Tea Trays and Cloud Computing
I recently set up my mother with an old iPad for bedtime reading and save her from the perilous task of carrying an iPad up and down the stairs on an already overloaded tea tray. While she was initially concerned about manually synchronizing two devices, she quickly experienced the magic of the cloud through Apple Handoff. After reassuring her that her data was safe from spammers, she now happily uses this feature without a second thought. Her conceptual model has been adjusted accordingly.
So Easy, We Don’t Even Think About it
Today, we take the cloud for granted and forget its profound impact on innovation. Yellowbrick recently partnered with Vitrifi Digital, a well-funded start-up on a mission to revolutionize the telco industry.
Their big idea is to provide telco-as-a-service to any company looking to offer mobile services under their own brand. In the past, if, for instance, a retailer wanted to sell rebranded mobile services, they’d need to invest heavily in building a whole organization to handle tasks like bulk buying network access, provisioning SIM cards, billing, customer support, and a host of other complex functions that are outside my realm of understanding. To say nothing of the massive technology infrastructure to support all this.
Building a Virtual Telco
Vitrifi Digital’s virtualized Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MvNE) platform simplifies the life of any Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). It allows them to leverage their brand without spending money on network management and handling subscribers. Frankly, I’m amazed that a startup, albeit well-funded and staffed with experts, can enter the telco market—a market with formidable entry barriers, including high capital requirements, the dominating presence of established players, intricate regulatory requirements, and extensive R&D costs. Much of their success is predicated on readily available cloud technology, eliminating the need for heavy capital investments or wasting time managing technology. Vitrifi focuses on MvNE, leaving the technology to AWS, Microsoft, Yellowbrick, and others. In this instance, Yellowbrick underpins Vitrifi’s Open Access data sharing platform, giving subscribers analytics on all dimensions of the delivered service.
Scrounging Servers, No More
In contrast to this simple cloud model, back in the day, when I was the entire marketing department at start-up Patrol Software, (acquired by BMC Software, 1994), there was no cloud. Our CEO would scrounge up hardware from wherever he could find it. One server was “borrowed” from Sequent. Every time the Sequent Partner Manager came knocking, we would turn off the lights, bolt the doors, and pretend no one was home. We kept that up for a good six months, just long enough to get our product out the door. We had similar “arrangements” with Sun Microsystems, HP, and DEC to ensure system availability for our Engineers. But it wasn’t easy.
Today, life is much easier for startups. High-performance computing resources, including highly scalable data services like Yellowbrick, are readily available at the drop of a hat through the cloud, fostering incredible innovation across all industries. This allows vendors to focus on innovation and in a pay-it-forward way, deliver greater value faster. We might take it all for granted now, but as Vitrifi Digital demonstrates, the only limits are those of our imagination.
And I can rest easy knowing that my mother’s tea tray won’t come crashing down the stairs anytime soon.
Well done the cloud!