Why cloud-based services are proving ever more popular with consumers.
In recent years, we’ve seen a shift towards cloud-based storage, where people entrust their information to the data centres of Google, Apple or Amazon (among others), rather than storing it primarily on their own devices.
There are several reasons why cloud-based services are popular with users. Firstly, users don’t have to take responsibility for protecting data or backing it up. Secondly, they can access it from anywhere. Now that files aren’t stuck on one computer sat on a desk, they can be downloaded using any internet-enabled device, anywhere in the world, at any time. Users can access their information wherever and whenever they want it, without having to prepare it in advance to make it available.
Perhaps most importantly, cloud-based applications give users more flexibility. Want to start reading a book on your phone on the train, and then finish it off on your tablet at home? Or maybe you start watching a film on your Ultrabook at home, and then go out and decide to watch the final few minutes on your phone at the bus stop? We’re starting to see applications that enable smarter synchronisation between different devices, so that the user’s experience of interacting with content isn’t tied to a particular device, but can move seamlessly across all the devices they own.
In the future, I think we’ll see more applications that take advantage of different devices to craft a single experience that always uses the best tool for the job. The Digital Mementos sample application demonstrates this. On an Ultrabook or tablet device running Windows 8, users can plan a trip, including finding points of interest and sharing their trip information on Facebook. With the Travel Companion Client running on Android, they can use their mobile phone to update their trip record, including posting photos taken on the phone and looking up information about points of interest. There are social features for interaction with friends on Facebook too, and the data remains available after the trip as a memento. One particularly nice feature is the ability to leave geo messages, which are messages (left by one user for another) that are tied to a particular location and only visible to users when they are within range of that location.
This app takes advantage of the strength of the different devices: the large keyboard and screen for journey planning using the Ultrabook or tablet; and then the portability and built-in camera on the phone. It’s worth downloading the app and playing with the code to see how it’s put together. Although it’s a fairly simple demo, it shows how different devices can appear to talk to each other, so that they always reflect the latest information and preferences of the user.
The whole experience is made possible thanks to cloud-based data sharing and synchronisation between the Windows and Android applications. This uses three components of the Intel Cloud Services Platform beta:
• Intel Identity Services, which allow users to create online profiles and manage personal information on the internet;
• Location Based Services, which include geocoding, reverse geocoding, mapping, directions, and points of interest (POI); and
• Context Services, which enable apps to collect, aggregate, store and analyze user data, including location data. Services include privacy controls, storing and retrieving context, and monitoring for new context information.
What kind of experience would you like to have across different devices and apps? How do you think cloud-based synchronisation could transform your use of personal computing devices? Leave a comment below.
This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture