Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Episode 8: A guy walks into a bar & orders a beer with his Cloud

I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk given by Go-Oodles at one of the Google offices in Dublin, where I was also introduced to the Chromebook, which is due to hit our shores in July through the guys at Go Oodles. The Chromebook is Google's chosen fighter to enter the ring against Apple's leviathan iPad, which has decimated the competition in the tablet market after initially being scorned by some upon its introduction, & sold like crazy, where you can't even get one in a PC World outlet unless you're there on a Tuesday morning when they get their fresh deliveries of them!

Some have asked why Google are even going down this road considering the spectacular problems facing their Android platform. The issues facing Android are in fact absolutely no fault of Google's, but the poor exposition of Android by handset makers, carriers & what those aforementioned pair have done with their own respective implementations of Android, & also that there's less choice in the way of Apps as a result, as application developers make more money per App from iOS apps than Android ones.

Even in my own experience with my own Android tablet, saw me unable to load a great deal many applications from the official Android Market, because the applications were meant for Android Phones, not tablets. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've actually never used a full unmolested version of Android from Google. Yet I know when I pick up an iOS device; I can have any flavour I want, as long as it's Apple.

But, I'll digress at this point about that as this is not a blog about tablet computing, or Android VS iOS, but how tablet computing is in fact going to lead the march into the cloud, lemming style. While the enterprise is slowly moving into the Cloud, the consumer market is there, front & centre, & the push is persistent, kept simple & enabled by peple like Google, Microsoft, Apple, & Amazon.

Each of these players is involved with some consumer hardware that pushes people with ease into the Cloud & the use of cloud services. I pick up an iPad now, I no longer need a computer to activate it, & I can get straight into the iTunes Cloud to consume as much or as little as I like, & then shove what I want back up into iCloud.

I open up a Chromebook, find a wifi connection, I can work in Google Docs, check my Gmail, & listen to my music up in Amazon's Sound Drive, even watch videos out of YouTube. I can lose my Chromebook, or it break, I can contact Google, or a designated Google partner, & I'm right back there, no data lost, no more 'ah crap, I forgot to back X or Y up!'

Budweiser recently introduced an iPhone app that will track then temperature near where I am & give me cut-price beer in a local bar, or a free drink should it reach a certain temperature. The Cloud is bringing me cheap, or free beer. WOW!  If you stood up at a Cloud Computing conference, or talk & made the statement of 'Cloud can even bring free beer to the masses' you would not only be laughed at, but questioned as to whether you yourself perhaps had too much beer.

Within every 'Cloud' company right now there is a drive to push adoption & sales like crazy. Executives are demanding numbers. Sales guys are hitting the market hard & aggressively. In some cases, the numbers are coming up short. Routes to market are being reviewed, messages being tweaked, even the offerings are getting changed, or re-imagined for re-marketing.

The successes in enterprise cloud right now are coming hard & fast in areas of software as a service, like e-mail, officeware or CRM's. These are the real fast quick wins for business consumer and service provider. Large complex migrations are never going to shorten down into exec-friendly boardroom pleasing sales cycles.

People are looking at companies like Google, SalesForce, Marketo, Microsoft Azure, Amazon, Apple & wondering why their Cloud offerings are not beating the paths to revenue like these guys are. These guys defined cloud. They were not only born from it, but pretty much defined it respectively. They fulfill the basic needs immediately, don't require much action in terms of market persuasion for people to beat a path to their door, & allow easy, non-fussy consumption of their services.

When you think of them you don't think 'Cloud service'. You don't find yourself asking 'okay, how does their cloud work'. 'How do I benefit from them?' You don't even find yourself really having to do much thinking at all to be on their cloud. And yet each of these guys despite being very active in the enterprise market, is exponentially more active in the average joe's life.

Countless droves of your every-man or every-woman has a G-mail or Hotmail account. Hundreds of millions of us have Apple iPods, or iPhones, or iPads (indications are a huge number have one or more of these devices or even all three!). Alot of us have bought products via Amazon's store, & alot of use SalesForce at our work. And as for Google, a billion unique visits per month across their services says it all.

Amazon are even in the process of introducing their own low-cost tablet computer, which some  seem to think will deliberately be sold at or below cost so they can storm into the market & east into Apple's share, & grab those who are still unconvinced by Apple's pricing. This tablet is also believed to also tie neatly into Amazon's AppStore, Cloud Drive & own online store with ease. Further making the push into cloud via consumer devices.