Who provides the most personal clouds worldwide?

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.

Who provides the most personal clouds worldwide?

As someone who spends a lot of time with personal clouds, an article in today's New York Times, "Why the World Is Drawing Battle Lines Against American Tech Giants", made me think about the impact on them. The author, Farhad Manjoo, listed several examples of how the "big 5" (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), who increasingly dominate daily life globally, embody principles in their products that can conflict with the beliefs, laws and politics in many countries. Governments, businesses and people in those countries often feel they have little-to-no recourse, resulting in a backlash against the big 5.

This is a complex situation that will continue a long time. The effect on personal clouds worldwide is striking as the big 5 are all major cloud players. Collectively, they have three billion cloud user accounts, with more than half outside the U.S.

Our company makes personal clouds for mobile operators and we have been at the forefront of this "battle". We have heard from many places outside the U.S. that they want the benefit of a personal cloud but with the freedom to comply with local laws and preferences. The most well-known example is storing citizen data in their own country versus in infrastructure from a U.S. company. This is just the tip of the iceberg though as there are many other aspects of clouds that must be adapted for local use.

Our company has more than 50 personal cloud deployments in countries outside the U.S., making us the leading supplier of personal clouds globally. Although another company lists dozens of global deployments, their cloud business is based 75% on revenue from two U.S. companies (Verizon, AT&T). Almost all of our company's revenue comes from outside the U.S. We have 'cracked the code' on successfully and repeatedly deploying personal clouds outside the U.S.

How? There are several important ways but In short, it is about enabling local providers and people to dictate how clouds are applied in their country and businesses. As our company says, a "one-size-fits-all" cloud is the wrong approach. The key is being able to adapt it quickly and cost-effectively for specific needs. It is one thing to make major alterations to a "one-size-fits-all" solution but like with clothes, the result is costly and ill-fitting, and users won't accept it when there are better alternatives. It is another to use a personal cloud designed from the onset to be eminently flexible.

Our company started in Europe (Italy) with roots in open source and users in more than 200 countries, syncing all kinds of data and devices under different conditions. We have come a long way and evolved into a vibrant commercial software company, but the global orientation and cultural sensitivity inherent in our solutions from day one enables our personal cloud to dominate outside the U.S. Regardless of how the backlash against U.S. tech giants evolves, personal clouds will continue to rapidly thrive worldwide.