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The “intelligent cloud” refers to new cloud applications built with artificial intelligence or enhanced functionality in mind. Big tech companies like Microsoft are working on key technologies that are moving beyond the first-generation cloud technologies of the last 10 or 15 years, to focus on artificially intelligent applications.
The general idea of intelligent cloud is that the cloud technologies and applications that we now enjoy will be able to think smarter and have more information at their fingertips. For example, a cloud service that now exists as a simple delivery device could be outfitted with recommendation engines, web crawlers and other elements to give it more of an AI design.
Another aspect of intelligence in the cloud has to do with multi-device functionality. In this sense, some intelligent cloud applications are like the “watch it anywhere” technology of big telecom companies. That is, multiple devices will share data in real time, and all of it will be funneled into the cloud, where smart management brings that cloud intelligence to the consumer.
The term “intelligent cloud” is often paired with the terms like “intelligent edge” – this combination of terms, which Microsoft has largely cornered, is the idea that data can sit on the edge of a device oriented toward the cloud, and that by bouncing it back and forth between the device and the cloud, new intelligence models emerge. Look for the intelligent cloud to progress into a broader context as individual companies continue to define their services in relation to it.