Cloud technology is rapidly changing the way we view business and personal information processing. No longer is it a question of how much hardware and software a company can afford to purchase and maintain, but simply how much functionality and flexibility is needed. Companies can and do, of course, develop and maintain their own private cloud systems, but today virtually any hardware and software requirements can be provided using independent cloud providers, integrated as needed with in-house systems. It's remarkable how fast the transition to cloud storage and processing has taken place, but it has all been made possible by a more fundamental transition: The development of high-speed digital communications technology.
Although the transmission of digital data can be traced back to the first telegraph systems, modern digital communication is usually associated with computers, the digital brains of the electronic age. But information flow was limited by transmission speed. The earliest communication between pre-computer electronic equipment was measured in only tens of bits per second. As computer technology developed, transmission to remote terminals grew with it, making the processing of big-box computers available to a wider audience.
Hundreds of bits per second in the 1950s grew to hundreds and then thousands of bits per second in the 60s and 70s using advanced acoustic couplers and phone lines. The 1980s saw tens of thousands of bits per second, and the increased use of fiber optics, versus copper wire transmission, greatly increased communication potential. With the advent of personal computers in the 80s and 90s came the need for fast home-based communication. Dial-up modems got faster, but the best dial-up modems were normally limited to about 50 thousand bits per second. Today, broadband systems offer even average home users millions of bits per second, approaching a billion bits per second in some cities. And non-home systems offer data communication at far higher speeds.
For GlobalWise Investments and its Intellinetics subsidiary, this still-growing ability to communicate has opened the door to a world of opportunity. Their cloud-based ECM (Electronic Content Management) system lets commercial and non-commercial organizations of all types gain quick and secure access to huge document databases from anyplace in the world, any time of the day or night, even through mobile devices. No longer do companies have to invest in their own hardware and software to store and track documents that could otherwise easily get lost in physical storage. High-speed and flexible cloud communication puts the information where it is needed, any time it is needed, without the huge up-front investment.
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