You already know the basics when it comes to cloud computing: sharing files, storing things so they're easily accessible, and organizing big data are some of the key aspects of using the cloud. However, some of the coolest things happening in cloud computing today are seriously innovative and delightfully surprising.
Parking Cars in the Cloud
ParknCloud is a parking app and program for both users and municipalities. Basically, it uses cloud storage to share its parking software, which removes the need for parking meters and loose change when people park their cars. Cities and towns can set up a "virtual parking environment," which consumers can access via the app. Parking fees get paid via cloud computing. It also probably helps people avoid parking tickets! ParknCloud was one of the Cloud Innovation World Cup winners in 2015.
Custom Cloud City Websites
Amazon throws an annual City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge, and awards municipalities who find creative ways to use the cloud. In 2015, Louisville, Kentucky was one of the winners with their Louisville Metro Data Initiative. Louisville created an Open Data Portal meant to give citizens more access to government and to provide transparency. Citizens can look at anything from government salaries to city expenditures.
Cloud Computing as a Heat Source
With attributes like document security and easy file sharing, cloud computing is seriously amazing. Now, it's a physical heat source. Quarnot Computing developed the Q.rad heater, which put them on the list of Cloud Innovation World Cup winners for 2015. This ingenious heater actually takes the heat that computer processors generate and turns it into free heat for homes and businesses. It's connected to the internet, too, which is where it gets all its instructions to work.
Car GeoLocations on the Cloud
Modern vehicles create a lot of data that few people are exploring. Another Cloud Innovation World Cup winner, Nebula Systems Ltd, developed the MECH5 platform. This cloud-based analytics platform is able to generate and report tons of specific vehicle data from connected cars. The objectives of the platform include making diagnosis and repair easier, reducing vehicle maintenance costs, and providing a safer driving experience. When it comes to gathering this kind of data, which can be extremely personal, proper cloud security is key, which is why anyone looking to use the MECH5 platform should have a solid security protocol in place.
Cloud-Accessible Historical Information
Image via Flickr by Ken Lund
Chicago is another of Amazon's City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge winners. They created an open source website called OpenGrid, which gives access to city information, including historical data sources. Chicago residents can search their neighborhoods for all kinds of imaginable information. The coolest part is the open source nature of the site: people can contribute to the code itself, and the design makes it easy for businesses to get what they need from it.
These innovations are just the beginning; cloud computing will continue to develop into new technologies that we couldn't have dreamed of even a few years ago.