TECH TALK: Tomorrow’s World: Five-in-one

Our five-dimensional world of tomorrows commPuting utility comprises:

  • network computers as zero-management access devices
  • ubiquitous broadband wireless networks
  • server-based computing and storage grid as the underlying infrastructure
  • centrally accessible services built around hosted software and content
  • utility-like subscription-based payment model

    This utility combines the best of multiple models that we see around us:

    i-modes platform: One of the earliest successes for providing value-added services for end users was NTTDocomos i-mode mobile service in Japan. What i-mode did was create a platform for a wide variety of service providers to create and offer innovative creations through its platform to the mobile users. I-mode in turn took care of the billing and did a revenue share with the service provider. I see the commPuting utility operator as playing a similar role for software and content.

    Salesforces hosted software: Salesforce has demonstrated the success of the ASP (application software provider) model. It offers business applications on its centralised platform at prices starting at $65 a month per user. In essence, software has become a service. Extend this to the operating system and the desktop applications. Imagine Windows and Office being available for a few dollars a month off the centralised grid. Not only does this take care of piracy (akin to the way Chinese providers offer online gaming) but it also helps create opportunities for Microsofts existing developer base by offering them a way to vend their applications.

    TiVos time-shifted content: TiVo demonstrated to the world that there was another way to watch television. On-demand. Time-shifted entertainment can be extended to mean any kind of content, available whenever the user wants. In essence, any display becomes a TV screen when content is delivered off a server. Content does not have to be limited to just what the television networks broadcast, or what movies exist. Anything which can be digitized can be distributed (Netflix-style) to servers close to where the users are.

    Googles desktop ads: As the various search engines battle to deliver relevant ads to users, the ultimate prize is the user desktop. While Google doesnt yet do ads on the desktop, I believe it will do so in the near future as will the other search engines who are rapidly morphing into ad-delivery networks. The desktop offers a profiled user. And guess what in our world of tomorrow, the desktop is served from the grid, making it easier to show highly relevant and targeted ads, offering the potential to subsidise access costs for users.

    Yahoos personalisation: Every user is different. What Yahoos personalisation through My Yahoo offers is the ability to put together a page based on ones interests. This same customisation needs to be available via the grid. Think of it as my dashboard available not just on the computer but also on the cellphone. There is no need to sync data across devices, since everything is centrally stored. Alerts can be delivered via email or IM (if the user is online) or via SMS (if the user is offline). Welcome to the real-time world where everyone is always reachable.

    Tomorrow: Five Markets

    TECH TALK Tomorrow’s World+T

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.