2010 Horizon.museum Short List

2010 Horizon.museum Report Short List pdf

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Critical Challenges

Key Trends

Cloud Computing

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less
It has become common for companies with vast computing networks to rent spare cycles and space to others. Each of these networks is known as a cloud and can support multiple services. Applications like Gmail use a cloud as their platform, in the way that programs on a desktop computer use that single computer as a platform. Cloud-based applications do not run on a single computer; instead they are spread over a distributed cluster, using storage space and computing resources from many available machines as needed. There are many computing clouds, and “the cloud” has come to denote any group of computers used in this way. Improved infrastructure has made cloud computing robust and reliable; as usage grows, the cloud is fundamentally changing our notions of computing and communication. Many emerging technologies are supported in some way by the cloud: collaborative environments, online communication tools, web-based counterparts to mobile applications, and many, many personal web tools are cloud-based. Data storage is cheap in these environments — pennies per gigabyte — so cheap that it is often provided in surprising quantities for free. To the end user, the cloud is invisible, and the technology that supports the applications does not matter — the fact that the applications are always available is key.

Relevance for Museum Education and Interpretation

  • Using cloud services, high-quality digital content including videos, images, and audio files can be stored and made available to audiences at a distance.
  • Cloud computing can decrease, and in some cases eliminate, the need for museums to spend large capital sums for hardware, proprietary software, and the staff to provide expertise in these areas.

Cloud Computing in Practice

  • The Indianapolis Museum of art created ArtBabble in late 2008 an on-line video website dedicated to art related content that runs entirely in the cloud and allows streaming of high definition video content in a scalable and cost-effective manner: http://www.artbabble.org
  • The Steve project uses Google Docs and other shared applications in the cloud to foster collaboration and working in teams: http://steve.museum

For Further Reading

Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing
(Armburst, et al., UC Berkeley Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory, February 10, 2009.) This white paper takes an in-depth, scientific look at cloud computing.

Cloud Migrations Trigger Organizational Challenges
(Vanessa Alvarez, InformationWeek.com, February 9, 2010.) This article discusses how cloud computing can work if organizations are well structured in advance to take advantage of its affordances.