A recent report published by Cisco Systems indicates that cloud computing and storage infrastructure is growing at an annual rate of 33% worldwide. The Cisco Cloud Index is an annual publication that forecasts global trends in the field of cloud storage and computing.
This most recent report predicts that over the next five years, Africa and the Middle East will see the most rapid growth in cloud services. The region’s cloud computing infrastructure is expected to grow at 42% per year, far outpacing the global average.
Within Africa and the Middle East a high ratio of internet users are connecting with mobile devices as opposed to traditional fixed-point connections. This high percentage of mobile internet use may be a factor driving the growth of cloud services in the region. The Cisco report indicates that this trend will continue, as fixed internet connections will see only modest growth between 2014-2019 while the percentage of the population with mobile internet access more than doubles from 17 to 37%. Currently only 25% of the region’s population are internet users, and the availability of high-speed internet connections may be an additional limiting factor for the adoption of cloud technology. Cisco’s assessment relies on “broadband performance as a precursor for cloud service adoption by network consumers and business users.”
These trends mean more than just what kind of data centers are being built and how they are used. The availability of broadband internet and cloud computing is changing how people communicate and share information with friends and family, but it is also making waves in the business world. According to the PDF combiner and conversion service Docs.zone, “As businesses [are] increasingly assessing the cost associated with IT dedicated resources and demanding for more agility, public cloud adoption will rise.” Docs.zone is one of the thousands of startups who are utilizing cloud resources to enable their clients receive real-time service and store data and files securely in the cloud. According to Afrihost, one of the largest cloud solution providers in South Africa, “More and more businesses are taking their data and communication needs to the cloud as they feel more confident about the savings, security and flexibility offered by the cloud, as opposed to traditional local server solutions”. Cloud computing can provide a myriad of vital services for businesses ranging from simple data storage to advanced computing on virtual machines.
For consumers there is a communications revolution underway powered by cloud services. Instant messaging platforms allow anyone with an internet connection to send SMS text messages without paying traditional mobile phone messaging fees. In nearly every area of our personal lives, the cloud has provided a platform for innovation and growth. The cloud can be used to share pictures or find new music but it is also being used increasingly for more sensitive applications such as banking and mobile payments. In the field of higher education, cloud services are creating new opportunities for students to enroll in courses and work directly with instructors from around the world. By lowering some of the barriers to higher education, the cloud is empowering untold millions to improve their skills and become more competitive in the global marketplace.