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Local Software. Cloud Data.

Clocks, clocks, clocks

In many parts of the world, the second Sunday in March means that we have to push our clocks forward by one hour to return to Daylight Saving Time. In spite of the loss of an hour of sleep, it has been a tradition for us to run around the house changing clocks in the wee hours of Saturday night.

This year felt very different, thanks to the Cloud.

Clocks are everywhere. It seems that any device that can be plugged into a wall now comes equipped with a clock. Not sure why, but there it is.

A quick inventory of visible clocks in our household:

  • Main Floor: 12 clocks – mainly appliances, thermostats, and computers
  • Second Floor: 7 clocks – our bedside clocks plus thermostats and such
  • Basement: 5 clocks – generally multimedia devices
  • In our pockets: 4 clocks – our phones
  • On our wrists: 7 clocks – our wristwatches

The total number of visible clocks in our household currently sits at 35. Ridiculous.

In past years, assuming that we had to change our clocks one by one, and assuming 2 minutes per clock, it would have taken us over an hour to change all of the clocks in the house.

The cloud has changed that. This year our clock-changing exercise took about 5 minutes.

Although it isn’t something we think about, most of our clocks are now connected to the Internet in some way or another. As such, they are able to query a cloud database of current time / time zones and automatically adjust themselves.

We had to manually change those pesky bedside table clocks (old but reliable) and the one on the oven. The wristwatches needed to be manually adjusted. So that means that we had to manually change 11 clocks. Other than that, every other clock in the house changed itself – 24 of them!

This highlights the power of software and the cloud to make our lives easier, more productive, and more accurate.

Local software

The clocks all have software within their digital brains that keep time, adjust the display, and talk to the internet. The software means that they keep on ticking as long as they have power.

Our Nest thermostat runs powerful software and is constantly upgrading itself, getting upgraded software from Google.

Our phones run very complex software in the form of apps – software that is constantly being upgraded by its creators.

This software is collecting and crunching data all of the time – just as computers have done for decades.

However, the big change is how we manage the data.

Cloud data

Moving the data into the cloud means that all of the software on our powerful devices can share data with other software on other powerful devices.

Our phones can receive Facebook feeds so that we can keep up with our friends and relatives.

Our thermostats can send usage data to the cloud in order to learn how to manage energy more efficiently – the thermostats can learn from each other.

Our clocks can receive the latest time from cloud servers to ensure that they are displaying the correct time – even after we move the clocks forward.

Local software and cloud data supporting the paperless journey

My paperless journey has been made possible by the local software / cloud data paradigm. Paperless means that all of my information is stored digitally.

This is an enormous advantage over paper because it makes the information very portable. If the information is portable, that means that I can reference that information wherever I happen to be. At work or home. On the train. Sitting in a coffee shop. Working at a client’s office. That portable information can be at my fingertips at all times.

The only way to do that efficiently is to ensure that all of my devices have access to my information at all times, and the only way to do that is to put my information into the cloud.

As a technology professional, I have very powerful devices running very powerful software. I also have lots of them:

  • 2 desktop computers
  • 1 laptop computer
  • 3 tablets
  • 1 smartphone

In order to make my data accessible across all of these devices, I need to use cloud data storage. Then the powerful software running on my powerful devices can access that data and do amazing things.

Cloud Data Repositories

Now that I am a few months into the paperless journey, I can pause for a moment to take stock of the various data repositories that we are developing in the cloud:

  1. Office365 is storing all of my email, contacts, and calendars in the cloud.
  2. OneDrive is storing all of my sensitive work files and OneNote notebooks in the cloud.
  3. My BTSync server is a private cloud, storing all of my personal information and photos on the Internet, accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device.
  4. SharePoint is storing our shared corporate information in the cloud.
  5. Dropbox is used by some of our volunteer organizations to share large files with stakeholders in the cloud.
  6. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is powerful internet-based software and data – storing all of our customer information in the cloud.

So my paperless journey continues and is made possible by these fantastic cloud repositories.

With the combination of powerful local software and cloud data, I am more efficient, more effective and a superman when it comes to moving our clocks forward one hour.

Next week, I will look at getting customer documents in the cloud. Stay tuned.

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