1. SAP and Ovum survey reveals; cloud gaining momentum in financial services.

The survey conducted by SAP and Ovum reveals that cloud technology is finally penetrating retail banks and insurance companies.

The research claims Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are now being considered in almost all new IT investment projects.

"The findings indicate a new maturity for cloud computing in the financial services industry. "The cloud is now a growth driver for banks and insurers, rather than a medium just for bringing costs down. They are buying SaaS solutions to simply operations, develop better products and quickly enter new markets. The industry has made it clear that SaaS will radically change the banking and insurance landscape", says Daniel Mayo, Chief analyst, Ovum.

The study reveals that SaaS is already supporting a majority of functions within the line of business of 42% banks and 36% of insurers that responded to the survey.

It claims IT decision makers in retail banks expect to see great future in cloud investment. 42 % expect SaaS spend will "increase significantly" over the next 18 months, compared to 33 % among insurers.

However, banks and insurers still voice concerns over regulatory compliance, reliability and availability and the difficulty of integration SaaS with existing systems.

2. The need and importance of cloud

The years to come will see cloud computing- a need for the continuity of the Internet. Businesses have greatly benefited from cloud computing- email, web applications to document management and offsite backups. Cloud email is here to stay and organizations can benefit by lowering email costs.

Cloud email- The advantage of having an email in the cloud is great for any business. For starters, all routine maintenance are performed by the providers of giant companies like Microsoft and Google. The providers themselves are the ones updating and upgrading the software and hardware for the users which in turn saves money for businesses. Cloud based email accounts can be accessed from anywhere on any device with an internet connection from anywhere around the world.

Cloud Storage- Cloud storage provides a substantial benefit that small and medium size businesses need to take advantage of. One can work on documents and upload different versions of the documents into the same folder. Dropbox is the low cost app associated with cloud data. One can sign up and get 2GB for free.

Cloud Applications- With companies like Google, Microsoft, and Adobe, all applications are moving to the cloud where one can use the program on a web browser.

Google has a popular cloud based solution called Google Apps for Work. The product is a cloud based ecosystem of email, calendar, and production apps. Organizations who use Google Apps for Work have the ability to utilize programs very similar to Microsoft's Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. A benefit of using programs in the cloud is that, it allows two or more individuals to modify the same document simultaneously. In addition, all of the documents a user creates are stored in Google's Drive storage which comes with 30GB of storage space. Cloud type applications have been in the market for quite some time, but the upcoming business friendly apps are starting to gain popularity.

3. Fight diseases using cloud computing

(UCSF) UC San Francisco is working towards creating an online platform that health workers around the world can use to predict where malaria is likely to be transmitted, using data on Google Earth Engine. The clear idea is to enable poor countries to wage effective campaigns against the mosquito-borne disease, which kills thousands of people each year.

Local health workers will be able to upload their own data on cases of malaria and combine it with real-time satellite data on weather and other environmental conditions within Earth Engine to detect where new cases are most likely to occur. Through this they can spray insecticide or give anti malarial drugs just to the people who still need them.

Google Earth Outreach, is giving UCSF $100,000 to develop the new platform to help non profits to use Google's mapping. The tool could also be adapted to predict other infectious diseases.

Apart from detecting health issues, scientists have used Earth Engine to measure deforestation, urban development and the retreat of glaciers.

This initiative will be targeting 34 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. With adequate financing and political commitment, UCSF experts believe these countries could interrupt malaria transmission and eliminate the disease within 15 to 20 years.

4. Google to grant $100,000 to startups in cloud computing credits for free

World's no. 1 search engine Google announced a new program called Cloud Platform for Startups. Through this program Google will give $100,000 in cloud computing credits to startups that are less than 5 years old and generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue.

The company will be working with some of the top investors from around the world. The move is to lure people from other competitors that are the players of cloud services. By giving startups $100,000 in credits free, Google is enticing them into its own ecosystem. As they grow, it's likely that they will stay with Google. Thus increasing the business of Google.

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