The word ‘cloud computing’ may sound like something from Star Wars, and only rocket-flying IT gurus can use it. Well, without knowing it, you share your personal data on the cloud every day when you use social networks to communicate with your friends and family. Cloud computing is essentially the storage and accessing of data and programmes over the internet, instead of on your hardware, like your computer or phone.
On the topic of social networks and communicating using technology, many people think these advances have made us worse at communication and maintaining relationships. But imagine having to rely on letters or even telegrams to keep in touch with your loved ones around the world.
In the same way that social networks make this easier, so too can the cloud. And this doesn’t have to be at the expense of social skills, but instead can enhance your social interactions.
Here are four ways cloud technology can help you stay in touch:
1. Using Skype to speak to friends and family
In our global village most of us have friends and family scattered around the world. While nothing can replace seeing your loved ones in person, Skype is the next best thing. It’s a cost-effective way of video calling or even just instant messaging. Being hosted in the cloud means that it can automatically update any changes. For example a change to your friend’s profile, so you don’t end up with their old details. By storing and processing data, Skype can also do things like memorise your call history, send birthday reminders and even translate languages in real time through something called ‘machine learning’. Imagine being able to suddenly talk to your cousin in Arabic!
2. Share special memories with OneDrive
OneDrive gives you 1TB of free storage with an Office 365 subscription to keep all the photos from your son’s first birthday, or your daughter’s first soccer match, in one place. And, because it’s in the cloud you can access the photos from anywhere, from any device, as long as you are logged in to your account. That means you can take your virtual brag book to your next get-together or even create a shared family account so that your family overseas can see your photos, just as you can see theirs.
3. Be an active parent from wherever you are with co-authoring
If your job requires you to travel and be away from your family more than you would like, you might feel like you’re missing out on your children’s day-to-day lives. While a device can never replace a person, your child will appreciate your help with their homework thanks to the co-authoring feature on Office 365, which is enabled through cloud computing. The feature works in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote and gives you the ability to see what others are typing in real time and collaborate on one document at the same time.
4. Reconnect with a friend using Bing Maps
There’s nothing better than catching up with a friend in person after a long time apart. Of course, with all those months or years between you, chances are one of you may have moved suburbs, cities or even countries. Thanks to Bing Maps, it will still feel like your friend is just around the corner, and the next time you see each other, you can use Bing to find the nearest restaurant – all because of millions and millions of GB of data being collected around the world and stored in the cloud.
While cloud technology will never replace human interaction, it’s a useful tool to maintain that interaction when you can’t meet face to face.