Insightful expansion of what cloud computing could enable...
Into the cloud: a conversation with Russ Daniels, Part II - Ars Technica
RD: Let me give you another example that describes the expressiveness of the cloud and the role that devices play. We tend to think of devices too narrowly. I do a fair amount of business travel, and every now and then I'm lucky enough to be on a plane where I have a screen and I can watch a movie. But, a common occurrence is that the flight crew comes on the PA and announces that we're landing, so they shut down the entertainment system with ten or fifteen minutes left in the movie. Consequently, I have a surprising number of movies that I've seen most, but not all of.
Think about that problem, and then imagine that you go into your hotel room, turn on your entertainment system and it asks if you'd like to continue the movie that was interrupted in your flight. To do that, it's just a matter of propagating a small amount of state—the airline knew who was in the seat, they know what channel was being watched on the entertainment system and they know what frame the movie was interrupted on. That little bit of state can be propagated up to a profile that's associated with me, the passenger.
When I check into my hotel, I can provide access to that profile for the aspects of the profile that I think are relevant to the hotel, and that provides them with the opportunity to offer me that surprise of being able to finish watching the movie.
I didn't own the device in the airplane; I don't own the device in the hotel. By expanding our thinking about what Internet-capable devices ought to be, aside from the notebooks or phones, we are able to include anything that has the ability to be technology-enabled. These cloud-enabled devices can play a role in understanding what you're doing, offering you assistance and improving the experience that you have doing it.
Devices increasingly become important not only as user experiences, but also as sensors. One of the great things about a cell phone is that it has the ability to generate event streams relevant to what I'm doing—the hotspots that I go by, all of that kind of stuff. When you accumulate those streams, you can then do analytics to start to identify my defaults, my preferences. You can notice patterns of behavior that suggest when I do one thing, there's a pretty high probability that I'm going to do this other thing.
All this means that technologies can start to identify your intentions, rather than you having to map between what you want to do and how technology can help you—and, then, of course, forgetting the fact that you spent a lot of time coaxing the technology to go along.
Ultimately, the cloud creates a fundamental opportunity to approach user experience in a much different way.