Diving Into the Cloud | Feature

Providing Anywhere Access

How the cloud enables collaboration and efficient transmission of information at two universities.

Arizona State University
Arizona State University was the first to do a large-scale student deployment of Google Apps for Education, the cloud-based set of online e-mail, collaboration, and productivity tools. The move away from on-premises applications benefited IT because it no longer had to concern itself with managing software licenses for the entire student population, nor did it have to make sure hardware was compatible with software. "This is something that is truly available anywhere at any time," says Sam DiGangi, the university's associate vice president of university technology and an associate professor of education. To use the applications, all the user needs is access to a browser and internet connection.

The cloud enables collaboration among team members, too. The obvious example is enabling a group of students to cowrite a document. But it doesn't stop there. It also provides a way for collaborating organizations to share data.

University of California, San Diego
The UCSD Health System has begun using cloud computing to receive imaging work from remote medical centers and hospitals to expedite treatment of trauma patients. Previously, files stored on CD were often transported by ambulance with the patient to the UC facility. If the CD disappeared or wasn't readable, earlier treatments and tests would have to be duplicated. Now, utilizing eMix, an electronic medical information exchange from DR Systems, the trauma center can access a website to pull the images needed for patient care.

"The efficiency and reliability of cloud computing is excellent," says Jeanne Lee, trauma surgeon at UCSD Health System and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the university's school of medicine. "It is an advance in the way we exchange medical information between healthcare facilities. This benefits our trauma patients for diagnoses and treatment, and cuts down on redundant imaging."

About the Authors

Rama Ramaswami is a business and technology writer based in New York City.

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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