Many people find the cloud to be an elusive concept – and understandably so. It’s hard to wrap your head around something you can’t see but is also something central to so much of your day-to-day life. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – an arm of the Department of Commerce – cloud computing is “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.”
Every time you check your email, for example, you’re working within the cloud and benefitting from its reliability and accessibility. The same goes for watching your favorite shows on streaming services, purchasing items on eCommerce sites, or running a report in your company’s CRM. These tools you tap into through your web browser are cloud applications.
Companies that offer their services in the cloud include: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Salesforce...the list goes on. You’ll notice that all of these platforms are convenient to access – anywhere with Internet access. They are available whether you’re on a tablet, laptop, desktop, or cell phone.
How it works
There are two dimensions to the cloud: what you see, and what you don’t.
Within the cloud, data moves rapidly from one location to another so that it’s always there for you, whenever you need to see, or make changes, to it. These functions are all possible through those cloud applications we mentioned earlier. Cloud apps are, by definition, software programs that don’t need to run on a local device. All you need is Internet access and your own device, and you should be up and running without complicated setup.
A lot goes on behind the scenes of the cloud applications you use. On the back end, the data you’re interacting with is actually stored within a system of computers, servers, and data storage devices typically housed in data centers. These data centers can be located anywhere around the world.
Who operates these data centers, you might wonder? Third-party cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services manage them.
Benefits of [construction in] the cloud
There are many reasons why more and more businesses – in all industries – are moving to the cloud. This includes organizations in the building and construction industry, which may surprise you as being one of the least digitized market sectors in the world.
Digitization, according to Gartner’s IT glossary, is “the process of changing analog to digital form,” and based on the graphical representation below of one study conducted by McKinsey, it would be safe to conclude that there is a direct correlation between digitization and productivity growth.
Today, a lot of digitization happens in the cloud simply because so much data can run in a cloud environment. There are a multitude of benefits of taking the programs that are integral to the way you conduct business, into the cloud.
Here at RIB Software, we teamed up with Microsoft last year to launch the first ever cloud-based 5D Building Information Modeling (BIM) solution expressly for the construction and real estate industries. We took our leading construction management, virtual-to-physical planning solution, iTWO, and put it on the Microsoft Azure cloud.
The result? MTWO.
What this means is the MTWO platform is accessible from anywhere because it is actually hosted by Microsoft, through their extensive network of data centers around the world. The resulting host (pun intended) of benefits, include:
● More time to do what you do best. With a third-party taking care of what goes on in the cloud, no one on your end has to waste precious time and resources setting up your own infrastructure. As a result, MTWO allows you to execute your business goals while cloud provider experts do the “racking and stacking” of keeping a network up and running.
● Better system performance. A cloud services provider like Microsoft serves a widely-spread, diverse clientele, so each client benefits from their frequent upgrades. This means a third-party team is devoted to eliminating network latency for MTWO users. And there is always a backup system, with multiple servers to better ensure that you’ll always have access to your 5D BIM platform.
● Easy access. You can access your cloud-based program through a web browser, which means you can tackle work no matter where you are, and on any device.
● Scalability. There are rarely any floors or ceilings around how many users there are. You can start with a small project and grow your user community as big as you like.
To learn more about these benefits and how they pertain to MTWO and construction in the cloud, contact us today or visit www.mtwocloud.com.