Amazon announced recently that they will be providing not only CPU processing power and storage online (the way they have for several years now) but Graphical computing as well. This really does change things
Amazon Web Services sounds complicated and most people haven't come into direct contact with it - except that they have. That's because if they've used almost any of the well-know cloud systems and social media sites like Pinterest, Netflix, Pinterest, Adobe, Shazam - and so on - they all use AWS. Hundreds of other well-known companies use Amazon but just don't shout about it.
So you've probably been using it without realising or noticing it.
What's attractive about it is that if you're a small - or big - company, you can forget the cost of buying and running a rack of servers, and the responsibility for maintaining them and backing them up. Using AWS is not cheap, but it is proportional to your needs, so there's certainly a good business case for it.
But, nevertheless, it's as an end user to the companies subscribing to AWS that you'll have used it rather than as a direct user. So, until now, it hasn't mattered much to most people who aren't in the IT business.
Physical GPU inside a virtual machine
But now, all of that is set to change - especially for anyone that works with video. Because this week, Amazon announced that it is going to include access to Physical GPU processing from within its virtual machines. Which means that from now, it will be possible not just to store video in the cloud, but to do heavy-duty processing on it as well.
So why would you want to do this? Especially when it's still quite slow to upload video.
Well, it won't be for most people much longer. Broadband speeds are mushrooming (unless you live where I do!). In cities, which is where most media industry clusters are found, there either is or will be soon 1Gbit/s broadband links, probably bidirectional. And more speed will follow.
For mobile users, LTE is already at or around 100 Mbit/s. That's enough for some useful work. And mobile is exactly where you'll see the biggest differences, because your iPad will become a graphics workstation. Absolved of the responsibility for actually processing anything, your iPad only has to give you a graphical interface and communication with AWS.
If you upload your material at the beginning of the project, you'll be able to work on it anywhere. At exactly the same time as airlines are allowing you to use your mobile gear during take off and landing, you'll be able to render your latest 3D model from your aircraft seat.