Google’s original mission statement was pretty clear:
“to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
On my recent trip to Newcastle in Eastern Australia I chose to fly Qantas and whilst in transit I came across a story in their inflight magazine titled ‘Cloud Control’ as authored by Joshua Gliddon – possibly the technology writer for the magazine but not entirely sure.
In the one pager brief he described Cloud computing in simple terms and used an analogy along the lines of quote
“So when next time you fly, you’ll have a renewed appreciation for those fluffy white sculpted clouds outside your window – your data’s new home.”
I then decided to ask the passenger sitting next to me in seat 6B “What’s your definition of cloud computing?”
I was curious what complete strangers actually thought – in fact it’s now a plan to ask as many people on my trip. To my surprise her analogy was interesting;
“Well to me it’s like a broom cupboard where everything goes in and nothing goes out without my knowledge”
….better still she went on to say that often her employer and fellow team members chose cloud options such as GoodReader so they can take work home with them – specially on long business trips.
What did she like about it? The ability to conduct a simple search in a little box to find and retrieve a file that traditionally would have taken a lot longer to find and or extract…anywhere anytime.
Let’s face it, as more and more people adopt computing as their number one choice for managing day-to-day personal and professional elements the need to work smarter, quicker and more securely is upon us.
The ‘Toolbox’ for everyday people will soon be a PC, Smartphone, Tablet or as in the case of my parents a brand spanking new TV with ‘Smart Internet’ Capability.
Additionally and from a business perspective these ‘Toolboxes’ can only but deliver exciting solutions such as the ability to manage files independent of any set system. For example I remember the Sharepoint days which meant having to download a file to your local machine, hit the road in the vain attempt at hoping when you returned to the office and uploaded the file no one had used it and completed edits.
Whilst SharePoint did indeed improve this with file lockdown functionality it took a long time for it to catch up with other issues such as corrupted files, missing or illogical file storing pathways and in some instances a great way for an employee to randomly download a bucket load of sensitive information before handing in a resignation notice.
Modern day Intranet’s such as Box.net offer the basic shell that was Sharepoint but with bigger more strategic innovations such as third-party applications, group collaborations and even external invited guest – Yes I hear you SharePoint does al that….but seriously who used these features effectively given the many iterations and complex UI?.
I use Box.net, DropBox (for personal use) and the odd app on the iPad such as GoodReader and RTM (Remember The Milk) an awesome To-do list that is everywhere I go – even mum and dad’d internet enabled television.
My addiction to the cloud has ‘accidentally’ led me to strengthening my consultancy time out in the field authoring strategic pathways for larger corporates and NGO’s on the benefits and whats required to get into the Cloud according to their needs.
On a simpler scale and a good case in point – my dear wife, God bless her! She’s one of those lucky enough to be sitting on a big virtual fence, one that can decide if you are a Generation X or at a size-able decent push pass for a baby boomer.
Now the above statement will probably have me sleeping outside without the dog….just to add to the pain she’ll most probably make sure the dog has a comfortable nights sleep..however I fear not the result as put simply she’s not all that into ‘ computers’ as she so eloquently puts it, additionally she fits into a class of internet users that are about to be bombarded with some really nifty innovations in the Cloud.
Having said that on several occasions I’ve tried to gently persuade her to come over to the brighter side of life and have often spent time showing her the power of DropBox, box.net, GoodReader and a raft of other cool Cloud based applications…yet to this day I still see her writing up calendar entries on the kitchen counter on a dilapidated cute puppy 13 page spread, or cutting out recipe ideas which end up in a rusty old tin.
It’s this tin that is home to 100′s of recipes, all of which sounded good at the time but entered the tin’s ominous black hole never to be seen or heard off again – cue the Osso Bucco idea from the September 1991 Woman’s Day magazine.
So in summary where am I headed with this post? I guess the primary motivator is thinking ahead and seeing how the uptake of such cool technologies are slowly reaching the everyday mum’s and dad’s and in most instances the professional / office worker who rolls up for work on a Monday only to find their IT department has ‘rolled’ out a beta version of a new intranet.
However back to my motivation for posting this i simple really….its all about pushing a message that is; put simply - “Time to get with the program”
Recently Apple unveiled their iCloud concept for all the different types of IOS devices running OS 5 and MacOS Lion….when it does go live I predict it will be a small scale revolution as millions of newly acquired Apple customers jump on the Apple juggernaut and discover cool tools and equipment (that actually doesn’t fail all that much).
All the marketing spin, the morning talk shows and yep even Woman’s Day will invariably try to act as the educators trying to capture market share from the average consumer to gain more knowledge and possibly experiment with all the decent products already available.
But can Kerry-Ann sell the sizzle? or can ACA create and expose Cloud to boost its following with raunch, scammers and weight loss pills that offer interesting results?
From a business perspective I’d love to see all those busy burning the long hours, working away at developing code and functionality for the Cloud to really hit the go pedal and get out there, noticed and offering a pleasant user experience.
My question to you is simple – have you ask those around about the Cloud lately?
Go on ask I dare to dig deeper….“What do you know about the Cloud and how will it improve your day-to-day activities?”
Cheers – from Melbourne Australia (in transit to Sunny Newcastle in NSW)