Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Mauro Carniel, Rostyslav Demush, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Explaining the benefits of cloud services to your extended family

After spending the holidays with the extended family, a number of tech topics came up including Windows 8, tablets, and “the cloud”.  It’s always fun to have these discussions with family because I get an idea of what people across a number of generations (who generally aren’t technical) are thinking.  The general consensus with the cloud is that they just don’t get it.  They have heard about it, but they really have no idea what it is.  Specifically, we’re talking about the consumer oriented cloud services such as SkyDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, Flickr, etc.    I had mixed success in explaining it, but I did manage to show a couple of demos that got them interested.

With any holiday gathering, a lot of pictures were being taken.  Some people were using their phones.  Some using digital cameras.  People wanted to share their photos of course.  Some people went with Facebook while others needed to go sync up.  It got interesting through when I pointed out that I didn’t have to do all of that.  I have every photo I have ever taken in the last 13 years stored on my SkyDrive.  Thanks to Windows Phone, I don’t have to do a thing for new photos to show up there either.  Chances are whatever phone they use, there is a similar service available.

I set out on a mission to explain the cloud to my family and dispel some of the myths that they have heard.  When discussing this new cloud-connected way of life, I heard three general concerns / questions:

  • I don’t trust “them” with all of my stuff.
  • What if they lose my stuff?
  • What are the benefits?

Let’s take a look at each concern and I’ll share the discussions we had on each.

I don’t trust “them” with all of my stuff

This is a natural concern.  I hear it from directors and CIOs all of the time in the business world.  However, in the consumer world, it’s quite a bit different.  They aren’t dealing with things like compliance and data loss prevention.  They just want things to work.  If you look at the type of files, the average consumer stores on his or her computer, most of them are things like photos, homework, and maybe a few documents that have financial information.  I’d say very few people use the latter in reality, but I could be wrong.  So I asked, “What files do you have that you are so concerned about someone seeing?”  They really didn’t have an answer.  I asked “Do you really care if someone else sees your picture of pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving?”  They agreed, the answer is generally no.  They might have a few documents they are concerned about (i.e.: financial or real estate), but in general there is very little information that is considered sensitive.

The interesting point here is that when you start asking questions about what people do on the Internet, it turns out they are choosing more cloud services than they realize.  Every time, you upload a picture to Facebook, use Pintrest, or go and print out photos on WalMart.com, you’re effectively in the cloud.  By explaining that they are already using cloud services, the concept of using SkyDrive for storing pictures doesn’t seem so scary.

I had another interesting conversation with my mother about not trusting “them” when it comes to online ordering.  Being a baby boomer, she did successfully make the leap into services like Facebook some years ago.  However, she still had quite a bit of distrust when it comes to online ordering.  In fact, she still got catalogs in the mail and then she called the order in.  She said, she didn’t like using her credit card on the Internet.  This made me laugh.  I found it funny because more than likely the person on the other end of the phone is using the Internet in some way to enter that credit card on a secure site.  Often times this is just a flavor of the existing public facing web site.  It turns out her credit card number is more likely to be stolen by the operator on the phone or the waiter at the restaurant than it is by making an online transaction.   

What if they lose my stuff?

Surprisingly, there were a lot of concerns that if they put their documents and photos in the cloud they will get lost due to hardware failure or whatever.  Let’s look at storing photos long term.  I’ve always taken extra care of my digital photos just as you would a family photo album.  Before the cloud, I used to burn CDs regularly and store them somewhere else in case of fire.  This led me to inquire about how they store their photos today.  In this case, my mother doesn’t have a smart phone and uses a digital camera.  After she takes the photos, she connects it to her laptop via USB cable and they get stored somewhere on the laptop.  She then uploads them to WalMart.com and prints every single one of them out.  I asked “Do you think keeping your photos on your laptop is safer than in the cloud?”  The answer of course was “No, but I think I have copies and I always have the ones I have had printed”.  Her last computer recently died.  Right now, photos are scatted across WalMart.com, the new laptop, a handful of memory cards, along with the boxes and boxes of 4x6 photos.  For something like photos, I think you have to plan for the worst.  When someone loses a house due to fire or natural disaster, insurance can replace your stuff, but it can’t replace your boxes of photos.  If you find your old pictures valuable, this should scare you a bit.

With Windows 8.1, I showed how photos can be automatically synced to all of my devices.  This puts a physical copy on each device.  I can then browse them using the Photos app, directly on SkyDrive.com, and on my phone.  I think the feature that really got my family members excited though was the lock screen photo slideshow.  When my tablet showed photos I had literally just taken just a few moments ago in a slideshow, people were impressed.

What are the benefits?

To no surprise, shifting to Windows 8 was a difficult shift for the older members of my family.  However, when I showed it in action on my Surface 2, they started seeing some of the benefits.  I find even the most experienced of developers don’t really fully utilize the benefits of SkyDrive integration in Windows and Office.  I explained how I could start working on documents on my laptop and then open the same document on my Surface 2 and pick up right where I left off.  The point is your files are with you wherever you are regardless of the device you are on.

The last demonstration I gave was, I took a picture of all of them while we were sitting at the table.  I waited a few moments and then I showed it to them from my Surface 2.  Being on Microsoft devices makes this easy of course, but similar cloud functionality has been there for quite some time in the Apple world using iCloud.  Most of them have iPhones with a handful of Android devices, it’s just a matter of knowing these features are there.  Of course, I think uploading to SkyDrive is a much better experience, but the fact is they should take advantage of any service that makes archival of photos easier.  This level of cloud integration is what makes for a great consumer experience.

Summary

This “cloud thing” is really just starting to take off in the consumer space so it still may take some time before your grandma is using it.  The benefits are huge though.  With the cloud more integrated into Office 2013 and Windows 8.1, I think this is a step in the right direction.  Files will just automatically save to the cloud and users won’t have to think about it.  The simpler the experience, the greater the adoption.  Now, I don’t think for one minute, my entire family will drop what they are doing and start using the cloud.  However, I do think it got them thinking.  The next time I see some of them, I bet I will get a few more questions and some might even ask how to get started.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.