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    Getting comfortable with cloud storage

    Consider how you stored data with technology back in 2005.

    Back then almost all computers had Wi-Fi capability to access a network and the Internet to send emails and surf the Web, but most programs, applications, and data resided on computer hard drives.

    When it was time to update an application or buy a new one, you might have downloaded the application from the Internet to the computer and installed it. The program was then on your computer and would save your data to its hard drive.

    The same process was true for music and video.

    You might buy music via iTunes or another source for digital music, but you stored the actual music files on your computer and copied them to your iPod or other MP3 player. Video was just starting to be available for download—this changed significantly as Internet speeds greatly improved.

    Related: Will optometry's fear of disruptive technology backfire?

    Moving with the times

    Jump to 2010 with smartphones and faster Internet speeds at home and in the office more common—we started to see more streaming of audio and video. The founders of YouTube realized that people wanted to upload and view “home videos” they had created.

    People started turning to the Internet for more data and were even storing data on the Internet to retrieve and use on different computers. Online storage services, such as Dropbox, changed the way that we stored and accessed data.

    Fast-forward to today, and almost everyone over the age of 13 has a smartphone that can capture quality audio, still images, and video that can be uploaded either via Wi-Fi or cellular network. And yes, we’re running programs/applications on the Internet and displaying the results of the application on our computer, tablets, and smartphones. QuickBooks Online is a great example of this.

    Related: Top 5 innovations in eye care

    Furthermore, you no longer need much storage on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can allow your data and applications to reside on someone else’s computer—“the cloud”—and have access to it from as many different devices as you want or need.

    Cloud computing in the practice

    So, what does this mean to an eyecare provider?

    It means that we’re able to reduce the amount of technological infrastructure that we need in our offices and homes and still have access to data and functions from just about anywhere on the planet—from the office software that is likely running “in the cloud” to accounting software such as QuickBooks Online to image and data storage.



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    Optometry Times A/V