Before 2007, cloud servers for businesses and consumers just didn’t exist. Yeah, we had accessible servers all over the world, but the way we do cloud computing wasn’t a thing.

In just three years, the number of cloud providers went from nothing to 550,000. We entered the age of cloud computing full tilt.

But now that cloud computing is ubiquitous and most people don’t even think twice about storing and accessing data on the internet, something else must be coming.

Well, sorta.

Cloud technology isn’t going to disappear any time soon. It’s like the internet and computing technology. We merely build on what we’ve created and then call it something different.

Machine to Machine Interaction

The cloud facilitates much more than we ever dreamed possible. But one area we’re seeing explode recently is the realm of the independent machine.

We’ve talked for years about “The Singularity.” A moment in time when machines become conscious and have the capability of outwitting us.

While what’s happening around us at the moment isn’t a Skynet moment yet, we’re slowly marching down the path of machine independence.

The internet of things has been a hot topic for a few years now. And consumers see it most clearly in their smart home products. When you connect a bunch of devices a local network and they can talk to each other, you’re creating a local network of things.

We’re creating incredible machine learning algorithms that can intelligently sort through massive stores of data. They can do so much faster than we can.

But the one thing slowing everything down is latency. We just can’t get things to communicate faster than light.

Even the promise of quantum entanglement as a new way to communicate is a fool’s pursuit.

So, what’s the answer? Edge computing. Or semi-local storage.

Especially in a highly populated area such as a metropolis, you could build a data-center and have devices store data and communicate over a semi-local network.

Real-Time Data

We’re a long ways off from storing most of our data on local drives and tapes. But even local could be faster at times than cloud services. This entirely depends on the network and the service you’re connected to.

If your data center is close by, you’re going to be able to access data faster. For an internet of things, especially a system as complex as a self-driving car traffic system, you’re going to need lightning quick data storage and analysis.

And our digital world is complex. If we were to connect all of the electronic devices we rely on in everyday life, the load on the network would be massive. This, in turn, would slow down network speeds.

The answer to all of this is semi-local edge computing. It will take some time for the real-estate to build and infrastructure to catch up. But I guarantee this is the next step beyond cloud computing.


By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.