Personal Clouds Central in Central America

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.

Personal Clouds Central in Central America

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. I had an Android smartphone, which I used to take lots of pictures and some videos. I kept it in airplane mode as I didn't have an affordable roaming plan and did want to experience bill shock when we returned home.

The first main use of my personal cloud was that whenever we returned to our vacation base, the pictures and videos on my phone were auto uploaded to my cloud. A second use was selectively sharing some of the better photos and videos with family and co-workers, via sharing on social networks and sending email with links to certain content.

I really like the sense of security of knowing that everything on my phone was auto uploaded to my cloud, because every day, there was a good chance that my phone might be lost or doused with water. This way, everything was just auto backed up, without needing to worry about who sees what. And when I was in a sharing mood, I could easily share only what I wanted, and it was very quick, because everything is shared via the cloud and doesn't need to be re-uploaded.

Another awesome use was accessing my home music on my phone, which I was able to play via speakers in our vacation rental. I keep my music collection in the cloud. Some is from iTunes, others from CDs, and others from Google Play. Because it is all in my cloud, everything is available on my phone. If I wanted to play a song that was not downloaded on my phone, it would stream, as long as the internet was available, but if it wasn't, it would just play the next song. The best part is that I didn't need to plan or do anything to access my music, I had it all at my fingertips. I found it amazing that my music, from all different sources, that is in our cloud service and running on Amazon cloud resources, played flawlessly many thousands of miles away.

Aside from my use of the cloud, I could see how the cloud can benefit people living in Costa Rica. Everyone has cell phones, though not everyone has mobile data. But even if they don't, modern phones are all wifi-capable and people are savvy about accessing free or low cost wifi. Because our cloud service supports both streaming (for when there is internet) and syncing (for when there isn't), it allows people to access their whole digital life on their phones, including pictures, videos, music and documents, and they don't need to worry about losing anything because it is all in the cloud.

The moral of the story is that the personal cloud is alive and well in the rain forests of Costa Rica, and that it can be a huge benefit to people all around the world, regardless of how many devices they own or if they have mobile data.