CLOUD computing used to be seen as an online hard-drive where people could back up all their files in case of an emergency, similar to GoogleDrive, DropBox or Apple’s iCloud – but it is much more than just a safety net.
Companies around the world are now running their operations on the cloud to simplify processes, collaborate across time zones and most importantly, save money.
Here are three companies that use the cloud to disrupt their different industries:
Fostering international collaboration
From the fiery dragons of Game of Thrones to the brutal body checks of the National Hockey League (NHL), editing footage is an important part of television blockbusters and sports commercials.
Visual Effects company Cospective have developed programs that enable remote video reviewing in real-time.
This allows different production studios to outsource work anywhere in the world, without losing any quality or speed.
The programs use drawing tools to point at elements in a frame, sketch new ideas and write text notes, which are seen by anyone with access to the file in real-time.
It’s ability to work seamlessly on the cloud not only make it efficient but also a highly secure system that eliminates the need for file sharing and video streaming across third-party platforms.
The company has also looked at enhancing the portability of its products and recently released cineSync for iPhones and iPads.
CEO Rory McGregor said cineSync had become the standard for VFX editing in Hollywood.
“It means you no longer have people flying across the world to physically view elements that are going to be created – saving time and money but what it really saves is miscommunication,” he said.
“It used to be that you would spend a few months after the video had been shot that you would be doing the visual effects.
“Now it happens during the entire production, from well before a shot is filmed right through to delivery.”
It uses the cloud to increase production efficiency.
Cospective was established in 2004 to help Adelaide-based VFX company Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) cater to a global clientele.
Originally known as Rising Sun Research, it was first used in 2006 on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but has gone on to be the standard for Marvel in its many superhero films as well as the TV phenomenon Game of Thrones.
CineSync has also gone on to win an Academy Award for Technical Achievement.
Cospective's cineSync software was recently used to produce the VFX of Oscar-nominated Marvel film Doctor Strange.
Increasing company efficiency
Property management inspections can be some of the most tedious tasks for multi-million dollar companies that own stores in various locations.
Software firm HappyCo created a suite of apps to help businesses deliver data instantly and removes the need for hard-copy documents.
The company was founded in South Australia but now has its headquarters in San Francisco. It recently re-opened a base in Adelaide to help it continue to expand in Asia.
Its apps allow companies all over the world to increase the mobility of their inspection units because of its portability and seamless real-time connection back to headquarters.
As soon as data is retrieved at various locations, the information is synced on the cloud and is available on the HappyCo website.
Co-founder and CEO Jindou Lee said the company’s mobile apps collated information up to 70 per cent faster than traditional manual methods.
“It’s really weird but a lot of the world’s biggest companies are still using paper, which takes about four to six weeks to get back to the head office,” he said.
“The apps aren’t just doing checklists and ongoing management, they are able to lower insurance premiums as well,” Lee said.
“Liability is a huge issue and depending on the industry, like the property management space, a customer could save 10 per cent of their damage recovery - 10 per cent over 100,000 units is worth millions of dollars and a potential lawsuit.”
HappyCo is already working with more than 1000 clients including Equity Residential, Westfield, Colliers, Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) and Kayne Anderson to make ensure properties meet required compliance levels.
It has delivered more than 1.5 million inspections and captured more than 25 million photos since its launch in the United States in 2012.
Remote access to data in real-time is making companies more efficient. Picture: Jacek Kadaj
Cloud computing has also simplified time-intensive tasks such as accounting but this is often too expensive and complicated for SMEs.
South Australian startup Link4 aims to service small business across various industries including hospitality, construction, mechanics and primary industries.
It is a digital invoice translator and helps to manage accounts across multiple cloud platforms in real-time.
Link4 Managing Director Robin Sands said although cloud computing greatly reduced invoicing fees and eliminated spam emails, it came with its own set of limitations as well.
“One of the major problems is once you pick a vendor it is not easy to convert the information into other systems,” he said.
“What we do is work to seamlessly send invoices to other companies even if they’re not on the same service, which is not normally possible.
“There are a number of different services in Australia but also the world and we are able to service all of them because they’re based on a global framework.”
E-invoicing, or electronic billing, is 60 to 80 per cent more efficient than traditional paper based processing according to the Council of Small Business Australia.
Link4 is compatible with a range of different vendors including Xero, MYOB, Reckon One, QuickBooks, Saasu and Sage One.
Sands said there we more than 600,000 small businesses on cloud accounting systems and 1.2 billion invoices sent each year between businesses with that number likely to double when private citizens are also considered.
Launched at the end of 2016, the company has about 100 clients in Australia and is set to expand into Canada and the United Kingdom by the beginning of next year.
Link4 co-founders Robin Sands (left) and Sam Hassan (right) are using the cloud as an accounting system translator.