From Packet Switching to the Cloud
This paper was first presented at an Institution of Engineering and Technology seminar held at Savoy Place in London on Monday 24th September 2012 celebrating 175 years of telecommunications. It was subsequently published in 2012 within a special issue of the Journal of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (Volume 6, Part 4, Pages 46-49) and is made available here with their kind permission.
Telecommunication engineers have always drawn a picture of a cloud to represent a network. Today however, the cloud has taken on a new meaning in that it doesn't just represent the network but now embraces a whole host of services too.
People connect to the ubiquitous cloud using their smart phone, tablet or laptop and then use it to store information, to access applications and to perform computing tasks. In the world of the cloud, IT becomes a utility, accessed and used in exactly the same on demand way, as we connect to the National Grid for the supply of electricity. Yet, only 50 years ago this vision of universal access to an all encompassing and powerful network would have been seen as nothing more than fanciful science fiction.