Ok, a little bit of futurology for you…..Every now and then I will put a few company’s products together and come up with some predictions about the near future, in terms of what products, services and technology will be needed or might emerge.
Imagine everything you have on your computer is backed up, automatically. You set it up once, and your files are backed up to your home server in your closet, and then onto remote storage supplied by a company selling raw storage in a storage facility. This is something that MS Home server will allow you to do when it ships this year.
Imagine that when you share a file or folder within Windows (or other OS) you have the ability to share it with friends over the internet by simply granting them permission in the normal sharing and security type way (rt-click a file or folder, sharing and security). This is something that is possible within MS Vista today after setting up the security center correctly (and will be improved when IPV6 roles out worldwide).
Imagine that through the same kind of sharing window, you can decide which files and folders are set up to sync with your mobile phone and/or other devices. For example, I want ‘c:/Pictures/photos’ on my computer to sync with all of my device’s ‘photos’ folders; I simply right-click the folder and select ‘sync with all devices’. The next time my PDA or phone goes online, it contacts my computer* through the internet, and syncs all of the photos. This now happens both ways, so when I take a photo on my phone, it is stored in ‘photos’ on the phone and then gets pushed to my computer and all of the other mobile devices I chose. That way, when I get back into the house, the photo is already there on my computer. This is something that is possible for pictures using SharpCast today (although it’s not built into windows so you have to install their app on the computer and mobile devices).
*or home server, or remote storage server, depending on which is contactable
Imagine, now that you can see the potential here, that any folder or file, photos or word doc can be synced with other devices you own, but also with other devices other people own, simply by right-clicking a file or folder. i.e “sync with gary’s pda” . Obviously all of the devices would need a nice level of transport security (IPv6, SSL) and some authentication (Windows CardSpace?). It would obviously be ideal to be able to set up these synchronizations from the mobile devices and other computers too. Sharing with groups of friends could utilize a variety of technologies allowing group permissions, take your pick from: windows users, active directory, Rialto, msn groups?
So, how far away is this?
Well, all of the technologies are there but need to put together, some integration into the operating system would be nice also, instead of having to run a proprietary program (a daemon and some shell integration?). Something like this, being easy and obvious to use, could also create an interesting business model for your ISP to become company which does all communications and storage as well (virgin media anyone?).
I won’t mention DRM on this one…..