It seems like everyone has their heads, and data, in the clouds these days. The plural form of cloud(s) used here is no mistake. End users increasingly have their content scattered across the web. Photos might be stored on a site like Phanfare. Music might all be in iCloud, while documents reside entirely with Google. Add to these multiple content outposts the various devices from which we're accessing our digital stuff, and it smells a bit like a storm of fragmentation is brewing in the heavens, doesn't it?
Cloud solutions provider Funambol on Wednesday announced a major upgrade of its white-label personal cloud solution, with a new visual mobile timeline app called Funambol OneMediaHub. It lets users wirelessly secure digital photos, videos, files, contacts and calendars on mobile phones, tablets and computers in the cloud, sync them across devices and share them with other people and systems. It's one of many cloud solutions out there, but Funambol has been at the game for a while now and has matured significantly over time.
In January, Funambol released the results of a global survey about the use of digital content, including pictures, videos, music, files and other data on mobile and computing devices, that showed users are increasingly overwhelmed with the myriad cloud storage options out there. Additionally, the survey found that users really are accessing that content from a variety of different devices.
For instance, 85 percent of the respondents indicated that their devices came from different companies rather than the same company (meaning that their devices consisted predominantly of mixed brands rather than being from a single manufacturer). From those devices, individuals averaged using 7.5 popular apps and services, such as digital lockers (e.g. iCloud), email systems, social networks, online media sites (e.g. Flickr, Picasa) and media players (e.g. iTunes), to access digital content.
So are users happy with this current state of affairs? Not really. When asked if it was becoming more difficult to manage, back up and share digital content, 60 percent agreed.
Hal Sterger, vice president of worldwide marketing for Funambol, says the results of the survey reveal an increasing need to simplify and streamline cloud storage solutions for the end user. Obviously, he thinks Funambol's OneMediaHub solution has something to offer in that regard going forward.
"It's a little bit like iCloud, except that it doesn't just work with iPhone but with all brands of devices," Sterger says, adding that 74 percent of respondents in Funambol's survey said they would not use a cloud, such as iCloud, that was tied to just one device.
"No one wants to have each device they own tied to a separate cloud. That just makes things more difficult," Sterger says.
The format of Funambol's new mobile timeline is to make a person's digital media easier to locate and share, explains Sterger. "The whole idea is really to just provide a very easy window for people to access their content from their various mobile devices."
Check out a quick demo of the new OneMediaHub below: