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Tech Experts See Bright Future in the Cloud

Like it or not, the PC of the future will be very different from the computers that dominate so many desktops in the home and office today. By 2020, experts expect most people will access their applications online – as in the basic cloud computing model championed today by Google, Salesforce and others, versus the traditional model of running software stored on the PC (yes, fewer software updates to bog down my PC!). Likewise, most information access and sharing will be online versus relying what’s being stored on local devices.

But today’s PC won’t become obsolete. The experts also believe that the PC still has a future working in tandem with cloud-based systems. In one scenario, the PC could prove broadly useful as the primary interface to local networks or private clouds. Some also noted that PCs, even if they’re primarily used as Web terminals, will continue to dominate because smartphones and other portable devices have a limited user interface and aren’t ideal for the most common productivity applications including word processing and working with spreadsheets. Apple CEO, Steve Jobs relates the presence of PC to that of trucks, “they are still going to be around…one out of X people will need them.”

But some survey respondents said cloud-computing adoption may also continue to be hampered by security concerns and users’ willingness to share personal information on social networks and other cloud-based systems.

Beyond individual or consumer concern, some of those surveyed said large businesses are far less likely to put most of their work “in the cloud” anytime soon because of control and security issues. Others predicted low-income people in least-developed areas of the world are most likely to use the cloud because it augments the mobile phone that is likely their only computer device.

[Photo courtesy of abc.]