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July 10, 2008

It’s not all white and fluffy out there

THE CLOUD – Today I want to point out and ask a bit out what you think of the future of internet services. Will it all be stored somewhere (say, Oregon) for us to access from anywhere. Will data and computing be Everywhere?

Below are a few things to ponder, covering new services, service uptime, and services everywhere. What does it all mean?

Cloud computing

Are you ready to put all your stuff in the Cloud, storing all your photos, files, documents, or data on your or someone’s server? Pundits say that’s the future. Setting aside the environmental issues, access and security are two main issues with folks having full trust in storing things ‘out there’. Services are known to go down for stretches at a time, which seriously affects trust. And even the biggest can slip up.

Nokia is getting into the game with Nokia Backup (storing your phone data, see note below), Share on Ovi (storing and sharing your photos and videos), and, most recently, Files on Ovi (storing and accessing, of course, your files). It’ll be extremely important to protect the data in all ways and also keep up a great service that is always accessible. Tall order, and the name of the game for Nokia services here on out.

Computing everywhere

As everything moves into the Cloud, will we want constant access to it? There are many names for when information, data, and computing become part of the background: Ambient Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, Pervasive Computing. But, how do we keep Pervasive from becoming Perversive?

A good pal and fellow Nokia employee, Janne Jalkanen, pauses and thinks about what it means to have computing everywhere and what he hopes won’t happen. Having been instrumental in the rise of near field communication at Nokia, he’s thought a lot about inter-object communication and how we interact with objects. He worries that we’ll create ubiquitous computing solutions that are not really necessary because we can, not be cause we need it. As is usually the case, I totally agree with his assessment (and the comments he received are excellent).

What do you think?

What to pick?

Speaking of services that put your data in the Cloud, I had a hand in some of the work around Ovi, particularly Ovi Sync. But, as happens in a large and segmented company like Nokia, similar products come out that may confuse a user, even clever ones like Steve Lichtfield, who takes a look at Ovi Sync look-alike Nokia Backup. Indeed, as far as I know, the two have a lot in common, including some tech and people. So, yes, the two are ‘quite’ related.

But, as with our devices, the services are tailored for different crowds. One can see Ovi services increasingly focus on integration and cross-service ties. In contrast, individual services, such as Backup, focus on a contained experience for those who just want that service.

Does that make sense? It’s kinda like the different promises of Nseries or non-Nseries phones?

Or is it just darn confusing and should Nokia stop making similar but differently supported and marketed products and services?