Hal Steger : Thinking Out Cloud
Hal Steger
Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Funambol. 20+ years of marketing & product management experience at high-growth, innovative global software companies.
| This blog is about personal cloud solutions, technology, trends and market developments. Its scope is to comment on and discuss several aspects of personal clouds.

The Race to Gigabit is About Business

The cable companies racing to Gigabit networks isn't about delivering ultra-fast broadband to consumers. The Gigabit announcements get them good PR...

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Four Ways Cable Operators Can Boost the Customer Experience

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The customer experience has always mattered, but its importance has grown in recent years. This has been driven by increased global competition, including the almost instant availability of alternations, and the rising expectations by fickle and informed consumer. Yet, cable operators have a long way to travel if they want to deliver the customer experience (CX) that consumers demand.

The Temkin Group’s Q3 2014 survey of 10,000 US consumers’ opinions about goods and services registered the lowest ranking average Net Promoter Score (NPS) for pay TV providers, a telling statistic. Internet service providers did almost as poorly, coming in only one position higher.

“As technology innovations drive shifts in consumer behavior and open new service opportunities, operators must start eliminating pain points,” stressed Alcatel-Lucent’s Nicholas Cadwgan in a recent TechZine article, Cable MSOs transform the customer experience. “This includes any obstacles that will impede their ability to launch and provide adequate care and quality assurance for those services.”

Cadwgan lays out four customer experience management (CEM) areas that cable operators should focus on.

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HP Can't Compete in Public Cloud as Amazon Machine Learning Launches

There are long-term trends in technology we all know are happening. Computers will get more powerful. More devices will be connected. Finally,...

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Citrix and Grasshopper Make a Good Pair

Citrix has many products - DaaS, NetScaler, ZenApp, SingleSignon and the GoTo suite of products: GoToAssist, GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, Podio...

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The NFV End Game Part 2

If it’s true that NFV will end the “end-to-end solutions coming from a single vendor” and usher in the “best of...

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Exclusive Interview with Aricent's Frank Kern at MWC 2015

It’s been a few years since I've covered Aricent (2012, 2009, 2006) but as fate would have it I was fortunate enough...

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What is your digital life worth?

April 15, 2015

This post is not about insurance or the meaning of life, digital or otherwise. Rather, it is an attempt to help people understand the importance of securing their personal content in the cloud. Disclaimer: I work for a company that provides personal cloud solutions. Despite this, I firmly believe that almost anyone who uses smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices can greatly benefit from doing this.

Personal Cloud Goes Mainstream (warning: 'mature' humor)

November 4, 2013

How do you know when something has attained 'tipping point' status and reached into the mainstream consciousness?

How about when a Saturday Night Live skit makes a semi-obscure reference to someone's personal cloud, as in the following (warning, this would probably be rated PG for some semi-mature content):

Although the skit references a certain company's personal cloud service (which shall go unnamed, although it is pretty obvious), we still like how it calls attention to another use for a personal cloud (even if it involves snooping on someone's personal life, and not by the NSA).

Speaking of the NSA, I saw the other day that someone got in trouble for selling a coffee cup online that had the seal of the NSA with a caption underneath that read, 'The only branch of government that listens' (or something like this). They got in trouble for using the NSA seal without permission, ostensibly.

8 of the Top Mobile Operators Deploy Personal Clouds

September 25, 2013

Having worked with personal clouds from their outset (before they were called personal clouds, I can say with first-hand knowledge that it is virtually impossible to get accurate market data about how many people are really using personal clouds.

This is because the companies that provide personal clouds are either very large or very private and they generally do not want to disclose detailed user stats. If you pay close attention, or you have a wide network of spies or friends in low places, it is possible to glean periodic glimpses of what various companies are doing, such that it is possible to make pretty good educated guesses about what is really going on in the market.

Today, my company, Funambol, published a report on how 8 of the largest mobile operators in the world have deployed or are launching a personal cloud service based on our company's solution. These operators collectively have more than a billion subscribers. Although a fraction of their subscribers are currently using their personal cloud services, the clear trend is that for operators that have been to market the longest, they are getting significant user uptake.

What Service Providers Should Know About Personal Clouds: 25 Strategic Considerations

September 25, 2013

The following is adapted from a free white paper that can be downloaded from my company's website with instant registration at

The personal cloud market is quickly approaching the proverbial tipping point. There are more than one billion end user personal cloud accounts in the world, with double-digit percentage growth forecasted for each of the next several years. At the same time, industry observers believe the market has yet to 'cross the chasm', from early adopters and advanced users to the mainstream, although this is expected shortly. The 'net' result is that there remains ample opportunity, especially for nimble companies.

Personal Clouds Central in Central America

August 27, 2013

I recently traveled to Costa Rica for a family summer vacation. In addition to enjoying the rain forests, monkeys, sloths and other indigenous species, I really liked accessing my personal cloud, for a variety of uses. This journey allowed me to see how personal clouds can be of great value to people who live in areas where mobile internet is spotty or expensive, and where people don't own personal computers.

In my case, we stayed at a place with slow and undependable wifi.

The Future of Mobile Cloud Apps

June 7, 2013

I recently attended a Forrester webinar on the future of mobile apps. Although part of the webinar was about technical topics such as developing native, html5 or hybrid apps, it did cover several other topics that are very salient to the future of mobile cloud apps. These were:


How Confidential Is Data in the Cloud and What Are The Implications?

June 3, 2013

A federal judge recently ordered Google to comply with FBI requests to make customer data available, without a warrant. You can google the story (seems ironic to google a story against Google) or view it at:

In this case, the FBI can present National Security Letters to Google requesting access to customer data, and Google must honor the requests by allowing access. National Security Letters do not require a warrant, they can be issued without judicial due process.

Beginning of the End for the Personal Cloud Freemium Model?

May 31, 2013

If you missed it, the Flickr photo sharing service announced this week that it is now giving users one terabyte of free storage. Their website says this is equal to about 500,000 high res photos - wow!

Depending on your perspective, you might view this as a great pr stunt, a bold move to attract or retain users, or a desperate move to carve out a meaningful and permanent niche in a crowded space.

It does raise a strategic question for the personal cloud industry, which is whether the 'great free terabyte giveaway' is just the first of many services to give away all of the storage that users are likely to ever need, or might this be the last?

Personal Cloud Market Map 2013

May 21, 2013

My company spends a lot of time talking to people about the personal cloud space, including industry analysts, executives, users and many others. A common question is, "what is the personal cloud market, exactly?". For people who do not follow the industry closely, it can be confusing, given the  multitude of companies and offerings in the market.

To simplify things, we often draw a 'market map' that resembles the following:

Operator Clouds: It's The User Experience...

May 2, 2013

At the risk of dating myself as well as using a semi-crass word, one phrase comes to mind in light of the recent launch of a major U.S. carrier cloud.

"It's the economy, stupid"

Except in this case, it would be:

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