Saturday, June 10, 2006

OS from Everywhere

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I am always impressed (mostly because I can't) when I am onsite at companies that have remote desktop access from kiosk machines-someone will eventually says- 'let me show you something' and logs in remotely into their desktop that could be physically in building 99 while we are sitting in building 31 (of course most likely they have hybrid cars that drive them from building to building around the campus in case you are wondering how they get around). Being able to remote access your desktop without having to lug around your laptop is becoming pretty standard-but typically you still need to be on your corporate network to have that ability with free range across your desktop applications.

Following on my post from yesterday about Enterprise Web 2.0 applications, I was pushed information by the Micro Persuasion blog about - YouOS - a Web Operating system being developed by MIT, Caltech and Stanford folks. They call it a 'liberation of software from hardware' which is one of the powers of Web 2.0. The concept is to provide your desktop, applications, and data wherever you travel -from computer to computer (potentially mobile as well); session to session.

I am traveling this week-yes I lugged my computer- I have access to both VPN and Web Connect access to enterprise applications. The Web Connect version however gives me access to limited applications, requires plug-in downloads that most kioski types of machines block, and honestly does not look and feel like my applications that I have probably customized to fit my personal workflow. Just last night when I got in, I couldn't connect via VPN on my laptop which lead to frustration because on my wireless device were client requests that needed data that was on my local desktop only. I am going to be at this house for the next week so I wanted it to work. I eventually forwarded it to my gmail account to look at what changes I needed to make- thought 'this will take me about 1hr'- but by then I had already tinkered for over 45min and was going to be late for a dinner event. So I sent a note to the client telling them that I would do it today- and on a lovely east coast june Saturday I sat at the kitchen table first thing this morning updating a requirements PPT. and so life goes..

I do not know if 'YouOS' as a service will have a major impact on the enterprise-but I think that the concept is something that we will soon see out of the traditional enterprise software vendors, Microsoft's Live Office is only the beginning and yesterday i mentioned Google's new spreadsheet services- which is one of many from them targeting the enterprise application market.

So how will this impact the stuff that I typically work with? I have worked on some external news integrations at Enterprises that deliver relevant premium news content in context to what the user is doing in that application- for example a portfolio dashboard for investment bankers or a sales CRM- those application access points however might change (e.g. they go mobile). Most likely our integration points will need to be tweaked because that access point will have ramifications-and sometimes certain functionality needs to be limited which might affect the areas we are integrated into-specifically at the User Interface level. Developing enterprise application on 'OS from everywhere' platforms could certainly avoid rebuilds and increase adoption and long term return on investment.

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