I’ve been following the cloud with great interest since Slacker and Pandora came on the scene some time around 2007. The idea of streaming music from the cloud was appealing and struck a chord. This year however the cloud will come fully into it’s own. This is the year that consumers will adopt cloud technology at a faster rate than businesses have to date.
Video, Data, Music
With consumers creating data at a breakneck pace, they will want to store it in a safe place, and they will want to share and access it from everywhere they go. My wife went nuts when I set up her new point and shoot camera with an Eye-Fi card last week. The card allows her to take a picture, have it immediately uploaded to her PC through her smartphone, the PC then uploads it to Shutterfly. Then with an app on our iPad and her iPhone she can almost instantly see the photos she’s taken. Better yet, she has instant access to all her pictures without having to store them on her phone.
Safe and Secure
The other big advantage is her digital treasures are safely backed up on Shutterfly, temporaily on the Eye-Fi cloud and on her PC. On another front our PC’s are backed up through an online backup service on an ongoing basis for a mere $60 a year.
The number of entertainment options has also gone through the roof. Every week I get at least 5 free songs from Amazon and Google which are of course stored in the cloud for free, but accessible everywhere. Our TV and Blu-ray player have access to almost endless streams of on demand video and I can even access the data on my PC.
Just the Beginning
The best part is this is all just the beginning. Soon everything, maybe even the fridge will be connected to the cloud. Just look at CES this year and you’ll quickly see that everything being shown has a cloud component.
The key here is the ecommerce opportunity for smart companies who can control themselves and look for small ways to tap into recurring service fees. I say control themselves because the desire to add a $5 or $10 fee for cloud services is great but will quickly result in fee-fatigue by consumers. Finding a business model that works with micro-purchases will be the most successful, leaving the consumer with greater control of their expenses and feeling better about their purchases. The question for your company is; can you restrain yourselves?