In a world filled with continuous technological innovations and advancements, it is no surprise that the future of cloud computing, as we know it, is unsettled. Recent developments of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and machine learning mean that companies can gather incredible amounts of data instantaneously. With customers constantly demanding faster and better service, it’s no wonder that businesses need to adapt and enhance their products and services to stay ahead of the game.

IoT devices are often based on real-time actions and must respond on the spot, so they do not have time to send data gathered to the cloud and wait for a response. Because of this, there is potential for ‘edge computing’ (having a data processing power at the edge of a network instead of in a cloud or a central warehouse) which means that smart devices will become tiny clouds on their own, thanks to having the computer power of hundreds of PCs.

That is according to Peter Levine, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, who uses the example of self-driving cars that need quick reaction times to deliver safe and correct decisions. If autonomous vehicles had to wait for data to be sent and returned to the cloud, these quick decisions would not be possible. There is an abundance of cloud computing services available, from SaaS to hybrid cloud, yet these need to be able to offer instant services to customers.

Another example of cloud computing having to take the back seat when it comes to new technology is the concept of multiple IoT-enabled devices using the cloud at the same time. The amount of smart devices is about to vastly increase within the next five years, and every one of these IoT devices would be connected to the internet. In its current state, the cloud’s infrastructure is not ready to store all this extra data. A smart device would consequently only send the most crucial data to the cloud for analysis, with the results of the analysis then being relayed back to the devices, allowing them to learn from each other.

Technology giants — including Google, Amazon and Microsoft — are leading the way in cloud computing, and many still consider cloud technology innovative and new, which emphasises the surprise that it may soon be making a slight decline. Although cloud technology won’t be eliminated altogether, as Google continues to build more cloud computing data centres to rent to third parties, it is likely that its role will decrease in coming years, making way for new technology.