Advantages of Cloud Computing for the Home

Cloud computing not only transforms home computing, but the way we work and live. If that sounds overblown, consider how working from home and consuming entertainment have changed over the last few years. And the rise of the ‘Internet of Things’, which will co-ordinate internet connected devices, can make your home life more relaxing and enjoyable.

There are already lots of advantages to embracing cloud computing in your home, whether it’s for work, pleasure or managing your household.

Cloud Storage for the home:
One of the big early selling points of cloud computing has been the availability of cheap, plentiful storage space for photos, videos, work documents and anything else you can think of. Cloud storage providers include UK-based Memstore, along with U.S companies such as Dropbox, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

It’s important to check out the various options and not just sign up to the most familiar brand names, as costs can vary depending on the storage needed. And in the UK it’s also well worth considering a UK-based provider like Memset, as they’ll be fully-compliant with UK specific laws and regulations, which isn’t the case for businesses based elsewhere.

Backing up anything valuable to you, whether its photos of your family, household documents like your insurance forms, or work documents, is essential. Many people rely on external hard drives for manual backups, which is a good idea. But these backups are often left sat next to computers, so in the event of a robbery, you lose both the originals and backups.

For peace of mind, backing up once to an external hard drive and once to a cloud service means that you have security whatever happens. And it’s low cost – Memstore is a great example as you only pay for the space you use and when you download beyond large amounts. For instance, you can store up to 100GB and download 20GB per month for just £3.95 per month.

If you check the disk space you’ve used on your computer and laptop now, you’ll probably find it’s a lot less to backup than you might think.

Cloud Streaming for the home:
Whether you enjoy music, movies or even videogames, we’re all becoming used to cloud storage and streaming.

If you just want instant access, you can choose from a variety of services such as Spotify to get access to a huge range of music, or Lovefilm and Netflix to stream movies to your tablet or TV – apps for games consoles mean you don’t need to move the computer or trail wires through your house.

But if you’re worried about relying on the cloud for all your entertainment, you can still buy physical CDs and DVDs etc. Legally backing up entertainment you own to cloud storage or a more tailored cloud service means the physical copy can be stored out of the way in the cupboard or loft, and you can now access the entertainment you own wherever you have an internet connection.

And the same is becoming true for videogames, even the latest releases, with services such as Onlive), which allows you access to all the latest games for a fixed fee.

Home Management via the Cloud:
We’re all leading business lives. And in a family home, that’s even more apparent between work, school, social commitments and more. But by using a handful of cloud applications, you can make family life much more enjoyable and less stressful.

With everything going on in our lives, it’s worth using shared calendars and notes to know what’s happening. Whether that’s via Google Calendar, or beautiful note-taking app Evernote, it means you’re not relying on Post It notes around the house, or the often-ignored calendar in the kitchen.

And when it comes to bills and managing your money, we’d all like to save time and cash without as much effort. The main option for aggregating your personal finances is UK-based Money Dashboard.

As you can imagine, the home business world is well supported, with the likes of Freshbooks KashFlow, Quickbooks, Freeagent etc.

Home Appliances via the Cloud:
Ever wanted to switch your central heating on from work when the day suddenly gets colder? Devices such as the Nest Thermostat not only give you remote access, but learn from your behaviour to learn from your energy history and turn the heating down automatically when no one is home.

Meanwhile car manufacturers such as Ford are integrating cloud technology to have your car warmed and ready when you’re about to leave home, update on traffic jams and weather, and notify you when friends have suggested locations in your area – great if you’re somewhere new and need to find a place to eat. If you can’t justify a new car, the free Waze GPS traffic and navigation app already crowd sources information from other drives in your area.

This is just the start as increasingly devices will make use of the cloud not only to function, but to aggregate anonymous data to help improve how you utilise them. No more trying to work out the cheapest energy provider, or quickest way to work, as it’s all provided for you. And internet connected devices can also tell you when they break, what needs fixing and when the repair visit fits with your schedule.

Cloud computing makes life easier:
As shown above, cloud computing offers many ways to make life easier. As home internet connections continue to get faster and technology continues to improve, this is only going to increase.

There’s no good excuse for not investigating now and making use of the best applications and services to be able to spend less money and have more time for the things you really enjoy in life.
About the Author - Ben Jones writes for