What is Cloud Computing?
There is no question that cloud computing technology is beginning to gain traction in the hospitality industry. However, there is a lack of full comprehension, accompanied with a number of misconceptions, regarding this technology. In this three part series we will attempt to explain cloud technology in the most non-technical terms possible, weigh the benefits the cloud can bring to hoteliers, and examine how computing in the cloud can be applied to the hospitality industry.
The “cloud” is a computer system that has its data distributed across the Internet and stored by a hosting company or Internet provider. The data can be distributed as part of either a public or private network. The Internet host acts as a traditional hard drive that, in a sense, can be thought of as being in “the clouds.“ Whether people recognize it, or not, most have used cloud services many times already. Facebook accounts, Google Gmail, and Apple iTunes are all examples of commonly used cloud services. For example, a photo on Facebook, an email from Gmail, or a song from iTunes are actually not stored on a user’s computer, but are accessed from the host in the cloud. A person’s photos and music at one time were stored on a computer hard drive, CD, or a floppy disk; now they are predominantly stored in the cloud.
Data stored with a cloud vendor can be accessed from any user’s device with an Internet connection. Users can utilize cloud services from anywhere and are no longer tied to a desktop computer. There are a growing number of cloud vendors available to the hospitality industry with Google, Amazon, IBM, and Oracle among the major players.
Hoteliers have, as a matter of course, relied on locally stored data infrastructures, but the industry can no longer bear the cost of such outdated technologies. Cloud technology is the future of computing and data management. Hoteliers can embrace to the benefit or lag behind the innovation curve to their detriment. The next part of this series will examine specific benefits to be gained by the hospitality industry in the adoption of cloud computing.
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