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Cloud technology (or cloud computing) is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — typically over the internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Rather than owning their own computing infrastructure, companies can rent access to anything from applications to storage from a cloud service provider.
A key benefit of using cloud computing services is that companies can avoid the upfront cost and complexity of owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure. You simply pay for what you use, when you use it.
Cloud technology supports a vast number of usages. The most common one being consumer services like Gmail or the cloud back-up of the photos on your smartphone. Large enterprises may host their data and run their applications in the cloud.
Software vendors are increasingly offering their programmes as cloud versions by subscription rather than selling one-off licences. The variety of applications delivered via cloud technology is huge, from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERM (Enterprise Resource Management) through to Microsoft’s Office 365. The end user will access the application via a web browser or app.
Cloud computing also allows the use of AI to conduct audience analytics, which benefits the retail industry tremendously. Through sensors installed in the shopping mall, such AI solution can perform, via cloud computing, real-time shopper analysis. Shopper headcount, attention span and demographics such as gender, age, emotion, etc. are gathered and analysed. The big data collected will be very useful for retailers to improve their in-store marketing and operation effectiveness.