Building on our previous rant on data caps killing The Cloud [confusion.cc]; I do think there is an opportunity for service providers in The Cloud, but it’s not really about them offering anything new or exciting in terms of technology. It’s about utility. The thing that the service providers have that over-the-top (OTT) players, like Apple, Google and Microsoft, don’t have is how close they are to the consumer. For my data to get to Apple or Google or Microsoft it has to traverse the service providers network and then some backbone providers network before ending up in some Microsoft, Google or Apple data center half way around the world. On the other hand The Cloud operated by my service provider is just down the road (in internet terms). This is where the opportunity lies.
If I was a service provider I’d put together a cloud service that was designed around using that advantage. Rather than trying to be the be-all-end-all provider of the content itself — a nasty low margin business (which has sidetracked me before [confusion.cc] — I’d be the best cloud for the consumers. Since I’m close and own the network, transmission quality is within my control for streaming media. So I’d sell the customer a cloud service that allowed unlimited upload, download and streaming of any data they want; I don’t care where it came from. My cloud cost you a flat rate and you can do what you want with that data over my network. At the same time there is still a cap on your out-of-network data traffic, so using someone else’s cloud could cost you, and if you want to stream a lot of data it could cost you a lot. One more thing that is needed to make this work, at least for me, is a guarantee that I can take my media back out as easily as I can put it in, so there is not data lock-in only the typical commercial lock-in of a contract.
This is the cloud service I want – open (in terms of where I buy the content does not matter; unlimited upload/download and streaming, high speed and good quality. I would pay for that.