Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive. File hosting platforms are growing at an incredible rate and it’s easy to see why. All of your data at your fingertips all the time, no more reliance on a physical drive or concerns over loss of data. Security is being improved constantly and after high profile hacking events shook the world’s confidence in cloud based storage, the world, even if not embracing the technology, is begrudgingly accepting that the benefits of having someone else store your stuff outweighs the risks.

This then becomes a question of evolution as we look at the form hardware will take in a cloud based world. We have to assume that uptake will only continue to grow and this will mean the likes of web books – laptops with little storage that rely on cloud based services – will become more appealing. It will also mean that the sharing of knowledge will be easier as pictures and documents can be put into someone else’s drive and manipulated live. Among the changes, two things could make a profound impact – 

– Laptops could become smaller, and more disposable.

– Wearables and mobiles may well become a principal business tool, overtaking the laptop or desktop.

These sound like logical and incremental changes but where it gets interesting is how it could impact on the way business is done.

With fewer people using the larger screens on a consistent basis, marketers lose yet another opportunity to tap into people using advertising. Anyone who’s been foolish enough to try pop-up advertising on a mobile platform will speak of it’s weaknesses.

It will also mean the end of the traditional work day and potentially the end of the office. Stopping these innovations so far have been fearful management practises that tell us we need to be watching and interacting with others in order for them to be effective. Being able to see work as it happens and engage over mobile will solve this problem. There are bound to be issues around privacy as inevitably some businesses will use apps to track the whereabouts of their employees, but there will be no need for 6 or 7 figure office leases just to give people a place to sit, especially with the advent of physical ‘industry hubs.’

All of your data on all of your devices. There will be no reliance on a particular device and you’ll be able to not only check your calendar and send a text message from your watch, but using voice activation technology and portable keyboards, actually send detailed emails, write code, change the formatting of a sales document or even create a website. Laptops become keyboards with screens rather than storage devices.

You’ll have the option of what information you make public and what you don’t and as you enter a store your phone will tell the store what you purchased last, no more receipts. It will also tell you what you may like to buy next as marketing becomes more inclusive and live.

Just this week, Dropbox, traditionally a consumer product, hired former enterprise executives to assist it in engaging with larger clients. The journey to the cloud is gathering momentum and it won’t be long until our reliance on our own hardware is at an end.