July 28, 2011
Last night I had the honor of serving on my first panel discussion. As you might imagine, it was on the role of the big toe and its relationship to the other four toes it serves. Or – the future of the cloud and where we go from here. There were several other panelists covering various aspects of the ‘cloud’ and it was interesting to hear their take. A few takeaways…
1) It seems – based on the discussion – that everything is moving much more toward the small business and enterprise market and the consumer side will be won over by a few big players – Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc… This has certainly been the argument all along in opposition to us ‘smaller’ players but I am just not sure I agree. One of the big obstacles I have always seen with the big players is a restriction they all place on themselves – compatibility. They build their ‘stuff’ specifically not to talk to each other and as data resides across more machines, devices, and platforms it seems there will always be a place for someone to understand and organize regardless of restriction.
2) Differentiation of the different data elements and how we use them. Similar to how we live everyday, there are shirts and pants we wear quite often and others we pack away for special events or different seasons. Data is very similar to this and whereas you might not need to store your old prom dress or tuxedo in eyesight – so too is there data that you might not need to interact with day-to-day and therefore would prefer cheaper cloud storage. That said, documents you interact with daily would sit more front and center in the closet and thus you don’t mind paying a bit more.
3) Privacy is now and will continue to be a growing concern. The creation of our ‘zero-knowledge’ encryption was in direct response to what we felt would always be an important need as the cloud grew and grew and became more mainstream – privacy. However, there are varying degrees here as well.
4) Continued increase in the creation of data and the next wave. The discussion moved more to biometric devices able to capture heart rates and blood pressure and other body measurements into the cloud and then have automated systems created by doctors to alert you if there was potential trouble. Will be an interesting future…
In the end, it appears the ‘cloud’ is here to stay and will continue to grow and affect our lives in new and exciting ways. As for myself, I survived my first panel relatively unscathed as I didn’t spill my drink, fall asleep, insult the moderator, or say anything too scandalous about a competing CEO.