Friday, February 6, 2009
Cloud Computing Needs To Help People Migrate From Old Devices To New Ones
By Max Kalehoff David Churbuck, a blogger and marketing exec, said that cloud computing -- aka "the cloud" -- needs to alleviate the "nasty, stupid experience" of migrating from an old PC to a new one.
I work on a Mac, not a PC, yet I still agree entirely. Electronic devices are near disposable, but the data and apps they carry -- and we rely on -- are not. We need data and apps to freely flow among devices, with proper security and management controls, of course. And when I say devices, I mean far more than just laptops. We need the cloud to further power and alleviate the pain of mobile devices as well.
Here's one example of why:
During my recent visit to a Sprint retail shop to replace a damaged BlackBerry battery casing, the technicians were unable to locate a replacement part and declared the device a casualty. And there began the problem: I'm a heavy user of Gmail, Google Maps and TwitterBerry, among other BlackBerry apps. I also maintain a large personal contact database, which syncs with my Mac's email client. Those are all private databases, customized add-ons and configurations.
Downloading and reinstalling all the apps again, as well as reinstalling all my personal contacts, was a big hassle. It directly consumed many hours and disrupted my workflow and ability to communicate for two days. Oh, yeah, then there was all the basic user reconfiguration for the Blackberry -- a painful experience because the navigation system seems to get more cryptic as your settings requirements become more detailed. I'm talking about things like syncing my device with my company's Microsoft Exchange email server, speed dialing, security settings -- and much, much more.
Sure, there's plenty of hype and optimism that cloud computing might one day severely reduce the number of apps, computing power and storage a device needs to hold in order to be useful. Theoretically, that would eliminate many of my mobile migration problems noted above, in the first place.
But the reality is that the BlackBerry -- and most devices -- still requires sizeable apps and local storage to achieve the functionality and performance we all expect. But damn, in the interim, it would be nice if cloud computing could alleviate the pain by enabling one-click removals and reinstalls of my applications, databases and settings.
It's enough that our mobile devices are often lost, stolen, broken, corrupted, or become obsolete. Therefore, the fate of our data, user experience and productivity should not be held hostage to those devices.
Is this a problem for you, too? Does anyone have a viable solution?
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Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Clickable, a search-marketing solution for small and mid-size businesses. He also writes AttentionMax.com
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