No longer did I have to connect my phone, palm or fridge to my computer to keep my contacts and calendar in sync. Google Apps, which I had chosen to use, provided a free for 'home' users system to centralise and synchronise my data.
Yes, Exchange and RIM (Blackberry) etc had provided various aspects of this, but their services were mainly aimed at business users and in my opinion, at that stage, their offerings were still fragmented often required some form of physical connectivity to get all of my devices sync'd.
Up until then, avoiding duplicate entries was near on impossible without some third party tool or carefully thought out planning. And let's face it, none of us want to have to think about what's going on in the back ground, it just needs to work.
I have been reading articles and hearing comentaries recently with everyone talking about the cloud, apps, tablets, the end of the PC, i this and i that... I think that everyone is right, partially.
I think the most important feature for future technology is going to be interoperability.
No longer are we going to invest thousands of dollars in a piece of technology like a Desktop Computer that is our primary technological device that we interact with. We won't be buying one phone or tablet, we'll have a small phone for going out and a larger phone for everyday use; different sized tablets have their own benefits.
Technology is becoming more portable and disposable. We are going to expect to be able to pick up a friends tablet or phone and have our own personalised environment available. We will have multiple phones for different occaisions and it's not unreasonable to expect that we receive calls to our phone number on any of them; not to mention having the most up to date contacts details on each; We'll even have different versions of our personal spaces available at different times on the same piece of hardware; Our work profile on the tablet could be a lot different to the personal profile.
I just read this article on mashable stating how Windows 8 will not save the PC Industry (whose sales are falling) and how this could be a sign of the diminishing influence of Microsoft. They do go on to say that when the sales of Tablets and other devices are taken into account the IT industry is growing. This is the evolution of technology and it appears that Microsoft has seen this and is bringing consistency to any device that will be running their operating system.
Now I would say I'm open to all hardware and operating systems, I just want interoperability between everything that I use.
As a Systems Administrator or what ever it is that I really do, I have to design and provide a secure environment for our Company that the staff work in. The two biggest pains in my butt currenty are BYOD's (Bring Your Own Devices) which are owned (and understandably managed) by staff and OS X. Both introduce environments that are difficult to control using something like Active Directory.
I see the amalgamation of our profiles and applications made available over the network and able to run on any device. Similar to the virtual machines people use to run Windows on Apple hardware (for example), but without being tied to and run from any particular operating system.
In the corporate environment, a profile or space can be provided for use by staff, with access to anything they need to perform their job. This space could be secure and isolated from the device that is accessing it.
Our information and how we use it needs to be released from the grip of any particular system. We need the portability; this is how our lifestyle, use and expectation of technology is evolving.