Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle, in recent years you’ve heard a lot about cloud computing – services that supply computer functionality, data and media via the Internet.
Dell is making “the” cloud, “your” cloud, via its PocketCloud app. It connects your devices together and delivers your desktop to any mobile device you happen to be using. The important difference is that your files only reside on your PC – not on a remote computer accessible from the public Internet.
Despite all the cloud hype, there are things you don’t want in a public cloud – for example, tax returns. “With PocketCloud you’re keeping things private,” says Jeff McNaught, Dell’s Executive Director and Marketing Chief Officer for Dell Wyse Cloud Client Computing. PocketCloud runs on Android, Apple iOS, and Windows RT devices, with a PC or Macintosh “companion.”
“We’ve all realized that we can have a lightweight device connected to whatever we care about,” explains McNaught. “The key is having it all in one secure place and making it possible to get it anywhere.”
The next step is to ditch the screen. Dell is on the cusp of launching a device about the size of your car key that you can plug into anything with a screen – a PC, TV, tablet, phone or “dumb” terminal.
One connected via a USB plug, the cloud stick – Dell has yet to give it a name – uses PocketCloud to deliver your desktop to you. The display performance is so good, McNaught says, it’s indistinguishable from the PC running on your desk.
The beauty of this “cloud stick” is that there’s nothing on it to be hacked, stolen or corrupted – what Dell calls “zero client” technology. There’s no disk to store data. There’s no conventional operating system. This makes the devices immune to viruses and innately secure – and worthless to a thief. “It can protect a business’s intellectual assets by simply turning off,” McNaught explains.
Security isn’t the only advantage of the zero client concept. “These devices run 8 to 10 years,” says McNaught, “and bypass the PC refresh cycle.” That’s a huge reduction in electronic trash. Plus, they take a lot less electricity to operate. And cloud sticks offer businesses huge gains in efficiency because the devices can be managed remotely through the network.
“You don’t have to get a new TV to watch the new shows,” observes McNaught. The same thing should be true about our path to the information highway. “What the world needs to know is that the product doesn’t need to have a Dell logo. We’re about solving people’s problems.”