The recent launch of Amazon’s cloud player (upload your MP3s and listen anywhere) has brought the cloud concept front and centre for the general public. Up until now most of the discussion has been focused on how cloud computing will help business with IT and development. Now such companies as Microsoft and Amazon are demonstrating the relevance of cloud computing to consumers.
Cloud computing is the foundation from which a whole new entertainment structure will be built. TV will fundamentally change and become more social (interactive) and that programming will travel wherever you go. No more bad TV in foreign hotel rooms! Just access your favourite content on demand from your smartphone or tablet and watch it. The lines between the different entertainment and information channels will blur and eventually cease to exist and “on demand” will be the standard.
Cloud and mobile are bringing us to an epoch in technology where it will move with us rather than us having to come to it. When people can travel with technology (no matter what that technology is) the world changes dramatically. The desk is no longer the digital altar where we must sacrifice time and freedom.
The mobility of humanity through technological developments in mass transportation fundamentally changed our cultures and our world. The advent of cloud computing and mobile devices will fundamentally change how we use technology. How will our world change now that people are unbound from the digital ball and chain? That’s a question we should be considering because it will change how we interact with our customers.
On demand business might be a good term for what the future may hold. Since people will be moving across multiple channels seamlessly and will choose where and when to interact with business.
American insurance company Esurance has jumped into this model early by promoting their services as on demand. Their sell line promises customers that they can have technology when they want it and people when they don’t. It seems they understand that now, the customer is calling the tune.
What on demand is really about is choice. And this kind of choice is powerful for both the consumer and business. Giving people choice is an extremely effective marketing message which says that you respect them and value their time. When people have more options for service and information, many of them will elect to interact with you via automated channels and thus take some of the load off your customer service people. Combining direct personal contact with optimized and automated solutions is a win-win for business and the consumer.
For decades technology has promised us more time for ourselves and has failed to deliver this. However, with the power of mobile and on demand technology, we may finally see some of that promise delivered. Yes, it’s a double edged sword to be wired 24/7, but for the moment at least, it’s all shiny and new with lots of potential and I like dreaming.