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What do Americans know about the Cloud?

95% of people declaring they have never used cloud services do use it in fact, through online banking, online shopping, social networking sites and virtual storage of photos and music. The study was undertaken on a group of more than 1,000 U.S. adults in August 2012 by Wakefield Research under the supervision of Citrix. It showed that the majority of respondents believe that cloud computing is a phenomenon associated with the weather, and some have linked the term with pillows, drugs and toilet paper (!).


The good news for the cloud is that even those who do not quite know what it is – having been see the economic benefits regarded to the opportunities the technology offers, and believe that it will contribute to the growth of small businesses.


One of the main applications of the study is that, despite the ever more widespread use of cloud, solutions of this range are still not fully understood. For example, 51% of respondents believe that the windy weather can interfere with the use of cloud services. Nearly one-third consider cloud computing as a solution that will be used in the future, while 97% of respondents already utilize the cloud every day by shopping and online banking, social networking and file sharing. Despite this, 59% of respondents believe that the future workplace will be fully in the cloud, which indicates that they give themselves time to explore the cloud and the risk it entail.


 The answers given in the survey also show a discrepancy between what Americans know, what they pretend to know, and what they are actually doing in terms of cloud computing. Other findings are as follows:


- The knowledge about cloud computing is apparent: 22% of Americans said they pretend to know the cloud technologies and solutions. In some cases they pretend at work - with one third of respondents in office and a further 14% during job interviews, and 17% claimed they boasted their false knowledge at first date. The most likely people to pretend were young - 36% aged 18-29, 18% aged over 30 years.


- Lack of knowledge is quite common - 56% of respondents said they think that other people refer to cloud computing in conversations when they are not sure what the conversation is exactly about.


- Answered what the cloud is most respondents associated the word with its most ordinary sense – the fluffy white thing in the sky, the sky or something related with weather (29%). Only 16% of respondents stated they link the word with a network for storage, use and sharing of data from devices connected to the Internet.


- Many people use it but few understand - 54% of Americans say they never used the cloud computing, while in reality 95% of them use the cloud. 65% of the users through electronic banking, 63% by shopping online, 58% using sites like Facebook or Twitter, 45% play online games, 29% storing photos, 22% storing music or video files. All of these services are based on the cloud, so using them is nothing but the use of cloud computing.


- Cloud computing can help the economy - having been acquainted with opportunities offered by the cloud 68% of Americans sees the economic benefits it can bring. The most visible benefits are lower costs for consumers (35%), support the development of small businesses (32%).


     The study shows clearly that phenomenon of the clouds is derived from the popular culture, but there is still large gap between the cloud’s perception and reality. Until significant changes in perception of the clouds will be taking place, the transition from the PCs to the era of cloud computing will proceed in significant pace.