An invention of the 1960s, cloud computing has gained significant relevance in the past decade. Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer hardware or software, that is hosted on the internet. The recent exponential growth in cloud computing is not surprising, given the upsurge in low-cost hardware, low-cost storage, and the growing capacity of internet networks. Many industries have been quick to recognize the benefits of cloud computing, but when it comes to cloud computing in architecture, it has been very slow going. This article aims to create awareness of the importance of cloud-based tools and how it can be leveraged within their industry.
To appreciate the role of cloud computing in architecture, let us first understand cloud computing. Traditionally, large companies & offices have had computer systems installed in their offices. These include desktops, processors, servers, laptops, and storage devices. Such systems occupy a lot of space and many times are under-utilized as a resource because the computational needs of most offices are minimal. However, in cloud computing, such resources, along with the software is hosted on a remote server translating to there being no need to download software or save your files on the system. Cloud computing brings with it a host of benefits, here are a few of them.
Cost Efficiency- The infrastructure in cloud computing is essentially a shared resource among various companies or offices. This means users don’t have to invest in IT infrastructure or a large IT team; as the cloud service provider, they would take care of one’s end-to-end needs. Overall, this achieves a commendable level of cost-efficiency.
Ease of Changing Scale -Businesses are dynamic entities and tend to grow or reduce in size, depending on multiple factors. This implies that all support infrastructure including IT needs to change accordingly. In the case of fully-owned IT systems, it is a difficult exercise as it involves cost and ground-up changes, in all areas. However, with the cloud, one can simply do this by purchasing an upgrade or choosing a smaller package.
Mobility- Owing to its remote location, users of the cloud need not be physically present to access the information systems. Compatible with all kinds of mobiles & tablets, a log-in is enough to get through to data, anywhere, everywhere.
Security- There are preconceived notions that data on the cloud is unsafe as it means access is given to an external party. However, the industry has taken on this challenge of a barrier to adaptation and come up with solutions that put concerns to rest. Now, there are checks and balances in place to ensure that customer data is not leaked or misused.
As is clear, using a cloud-based IT infrastructure comes with its set of benefits. Further, automatic updates, dedicated service and the offering of the latest in technology make cloud computing in architecture a practical and efficient choice.
Among architects and interior designers, the usage of cloud-based tools is still in its nascent stage. It has immense potential in terms of enhancing work and cutting costs. Here are some of the areas where cloud computing in architecture can be used to enhance one's practice.
Designing - The days of creating & sharing designs back & forth are long gone. In the early days, architects would share blueprints with clients and the final iteration would take days or even weeks to be finalized. However, with cloud-based designing software such as Infurnia, architects, and interior designers can make changes and get approval in real-time.
Project Management- In a flat world today, where the exchange of knowledge happens remotely and dispersed teams have become a reality, cloud computing in architecture helps with efficient project management and coordination between teams.
Rendering- Architects can now send designs to cloud-based processing units and get renders in a matter of minutes. Earlier, such tasks would take hours and use the heavy processing power of in-house computers. Now, solutions such as those of Infurnia, deliver renders that are photo-realistic and highly professional. Users can also create panoramic renders and VR ready renders as required. The possibilities of cloud-based rendering are endless.
Overall, cloud computing in architecture and interior design is ever-evolving. From easy sharing for approvals to advanced designing, the benefits are aplenty. Most importantly, it does not require heavy investment in IT infrastructure or complex software. It is simply about going lean and reducing overhead and leveraging economies of scale, efficiently. Overall, it is high time that architects and interior designers start adopting cloud-based solutions to their benefit.