

Google Chrome impressed me with its speed and the way my personalizations are transferred machine to machine, OS agnostic, so I started to look into more details about their offerings. Chrome is now our default browser. I have transferred our Windows Mail to Gmail, meaning that I can centralize and view from anywhere, and I no longer have to set up the Windows Mail settings on each machine.

I bought storage in Amazon Cloud and use sync software to instantaneously transfer important flies on all of our PC/laptops into the cloud on data change, so eliminating the possibility of data loss (docs, pictures, videos).

I now use Google Play music which provides free cloud storage and online streaming for thousands of songs on any device at any time (and has integration that pushes your iTunes library up into the Cloud). My next step is a NEST thermostat that allows me to configure and monitor my settings online, and I am close to purchasing a Chromebook, which is a laptop that is totally online, requiring only local storage for documents in process.

So can I survive online, well my answer is for 90% of what I need to do yes. Some things will always need local hardware, such as burning DVD or CDs. Online can’t address every need. Going through this made me think how manufacturing can realize the value of moving to an online model.

A personalized online client would mean the information/configuration that’s critical for my operations follows me wherever I am. Centralized configuration and deployment of logic means I don’t have to manage local instances and can enable boundless group collaboration.

Online storage in the cloud for my critical process documents and system backups eliminates the possibility of data loss. Integration of process systems to collaborate and share data (like Google Play and iTunes) means existing infrastructure can take advantage of a centralized online system.

Online analytics that are prepackaged and delivered to me real-time that help me save me money also adds real value, as in the NEST thermostat offering. Finally, the latest generation of controllers and devices such as iPods and tablets provide my integration with the online world. Like burning DVDs at home, you will always need local hardware to run the plant, but there is nothing to stop this hardware taking advantage of the latest online technology as long as it has the connectivity and power of a modern system.

And, this online world infrastructure is secure, fast, always on and proven today for consumers. How we industrialize and take it into manufacturing to simplify and improve existing business processes will be the key to deliver high performance automation solutions for a connected world.

Thoughts, comments??

Barry Lynch

Barry, Global Marketing Director – Automation Hardware at GE's Automation & Controls business, passionately believes that connected machines, mobile data analytics and workforce enablement don’t have to be hurdles in business today. He leads the strategic direction of the company’s automation and information systems programs to help customers apply the power of the Industrial Internet to their businesses. By connecting machines, data, insights and people, our technology solutions deliver critical insight for greater operational efficiency, effectiveness and optimization. Learn more about how Barry works at GE on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @BarryLynchGE.

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