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Cloud Computing for Non-Profits

Archive for October, 2011

Cloud Computing for Non-Profits

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

I’m an avid reader of TechSoup and this month TechSoup Global Network is reporting on how cloud computing is being used in different countries in their Cloud Computing Worldwide campaign. The report from the U.S. focuses on how non-profits are using cloud computing. It is a very insightful perspective. Here’s what they have to say:

During the month of October, join TechSoup.org and the TechSoup Global Network for our Cloud Computing Worldwide campaign. Check back throughout the month for blog posts, webinars, and dispatches from around the world on cloud computing for nonprofits, NGOs, and public libraries.

 

This is a communique on the current state of cloud adoption in the United States from me, this time. What we know so far is that U.S.-based nonprofits know that cloud computing is coming, and know that they will probably be paying for their IT services in a different way, but are pretty unclear about what to do about it.

In July 2011, TechSoup.org conducted a survey of nonprofits on their current use of cloud services, their plans for adopting cloud services, their expectations on costs, and their barriers to cloud adoption. The survey project was done under leadership of TechSoup’s Dan Webb. We got 495 nonprofit respondents from 43 U.S. states. They were quite representative of the larger nonprofit sector in terms of budget except that we got a somewhat larger percentage of large nonprofits with budgets over $1 million participating. Here’s what we found out:

Current Cloud Adoption

Nearly half of respondents are not using cloud services (to their knowledge). About a third are using software as a service like Google Apps, or Salesforce.com, or a cloud database. A surprisingly large 15% are using cloud infrastructure services like Rackspace or another hosting service.

The anticipated timing of cloud adoption for most respondents (nearly 50%) is within three years.

Nearly 70% of respondents rate the importance of cloud technology in their future IT landscape as either somewhat important or very important. Nonprofits are very aware that this new way of operating IT systems is on the horizon.

Among the most important cloud services respondents said they plan to adopt are to get good cloud data backup in place. Of somewhat less importance are to begin using collaboration tools. The majority (69%) said that they expect to pay for those services, but of course want them discounted. Only 13% are currently paying for them. A significant minority (31%) said that they will use such services only if they’re free.

Top Cloud Adoption Inhibitors

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Our findings here are very interesting in this area. Across the board, nonprofits have concerns about not having IT staff able to transition them to cloud services, being able to afford monthly fees that cloud services will require, how secure their data will be, and not being entirely clear on how all that will work for them. Here’s the stats:

Nonprofit Comments

Of course we got lots of comments in the survey, mostly from people who are looking for better clarity on how to proceed in to mists of cloud computing. Here is a sampling:

  • “We look forward to this becoming a reality.”
  • “Thanks for being proactive about offering what non-profits need to keep up in the digital workplace.”
  • ” …a source to help us develop and implement a cloud-based strategy is what I have been looking for, so keep going, please.”
  • “Thanks for staying on the cutting edge working to further nonprofit work for the common good.”

For more information and hopefully some better clarity on cloud computing, check out TechSoup’s Cloud Computing resource page. We have put up what we hope is a pretty good set of online resources on cloud computing for nonprofits and libraries, but sincerely welcome your suggestions on what more you’d like to see from us.

Want an Ice Cream Sandwich? New Android Unveiled

Posted on: October 19th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

From Jason O. Gilbert on the Huffington Post:

Summer may have ended, but Android users are getting ready for some Ice Cream Sandwich.

In a joint event in Hong Kong with Samsung announcing the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, Google also unveiled the newest update to its Android operating system: Android 4.0, code-name “Ice Cream Sandwich.”

“While people like Android, and while people need Android, people didn’t love Android,” said Android Director Matias Duarte while introducing the OS, which features an aesthetic overhaul to make it more visually pleasing overall.

Among the major changes coming to Ice Cream Sandwich are:

– A new font called “Roboto,” which is a semi-circular, more rounded font than usual.
– Home, back, menu and search buttons being moved onto the touchscreen, especially important as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has no physical hardware buttons.
– General overhaul of the user interface. Expect much larger pictures for contacts, the ability to resize widgets on the homescreens, a favorites tray that is always visible at the bottom of the screen for quick launch of contacts, apps and webpages.
– The ability to swipe right or swipe left on any screen. Much like on Windows Mango, Android will now give users the option to swipe screens to the side to switch between panes.
– The ability to take screenshots by simultaneously pressing the power button and the home button.
– A new data usage view. In the settings, a data monitor will show how much data the user has eaten up in the month; this monitor will give the user an option to set a threshold where the user will be warned or where data will be shut off. It will also give the user the ability to view how much data each app is using over time, including in the foreground (while it’s running) or in the background (while any other app is running), giving the user the option to always turn off data for a given app while it runs in the background.
– Camera from the lock screen. A camera button has been added to the lock screen for quick access.
– Easier photo sharing. Pictures can now be shared to any app, like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter, that hooks in to Android’s PhotoShare platform.
– Photo editing tools. After taking a picture, users will be able to crop, remove red eye and perform several other edits, including add Instagram-like filters to their photos (Android still currently lacks the Instagram app that is so popular on iOS)
– Native panorama photo-taking capability. The camera has the ability to instantly take seamless panorama shots.
– Timelapse video. Native to the video app will be a timelapse option to make super sped-up videos.
– Take photos while recording a video.
– Zoom while recording video.
– A new people app, which integrates the contact information from several social networks and aggregates updates from those networks into a single feed (also familiar to Mango users).
– “Quick Response” to phone calls. If you receive a phone call and don’t want to answer it, you don’t just have to ignore it anymore; you can send a canned response text message to the person telling them why you are busy.
– Android Beam. With NFC-enabled Android phones, two Android users will be able to share any content by simply pressing the backs of their phones together and pressing the “Beam” button.
-Face Unlock. There is an option to unlock the phone using facial recognition: If your phone recognizes your face, it unlocks; if the phone does not recognize your face, it stays unlocked. For what it’s worth, this technology did not work on stage, much to the presenter’s chagrin.

This big update to the Android platform will be available for users with Gingerbread devices on October 19 or soon thereafter, according to Engadget.

Check out the cool new features available on the upcoming Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and then look at many of the features detailed above in our slideshow:

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