hype.

Netbooks, Cloud Computing – Work, Play Without Boundaries

Want to be really hip?

Mention Gartner’s newly minted Hype Cycle.


Figure 1 - Ups, Downs of Hype – Technologies follow a fairly predictable cycle from new idea to rousing interest to early acceptance to valleys of interest failure to widespread acceptance. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and effort to move technologies along the path to the point that it becomes widely accepted and commoditized. Source -- Gartner

It’s “in.”

So much more today than Chris Anderson’s Long Tail or Geoffrey Moore’s Chasm.

MBA’s like the Hype Cycle because it lets them figure out what new idea they’re going to “develop” to make their gazillion dollars.

VCs (also MBAs) use the cycle because it tells them where they should be throwing their investors’ dollars.

Media folks like it because it gives them a hook for stories on what’s hot, what’s not and why companies fall on their faces.

But wait…we forgot one ingredient?

The consumer!

Fortunately the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) tracks that sort of thing and people simply do not overthrow known stuff for new stuff as quickly as we would like!


Figure 2 - Consumers vs Anticipation – All of today’s consumer technologies that are taken for granted took time – more than manufacturers would like – to go from early adopters to late majorities to laggards. The only technology that has come close to meeting the hype anticipation was DVD. You probably won’t see that rapid acceptance again in your lifetime. Source -- CEA

Take cloud computing for example.

It’s hot.

It’s not.

It’s here.

It’s coming.

Depends!

It’s not one solution fits all even though we’re trying our darndest to make everyone fit into the cloud.

First there is corporate and consumer. Then there is boomer and Gen X, Gen Y.

Business Clouds
It’s true that today’s workforce is mobile and needs to be connected anywhere, anytime.

The C-level and IT folks are trying to make us as productive as possible.

The line between our personal and professional lives have become so cloudy it is sometimes tough to figure out when your working day starts/begins and when your family/personal lifestyle takes over.

We operate in a 24/7 economy. We’ve moved from a command and control hierarchy to a connect and collaborate global village business model.

It’s a paradigm ready made for cloud computing.

But we agree with Gene Kranz…“I don't care about what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do.”

Cloud computing will take a llllloooonnngggg time to “arrive!”

There are “little” things P/L folks worry about like security…compliance…availability… data integrity…where the data is located.

True you already do a lot on Web 2.0 in the cloud. You’ve got a Gmail and Yahoo Mail account. Yes you got photos on Flickr. Yep you put how-to videos on YouTube. Sure you take part in communities, forums, discussion groups, more.


Figure 3 - You’re Already There – Working in the cloud isn’t a dramatic leap for most people. We already use YouTube, MySpace, Flickr and other online sites and activities. Teens and Tweens spend considerable time in the cloud working, communicating, entertaining. The new ingredient is a netbook slimmed down to leverage these activities. Source – Pew Interactive

But do you want to put your private business data up there?

If you work in Germany do you think officials want you storing your business data in Canada…the US…Mexico…?

You’re a DOD contractor. Think they would be happy to find you stored your documents, data in Shanghai…New Delhi…?

As Pete Conrad said, “Jim, you think it's too late for him to abort?”

It’s still a work in progress…helluva work in progress.

There are some very reputable providers – IBM, ATT, HP, Amazon, SalesForce, Sun, Google – and a lot of dogs n cats.

Some things make sense.

Some don’t.

If it’s non-mission-critical data or applications and it’s compromised or goes offline…no big deal.

If it’s central or core to your business think it’s good for your career path to put it out there?

Business/Personal Cloud
We understand the power, reach, potential and benefits of the Internet.

We understand a lot of its strengths and its weaknesses.

There’s nothing magic or ethereal about the Internet. It exists because of an awful lot of private companies.

Then came the applications companies followed by the Black Hatters and Doom 9ers.

We’ve got a couple of different email addresses beyond our business one…just don’t know what they are because we never use them.

When we’re away from the office we want our content, our data, our information, our storage, our solutions.


Figure 4 - Relinquishing Value – While you do a lot in the cloud, how much of your content are you willing to turn over and make broadly available to almost anyone with creative zeal in the cloud? Losing some school papers may not cause much concern. But losing personal/family photos, videos, private data that you don’t want to lose or don’t want widely distributed is a greater concern. That stuff needs to stay “at home.” Source – Pew Interactive

We need that stuff available 99.99% of the time.

When we need to access that information or do that work we don’t want to wonder out loud as Jack Swagert did…“Ken, there's an awful lot of condensation on these panels. What's the story of them shorting out?”

SalesForce had a significant outage a few years ago.

Amazon’s S3 service had its outage.

So did Gmail.

Let’s not even talk about Apple’s MobileMe!

If you’re working in the cloud and it fails there’s no one to call.

You don’t say as Swigert did, “So long, Earth. Catch you on the flip side.”

Especially if you’re tracking your stock portfolio and need to do some trades!

Sorry…we’ll stick with our cellphone and our notebook.

Younger Crowd
But cloud computing for the consumer has gotten so much hype that system manufacturers have jumped on board to rake in huge sales.


Figure 5 - Computing Delta – While the worldwide potential for netbooks is overshadowed by notebook sales, it certainly hasn’t stopped every computer ODM and OEM to announce their flavor of the cloud-enabled computer. Unplug the netbook from the Internet and you’ve got a nice light scratchpad. Source -- Intel

While analysts are forecasting great things for netbooks in a few years, Acer is more modest in their projections – 10 million this year and 30 million next year.

That made Asus, Lenovo, HP, Dell, you name it salivate so they’re all rolling out super solutions with long battery life, little internal storage and light weight.

It may have slipped past your radar but Asus may have the best relationship approach.

They signed a deal with DoCoMo (one of Japan’s leading mobile telco providers) to sell bundles to consumers.

After all look at what you do online.


Figure 6 - So Much Connectivity – Teens and Tweens almost literally live on line. They send/receive messages, exchange photos/music/videos, share documents and work collaboratively. For them being connected and working/playing in the cloud is almost the natural order of life. Source – Pew Interactive

All of that stuff is “meant” to give folks more time online and rack up more minute sales for mobile telcos.

It’s what Gen Xers, Gen Yers do so well!

Ask our son about the security issues and he just gives us this blank stare…“So?”

It’s just not a big issue with people who were raised on the Internet.

Storage Clouds
Ask him if he’s worried about storing stuff in the cloud because there are times it can look less than friendly?


Figure 7 - The Real Cloud – We’re not really certain why when people refer to cloud computing they show images of nice fluffy things. Sure cloud computing can be as friendly as the clouds you see up above you. But they can also hide a universe of evil. There’s a ying and yang you need to watch close. Source – NASA

Again…“So?”

He’s got photos, videos, music, stuff everywhere in the cloud because, well because the “free” service is there.

It’s his.

It’s there.

It’s available.

Wrong!

Actually he’s not really a bad kid because no one reads the user agreements.

Facebook, Flickr, Google, YouTube, Linkup, all of the Web 2.0 cloud sites use very similar legal scapegoat wordage…“XYZ may delete or remove (without notice) any stuff at its sole discretion, for any reason or no reason.”

We don’t want to go looking for something and have Dr. Chuck say, “Flight, we just lost Lovell!”

We may use their storage from time to time but we’ll be darned if it will be our main or our archive storage…that will be at the office and at home!

When we want our data, our content, our stuff…we want it!

Netbooks look like nice toys.

When they’re up and running and everything is connected they are cool.

When the stars aren’t in alignment they’re cute boat anchors!

We’ll stick with “some” cloud computing.


Figure 8 - Gentle Breezes – There’s a time to work in the clouds and there are times to have your feet (and information) firmly planted on terra firma. After all, the fastest way to get from point A to point B is often through the atmosphere. But if someone seeds the clouds with bad stuff, it’s time to bring your content home. Source – NY Times

But we’ll do it with a notebook so we can play DVDs, power game, edit photos/videos, work on ppts, write articles, do stuff we actually get paid for anywhere/anytime.

Last think we want to hear is Ken Mattingly telling us, “Umm... We'll just have to take that one at a time, Jack.’



Charts , illustrations available by contacing andy@markencom.com

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Author:. G. A. "Andy" Marken President Marken Communications, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Andy has worked in front of and behind the TV camera and radio mike. Unlike most PR people he listens to and understands the consumer’s perspective on the actual use of products. He has written more than 100 articles in the business and trade press. During this time he has also addressed industry issues and technologies not as corporate wishlists but how they can be used by normal people. He has been a marketing an... Go Deeper | Website