Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here's a thought

I've been pondering the ramifications of Facebook of late and have come up with something novel I believe.

Let's say that everyone in the future has a Facebook style site/portal on the Internet. This site contains all their personal and business details. For arguments sake I'm going to skip over the security and privacy ramifications because I'm only considering a "perfect" world here. (Mine is isn't yours?). So much like Facebook each user determines who else has access to their information and to what level they have access. So let's say your family has access to you home and mobile numbers, while your friends only have access to your mobile number.

Now let's say that in your personal profile you subscribe to a number of online software applications (in the future I don't think we'll be accessing anything locally, it will all come from the net). So let's say you have access to online versions of Microsoft Office all the time but maybe you need access to Adobe Photoshop in a weeks time for 5 days so you simply pay a fee for the required access time. Once the application access time is up the application no longer appears on your space. The great thing about online applications is they are always up to date and always work, since you don't need to maintain them. Your personal profile also has all your personal contacts, emails, bookmarks and what not.

Ok, now lets say that you go to work. When you log into the terminal at the office you still access your own profile but now it knows you are at work and allows you access to the business applications of the company where you work. Also, it restricts you from going to certain web sites and running "non-business" personal related applications. This policy depends on the settings that your employer has decided on and they are applied to each employee as they logon. Some companies may not have any restrictions but by simply logging in at the office the network knows who you are what you can access. You can still get access to your personal stuff at all times, just as you do now.

If you change jobs then the business you were at just tells the network you no longer work there and when you log into to your profile page at the new business all the old applications have been removed and all the new business applications and policies are applied.

When you login from home after work you get access to all your personal stuff as usual but unless you are approved for after hours business work then the business applications are no longer available in your profile. When you return to work tomorrow they are back again, so you can't use the office copy of Photoshop to edit your images (unless the business approves you to do that).

There are lots of advantages for businesses and user here. Businesses get a central location to manage all their employees and applications. All the software is up to date and adding new staff members is a breeze. If they want access to other software applications the business simply subscribes and allocates them  out to employees. For an individual, all your stuff is stored in one place, backed up and you can access it whenever you need. You are able to choose what you want to share and with whom and like the business if you need access to a specialized piece of software you simply subscribe for as long as you need access.

I think most of what I'm talking about here could be easily accomplished already. It all sounds good in theory doesn't it?