Microsoft has announced, and I quote, ‘the World’s first stay at home server’, together with a free 120 day trial. I haven’t done a detailed specification analysis against the Apple ‘Time Capsule’, but superficially both units seem to offer similar capabilities to, and this is the point, the home. And the definition of that home is a multi user, multi device environment, requiring wireless managed access and a lot, and I do mean a lot, of storage.
In short both devices make the multi media life style, as opposed to what I would call the home use of a PC a reality. If you are using one of these devices with in excess of 100Gb of storage, always on Internet and wireless connectivity will it change what you do on the over the Internet and in using the Web? The only possible answer is yes, as you will no longer think about many of the current constraints that cover the use of digital media.

PWC have an interesting video interview with their head of Media in which he talks about the expected massive growth, but a few moments into the interview he makes the remark; ‘it used to about survival of the fittest, it will be come more about the need to collaborate’. It’s not too clear in the remainder of the interview exactly what he means, but I will surmise this in the context of my interest.
Exactly what will be the impact on the internal enterprise provision of ‘technology’, (meaning traditional IT systems and the new wave of Internet Web based technologies), driven by the expectations of users comparing things with their home systems? Stephen Abram on his Stephen’s Lighthouse blog reckons that expectations are being driven by what users see, and get, when they visit the top web sites. As he says it’s a pretty good argument and he then goes on to publish what are the top 50 sites.
The topic gets a little more scientifically examined by the centre for User Interface Engineering, and I really recommend you to take a look at their work when considering how you are constructing any screen interface. What all this is building up to is that all of us industry professionals with our views on the provisioning of business supporting technology are still thinking inwardly and around the way that we have delivered applications. The people who are going to be using our solutions, are not thinking the same way, and therefore we can expect them to not be too impressed with our views of what they want.
Just think on the storage issue for a moment, why at home can you have so much, why is your e mail account effectively unlimited, and then why is it all such an issue at work? When we can answer that we get to first base, but in looking at the way user expectations are growing and changing second base is a long way further on. Most significantly of all they will be blurring our part of the solution with the other businesses that they are collaborating with.
And, in this piece, I haven’t even touched on building business solutions to win business competitively from customers. There it’s going to be a case of exceeding the user expectations in comparison with competitors or losing the business. Finally don’t lose sight of that comment its not a simple case of survival of the fittest but the most able collaborator in the market being the most likely to win.