Virtual Apps

Today I’ve seen the future, not once, but twice, and I can hardly wait to get there.

First, Robin Good whisked me away to visit his persistent meeting room on smartMeeting. I outfitted my avatar with natty blue sweater, gray slacks, and a beard, and joined Robin in his online space.

Slick, eh? We were talking VOIP. I could see his avatar hopping about.

Things weren’t perfect. I’m running an older machine, and my video card is less than this software’s looking for. Also, I lost contact with Robin while I was switching PCs. But I could see the potential and it is awesome.

Imagine having your own virtual space where you can call up presentations, briefings, video, and whiteboards for your guests. All with sound. Private or public. Works over a low-band connection.

I’ve lusted for something like this for some time. I can envision Emergent Learning Forum using it for small meetings and mentoring sessions. This is much more friendly than video conferencing. At long last, collaborative technology is becoming less geeky.

Keeping one’s demos and presentations at the ready 24/7 makes so much sense. Got a laptop? “Come into my parlor…”

You can stake out your own room on the web for a monthly rental payment. Software imitates life. Here’s my new room:

All of which raises the issue of what’s better to keep on the web and what’s better on your own (probably not adequately backed-up) hard drive. Your mobility and your attitude to being tethered to a single machine are major factors here. Operating systems slop back and forth from local to remote these days. Applications are promiscuous at this. Data is wherever you want it to be.

This was on my mind today when I talked with a tiny start-up that has the potential to save big companies big bucks on IT maintenance and upgrades, and to eventually open the door for small business to buy software capability by the month

That’s my desktop. (The background color pumps up my adenalin.) It’s remote. I can tap into it from anywhere. I don’t have to fiddle around with updates from the guys in Redmond. It’s always there, whenever and wherever I connect from. The apps run really fast. It feels like a screaming Pentium even when I’m jacking in with a pokey machine running Win 98. The host can afford to run on machines faster than I can dream of.