The Cloud Needs Focus

This is no secret, but, I am a huge advocate of the Cloud technology ecosystem.  I use about as many applications in the cloud as I can find.  If there is a good, free, or low-cost alternative to a bulky and costly application; I’m there.  I believe that fundamentally, this is where all computing is headed; into a distributed platform of  coexisting application providers.

I am excited, but at the same time I keep seeing where the Cloud is still falling short.  Yesterday I went on a tirade and spammed Twitter with some of my thoughts.  I think most of you are familiar with Twitter at this point, but just in case.  Twitter is a tool to tell people what you are doing or thinking right now.  It is short and to the point with your thoughts, but it could be so much more.  Companies could build automated bots on the Twitter platform to help me in my daily online life.  These might sound pretty geeky to you at first blush, but just think about my examples for a few minutes.

I want to follow Amazon on Twitter and then add entries to my cart by tweeting them to Amazon.  Like this: @amazonbot search Dark Side of the Moon.  Amazon’s bot would know who @mattwilliamson is because I am would be following it on Twitter, and on Amazon I would have signed up, giving them permission to follow me on Twitter.

Once this is established, Amazon could easily allow you to search for items, and once found they could just send you a direct message with a link.   Amazon could offer me direct messages containing shipping statuses of my purchases.  They could even allow me to manipulate my wish-list and cart.

I know, you are thinking that Amazon already offers all of this if I just log into the site, and you are right.  But the point is, Twitter offers me an immediacy that neither email, nor the website give me.

Another example could be my DVD rental company.  I want to add movies to my rental queue by sending a direct message to the service.  Something like this: ‘DM dvdrentalbot add Close Encounters’.  That is ‘dm dvdrentalbot’ for direct message to the application dvdrentalbot, the command, in this case ‘add’, the then the title I am requesting.  I personally think this is a huge service.  Either Netflix or Blockbuster could do this, I wonder which one will be there first?

More and more we will see applications built to work with information from any other application.  The past was all about application providers fencing off their data and denying users the right to use it where they wanted.  The future is users demanding the ability to use their data where they choose, how they choose and when they choose.

When I say that the Cloud needs focus, I mean that we need to focus it.  You and I.  We need to develop products we want to see, we need to push companies we use today to offer us the solutions we want to use.  We can persuade the Google’s and Amazon’s of the world to give us the tools we want. But, we need to do more ourselves.

How is your company preparing for this new paradigm?  How are your teams thinking about new marketing, new technology and new economies?  If you are waiting for the market to settle down, if you are waiting for your competition to down-size, or your customers to demand you grow with the burgeoning technology front; it will be too late.  Move now, adopt now, transform now.

Matt Williamson
@mattwilliamson on Twitter

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