Valovic on Virtualization

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Telecom Virtualization Part 2

In my last blog I talked about the connection between what some Tier 1 telecom carriers were doing in the digital home and the emerging market for hosted desktop virtualization. I also suggested that – in theory -- some of them might eventually offer some sort of “quintuple play” consisting of wireline and wireless phone service, Internet access, IPTV and hosted desktop as a service.

Some skeptics out there might being thinking “in your dreams” and you know what? I’m inclined to be pretty skeptical too. But I think it’s still worthwhile pursuing this little thought experiment a bit.

Here’s the thing: many problems being experienced by home users aren’t all that different from what IT departments are contending with. That’s why Firedog and Geek Squad have grown the way way they have. I counted something like 17 Firedog trucks lined up in the parking lot of a Circuit City near my decidedly ex-urban town recently.

These businesses are booming businesses because home PCs are not easy to use and maintain. In other words, manageability, cost, and complexity are all issues that home users have to deal with, the very same issues that many IT department already contend with. Oh and did I mention all the folks (like my Mom in Florida) who could be online and using a computer if they could only figure out how to do it? (Read: new market penetration).

This could be a win-win. The carrier gets a broader market, new revenue stream and gets hooked into the home users’ computing ecosystem. And hosted desktop in the home could alleviate many end user hassles, extend capabilities to new classes of users, and lay an important cornerstone in making utility computing more than a buzzword. There are plenty of users who would be more than happy with a plug and play thin client that gets them into the game but doesn’t require truck rolls, lots of time and attention, and occasional elevations of blood pressure to maintain.

But wait, there’s more (as they like to say in the those commercials for kitchen-appliances-you-will-never-use). Less security hassles, automated backup (what’s it cost for a service like Carbonite these days?), a helpdesk option, and (if the carriers are smart), you only pay for the applications you use. Add high performance via fiber to the home to and it all starts to look pretty attractive.

This is all technologically possible. But is it market-feasible? Carriers could easily stumble against the likes of IT-centric cloud computing providers (think Google/IBM) who might decide to go after this market in terms of both ease of use and marketing both of which are closely linked. Let me know what you think. Post your comments here or send an email to the address below.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 05/27/2008 at 12:49 PM


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