137 - Construction Industry Institute

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Nov 3, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Cloud Computing


1. Need and Potential

According to Martson [
2010
], “Cloud computing is here to stay.”
If

companies in the construction
industry are

unable or unwilling to move to the cloud

they will be left behind and replaced by more
modern ones. The cloud provides a potential means for performing the same work in a more efficient
and cost effective manner.

2. Background and Gaps

T
he c
ost of computing to a company is

increasing dramaticall
y

despite computers becoming less
expensive and more powerful every year
. This increase is a result of the amount of computing and
computing power required to remain competitive in today’s market.
The cloud

is poised to change the
way that information tech
nology works and is worked with by drastically reducing the cost of
computing.
As a result, i
t

is expected to become a $1
5
0 billion industry over the next two years.
(
Marston
, 2010)

Cloud computing is a natural progression technology infrastructure. Mainfr
ames were eventually phased
out as client
-
server systems were adopted and the same will likely happen between servers and the
cloud (Zissis, 2010).
Cloud computing consists of 4 different groups of people: the consumers, the
providers, the enablers and the

regulators.
The consumers pay for the use of the cloud from the
providers. The providers own and operate the clouds. They are responsible for all upgrades to the cloud
as well as for the software be
ing used on the cloud. Enablers, as the name entails, ena
ble the use of a
cloud by providing the infrastructure and any specialized software. Regulators control what the
consumers, providers and enablers
are and are not allowed to do. (
Martson
, 2010)

According to
a
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Thr
eats) analysis performed by Martson
et. al. [
2010
], some of the strengths of cloud computing are:



a company’s computing power can
be as dynamic as their computing needs



innovative solutions are only available through the cloud (i.e. facebook.com is a cloud

solution to the problem of social networking)

The biggest weakness is:



a company’s nature to want physical control over the storage of their dat
a

The biggest opportunities are:



providing small businesses and third world countries cheap access to
significant computing
power



cloud computing is a greener
solution to modern technological needs

The threats that should be resolved are:



perceived notion that cloud data is insecure



the fear that cloud companies will drastically increase their rates once c
ompanies become
dependent on them

Currently, the construction industry is
not focusing on how it can best utilize cloud computing.
Cloud
computing is still in its infancy and the large majority of the attention surrounding it is focused on the
more obviou
sly ap
plicable industries, such as

information technology.

3. State of the Art

As cloud computing becomes more established, the state of the art will advance. At its current state,
cloud computing is still trying to overcome some, not necessarily deserved,

preconceptions. The biggest
fear potential users have is tha
t their data will not be secure (Martson, 2010). Zissis and Lekkas (2010)
address the issue of security and found that cloud computing can maintain
confidentiality and
availability of data. In or
der to achieve this security there needs to be a level of trust given to a thir
d
party. Cloud security should be assigned to a third party in much the same way that the security of a
desktop computer is maintained by third party anti
-
virus software.

There

is a framework set in place to aid companies in deciding if cloud computing is the correct for
them. It takes into account aspects like: size of IT resources, size of customer base, peak data usage vs.
average data usage, sensitivity of the data, etc.

(Mi
sra, 2010).

It is a very simple model but can be
extremely useful in determining the feasibility of using cloud computing within certain sectors of the
construction industry.

4. Recommended Path Forwards

There is great potential for cloud computing to impact the construction industry. In order for it to
become common practice, a framework for implementing it given the specific requirements and
restraints of the construction industry should be developed.

5
. References

Martson, S., Li, Z., Bandyopadhyay, S., Zhang, J., Anand, G. (2010). “Cloud computing


The business
perspective.”
Decision Support Systems.
pp. 176
-
189.

Misra, S.C., Mondal, A. (2010). “Identification of a company’s suitability for the adopti
on of cloud
computing and modelling its corresponding Return on Investment.”
Mathematical and
Computer Modelling.

pp. 504
-
521.

Zissis, D., Lekkas, D. (2010). “Addressing cloud computing security issues.”
Future Generation Computer
Systems.
pp. 583
-
592.