Computing in the Clouds

Computing in the Clouds

These days, almost every software platform is hosted in “the cloud.” If you are among the 1.8 billion Gmail users worldwide, you are already familiar with cloud based platforms. Gmail does not require hardware systems to store your data, access the server, or perform predictive text. Every feature and action is performed over the internet. That is called  “cloud computing.”

Cloud computing can be incredibly valuable. One benefit is cloud computing systems are set up to be pay-as-you-go, meaning you only pay for what you use and can easily upgrade when you need to expand. In the case of Gmail, the email system provides a certain amount of free storage. You only have to pay for extra once you exceed the given amount. Another benefit is automatic software updates. When Gmail has an update, you probably don’t even notice because it happens automatically during non peak hours. Cloud computing eliminates the manual, organization wide updates from the IT department. 

Cloud computing has much more powerful applications beyond just your email platform. It is widely used as a way to improve operations in many industrial settings as well. 

Car manufacturers, for example, are using cloud computing to offer over the air updates to their vehicles. Tesla uses cloud computing to wirelessly send updates to the autopilot software in each customer’s vehicle. Similarly, Ford is able to remotely update a vehicle’s audio, infotainment, and navigation software from anywhere. Both of these companies have eliminated the need for customers to bring their vehicle to the shop for a manual upgrade with a cable.

Boeing offers a health management software to the commercial airlines flying its aircraft. It is a cloud based system that gathers 20 terabytes of data every hour, analyzes it, and sends insights to maintenance teams on the ground. The system is an incredibly effective method for diagnosing maintenance issues, streamlining maintenance crews, and keeping passengers safe. Without cloud computing, data insights like this would be virtually impossible.

Global oil and gas giant, BP, teamed up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to implement a cloud computing solution. BP needed a more flexible and agile solution for its supply chain, procurement, and finance activities. By moving to the cloud, the company was able to significantly reduce its annual licensing, support, and maintenance costs. Switching to cloud computing also allows BP to decommission 11 of its physical servers. 

Every A4 Systems product and solution is developed for cloud computing. Our main software engine, SQC, is a cloud based software that contains the primary rules, logic, and architecture to bring our projects to life. SQC continually gets smarter with every project and drives unmatched value when it comes to performance insights in any industrial sector.


This article is part of a series of nine articles entitled, “The 9 Pillars of Digital Transformation.” A4 Systems is a world-class team of cyber physical system product developers. We transform quality data into primary competitive advantage by implementing the 9 pillars into our projects and solutions. 

Keep an eye out for the other articles here.