With the pace of development towards cloud based services, it’s inevitable that sooner or later, most of what we use on our computers will merely be as host devices and the storage of the actual data is “somewhere in the cloud”.
What this really means for business is quite profound. It means we can literally turn up somewhere and use someone else’s computer and do all our own work, with our own data and software. It means we’ll be able to go to meetings without our laptops, yet be able to bring a presentation down from the cloud and show it on any device.
In terms of Apple’s iCloud service, there are new things and there are already done things, so some aspects of it are valuable for business. Features like email, contacts and calendars synchronization across all devices has been present already since Microsoft introduced Hosted Exchange.
This isn’t new, what is new though are the small features within the other iCloud apps which might prove to capture a few more business customers.
One thing I particularly like is the digital bookmark storage. What this means in reality is that if you are reading a book, or going through work notes in PDF or even watching a video or presentation, you can pick up where you left off on other devices.
You could be watching a business video at work, stop it half way through and when you get home, the video is waiting ready to carry on at the same point. All done automatically. This new automated service is also totally free.
What’s exciting about all this is not that their native built-in apps have this capability, after all they are Apple and by now we’ve come to expect a certain level of “cleverness” in their methodology. What is exciting is that they are making their API public so any company can develop using this platform and technology.
This means that the thousands of companies out there already creating apps, will now be able to create fully synchronized software platforms that span across all devices.
What does being fully automated and synchronized mean?
For a trader, you could be trading on one device and checking the prices whilst on the move. You’ll be able to set limits and view graphs, and all this data will be automatically shared to your desktop which when you get there, it’ll have all the settings and changes you’d made to your trades whilst on the move.
For a salesman, it means you no longer have to worry about which presentations you take to meetings, or whether it connects to 3rd party equipment for display. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to access it because the file is in the cloud, all you need is internet access.
The cloud gives us the capability to have our documents originate in the cloud, where the master file of any document is not located on your computer, but out there in the cloud. iCloud is the first to make this a reality and I’m sure there will be many others following hot on its heels when it’s launched this Autumn.
Ultimately this is another step closer to living in a world where we are not confined into offices. It gives even greater freedom to work from anywhere and it will allow companies to start thinking mobile and adopt more remote working practices.