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The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic propelled cloud adoption at an unprecedented rate. The benefits of cloud computing combined with the promises Web3 holds for such things as blockchain-backed decentralization, scalability and increased ownership for everyday users became clearer when the world shut down in March 2020.
Now, Web3’s lesser-known but important counterpart, Cloud3, is also beginning to gain traction. Executives like Salesforce CEO Marc Bennioff are already mapping how their companies will adopt the new iteration of cloud computing — the core of which is built around working from anywhere — further supporting the workforce shift.
“We’re in a new world. This is a huge opportunity to create and extend and complement our platform. We realized for each and every one of our clouds, it was time to transform to become a work-from-anywhere environment. We ultimately are focused on delivering the operating system for Cloud3,” Bennioff said in a company press release earlier this year.
Cloud3 and Web3 may sound like the latest tech buzzwords, but according to industry experts, the two are on the rise, and enterprise executives and community leaders need to pay attention or risk getting left behind.
The promises of Web3
Before there was a third iteration of anything, there had to, of course, be a first and second to lay the foundation.
The original iteration of the World Wide Web created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. It focused on HTML, specification of URLs and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) commands. While Web 2.0 is complex, it can be simplistically defined as what we know the internet to be today, including access to the web via Wi-Fi, smartphones and the rise of social media usage.
Web3’s features ensure more democratization over the web. With blockchain-backed decentralization and scalability, there will be less oversight, which may, of course, lead to bad actors, but could also pave the way for underrepresented people, communities and companies to gain more control.
“It always seems that POC [people of color] create the culture of communities or companies, but end up benefiting last from it. And with this kind of new paradigm of power Web3 can provide, we’re able to finally take ownership of our communities, said Cheryl Campos, head of venture growth and partnerships at Republic.
“We can use Web3 to more easily and equally share the wealth with others and make sure we are sharing the profits with others. What is so exciting is that Web3 allows for that through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)and even with new DeFi (decentralized finance) products coming out that focus on supporting communities or loaning to others. That is not just the wealth gap, but also the ownership gap, that Web3 helps bring back to the hands of communities and the people within in them in a meaningful way,” Campos added.
Founder and partner of the Open Web Collective, Mildred “Mimi” Idada, agrees: “The Web3 ethos can bring in more diversity, not just in terms of race, nationality or gender, but also diversity in backgrounds, skills and perspectives.”
“Diverse skill sets and perspectives are also necessary for innovation in the Web3 space. We need not only technical talent, such as developers, but also creatives, lawyers, bankers and community builders,” Idada said.
That said, innovation and benefits Web3 can provide to communities, businesses and investors alike won’t happen overnight.
According to Greg Isenberg, cofounder and CEO of Late Checkout, a company that designs, creates and acquires Web3 and community-based technology businesses, Web3 still has a ways to go until the full breadth of its benefits is visible, but it’s important for executives and community leaders to pay attention now.
“Web3 doesn’t, and can’t, work unless the UX [user experience] is very simple — so much so that your grandmother could buy a digital asset like an NFT to have ownership in Web3. But to do that, we need a lot of infrastructure in place,” Isenberg said.
Isenberg said he has seen several companies make great strides in UX with a proactive eye toward the rise of Web3 like Rainbow, the Ethereum wallet that allows you to manage many digital assets in one place. Isenberg said he expects other companies across industries to soon follow suit. He also echoes Campos’ and Idada’s excitement and predictions regarding Web3, citing the impressive outpouring of cryptocurrency donations made to Ukraine totaling around $55 million in just days. It’s the Web3 infrastructure that these platforms and currencies like crypto are beginning to build that creates the scalability of donations like this.
“What gets me excited about Web3 in general is the coordination it brings to capital to address important things. That [was possible] because of the web infrastructure that was built on top of it, Isenberg said. “I expect social causes to be a huge part of popular Web3 projects going forward. Now I’m thinking, ‘What else can this help change?’ It’s interesting because there’s a perception that Web3 is bad for the environment, for example, but I actually think that a large part of solving the world’s problems will stem from coordinating people and capital and Web3 has already proven to be really good at that.”
Standing on Cloud3
Part of the needed infrastructure to support Web3’s promise to coordinate and help solve community and world problems efficiently and at scale will require Cloud3’s advanced capabilities — which assure secure access to collaborative tools from anywhere.
The evolution of cloud technology began with large IT operations that were disrupted by the software-as-a-service boom. Next came infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service technologies, further relieving pressures placed on IT teams and developers alike. Now, the demand for everything the prior cloud iterations provide is just as fierce as the demand from companies and the public alike to access these tools from wherever, whenever while simultaneously having strong IT security as a backbone — from wherever, whenever.
“Cloud3 will empower businesses to leverage cloud-based experience platforms as a toolkit to seamlessly compose personalized communication experiences,” said Steve Forcum Cloud3 expert and director and chief evangelist for marketing at Avaya.
A report from the health information technology and clinical research company, Iqvia, underscores that “emerging Cloud3 technologies will disrupt application development in organizations across all industries. Companies in the life sciences and financial industries, in particular, are well-positioned to leverage Cloud3 to differentiate themselves by applying artificial intelligence to big data.”
Cloud3’s emergence will also transform how businesses are run and how tools and information are supported and accessed to match the pace and style of life that the world has shifted to post-pandemic.
“Rather than businesses focusing on moving to the cloud, [with Cloud3] they’ll be forced to think of ways to transform within the cloud. With this comes innovation and new, cloud-based technologies. Disruptive technology should not require disruption to your business,” Forcum said. “A converged platform approach with composability at its core is malleable in nature, adjusting to the organization’s business processes, versus forcing processes to compromise around the limitations of a cloud platform or app.”
Though intriguing promises and benefits stem from both the emergence of Web3 and Cloud3, there are concerns where they overlap.
“A drawback we do see with [the overlap of the] decentralized web [Web3] and Cloud3, is more the industry recognizing that while there are similarities, these are also two very different spaces with very different mechanisms and tools to achieve their goals,” said Idada. “Nonetheless, hardware, computation power and cloud computing will be key pieces to the next phase of the web. Improved and enhanced capabilities will change how everyday apps operate and what is possible to meet our changing faster pace and on the go lifestyles.”
What’s next for Web3 and Cloud3?
As for what the future holds as innovation increases and cloud adoption accelerates, pay attention or risk getting left behind is the consensus from experts.
Isenberg predicts that moving closer to the fully fleshed out iterations of both Web3 and Cloud3 that we may see more legacy companies begin to adopt them and make moves in the space, but that along with it, particularly for Web3, we may also see many of those companies fail.
“We’ll likely see legacy companies embrace Web3 and it’s probably not going to go very well for many of them,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a small percentage, maybe 1% to 5%, embrace it really, really well and become category leaders among crypto data brands while others struggle to find their place.”
“The future of work is remote. So, you have to make sure that there is infrastructure that will allow for this, or otherwise, you will not retain or get the best talent right for your operations. And more than ever, it has been clear that companies that embrace this Web3 space are more likely to attract younger talent and folks that are bullish on the space,” Campos added.