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Impact of Cloud Computing on the Engineering Industry


Over the last year, cloud computing has taken on new heights in the business world, and engineering is no exception.

Cloud computing is essentially a system where companies lease the use of space in computers and data centers outside of their on-site IT facilities, where they then store their information. In this way, companies can lease only what they need instead of having to build their own hardware and software systems.

As early as 2011, MIT research scientist Andrew McAfee wrote, “I would argue that [cloud computing is] a sea change—a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed.”

Numerous industries – from property management companies to engineering firms – are utilizing cloud computing and the many benefits it brings. Among its benefits, cloud computing allows businesses to focus their IT resources on making sure employees have what they need to stay productive instead of spending the bulk of their energy maintaining hardware and software. This allows staff to be more productive and facilitates collaboration with employees and work located off-site.

Changing how we make and design new things

Over the course of the year, cloud computing has steadily made its way into engineering, starting with manufacturing. With cloud computing, CAM and CAD can be done on remote supercomputers that are faster and more powerful than what you would find at a typical factory. Data can be shared instantaneously along the assembly line, further streamlining the process.

Collaboration in particular is where cloud computing shines. The ability to share information instantaneously, without waiting for emails or file transfers, means that consulting engineers on opposite ends of the world can work together on a project in real time. This will help speed up the pace of innovation and development.

The cloud in engineering businesses

One of the great things about the cloud is that it levels the playing field between small companies and international giants like Nissan and Microsoft. With the cloud, small businesses will have access to the same kind of technology market leaders use, and the ability to collaborate and communicate means they can extend their reach, taking their business wherever opportunity beckons.

An easy way to integrate the cloud into your business is to employ it for storage: it provides a disaster recovery option that isn’t linked to the performance of your own servers. It also has applications in building information modeling (BIM).

If you haven’t yet incorporated cloud technology into your work, take some time to consider your options and how you can best take advantage of all that the cloud has to offer.