Thinking Out Cloud

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.

Thinking Out Cloud

Welcome to the first post of Thinking Out Cloud. 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, including:
  • Interesting industry developments and trends
  • Common questions and issues associated with deployment of personal cloud services
  • Technology as well as business case and go-to-market considerations
  • Ways that different mobile devices and computers are used with these services

This blog is meant to be a resource for anyone who wants to learn about the personal cloud and how it is used in the real world, its related issues, and where it is heading. If you want to stay informed about these things, bookmark this blog now :)

By way of introduction, I am the VP Marketing at Funambol, a provider of white-label personal cloud solutions for mobile operators, device makers and other mobile service providers. If you are unfamiliar with the term white-label, it simply means that when our customers go to market, they put their brand on the service rather than ours, which is why few people outside of the industry have heard of Funambol. We are sort of like the 'Intel inside' for personal cloud solutions, as many of the largest personal cloud services use our company's solutions. But this blog is not meant to be a promotional piece for Funambol. I have worked here for six years and have spoken with thousands of people in all capacities about the personal cloud, and this blog is partially a reflection of that. Before Funambol, I worked at several other high profile Silicon Valley software companies, including Oracle and a company I co-founded, Rubric, which pioneered the category of Marketing Automation. But first and foremost, I consider myself someone who is both highly technical and marketing oriented, as well as a pragmatist. I really enjoy helping people take advantage of technology. My current 'love affair' with technology has been in mobile for the past 7 years.

This blog is initially oriented toward personal cloud services for consumers rather than enterprises. The consumer side is where more of the innovation and action is today. Services such as iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive and Funambol are oriented more toward consumer use for the most part. Some solutions are more aimed at the enterprise, such as Box, but by-and-large, this blog concerns itself with 'personal' rather than 'enterprise' clouds.

There is quite a lot of overlap between cloud services for consumers and enterprises. Both are concerned with storing, syncing and sharing data and content on mobile devices and computers via the cloud. But they diverge by offering distinct capabilities. For example, consumer clouds involve buying, storing, streaming and syncing music and video, while enterprise clouds provide document version control, collaboration, advanced security and access control that are by-and-large not of interest to most consumers.

This technology and market is another prime example of the trend of the consumerization of IT, where initial adoption and innovation is lead by consumers, as with other mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets. I expect cloud services to ultimately be adopted by hundreds of millions of enterprise users worldwide, but the market trends and technology are initially being shaped by consumers.