Here’s how Apple’s iCloud (or something similar) can be used in the business world
Journalists around the world have been busy reporting about Apple’s iCloud service. This is really a service for consumers to store and access their digital media from a central resource (Apple’s data center in North Carolina), using any Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iMac etc). But how can an iCloud-like service be useful to business users? Manufacturers of business smart phones may want to consider some of the issues raised in this article.
Personally, I find it a challenge to synchronize my appointments, meeting schedules and documents between my handset, Outlook mail and my analogous diary. It is a daily juggling act.
Wish-list item #1: To access my tethered desktop from anywhere. By “anywhere” I mean, from a business center in Indonesia or New Delhi, from my home, or while commuting. And everything on my desktop should be synchronized in real-time with a central resource, so that I always have access to updated versions of my documents.
Wish-list item #2: Enterprise user cloud service. I’d be glad to pay for a service that lets me sync my entire desktop with a central resource — and I should be able to access my (virtualized) desktop using a browser from anywhere in the world.
What I am proposing is possible to some extent (email) using services offered by Nokia and Blackberry. And Microsoft offers its SkyDrive cloud storage service, which it is now adapting for Windows Phone Mango (expected later this year).
Wish-list item #3: Desktop backups to the cloud. If Microsoft SkyDrive was seamlessly integrated with Windows XP/Vista/7 there would be a lot of potential for business use. Desktop backups for instance, would be easy and seamless. And this is sure to address my daily juggling act. There’s a large base of Nokia smart phone users in India and a partnership with Microsoft on this front is sure to help Nokia regain lost market share.
RIM may also want to consider a cloud-like service that integrates with the Blackberry Desktop.
Meanwhile, there are folks like Dell who offer services like Desktop backup for enterprise users.