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Get set for personal cloud

india Updated: Mar 21, 2010 20:39 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
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Airtel has just announced a plan to offer broadband Internet services with a speed of 4 megabits per second (mbps) at Rs. 899 per month. At that speed, you can download a full song in a second.

Last week, we also saw bids for 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) by major Indian telecom players. It is a question of barely two years before home broadband gets bigger and better — and cheaper.

“Cloud computing” is the buzz all around the world thanks to broadband speeds and online storage that help companies offer software on a pay-as-you-use basis. But much of the focus is on corporate software.

I think some smart companies can simply get into the home segment on the cloud.

I got an example a few weeks ago when I met Umang Bedi, country head of Intuit, the US-based financial software firm that he said has an 87 per cent market share in the personal finance software market in the US.

I was a bit sceptical because I thought Intuit was selling its US product with an Indian spin. I was wrong. What the company is doing is ground-up development of its products tailored for India in Bangalore.

“We consciously decided not to come out with our flagship product,” he said.

What Intuit has done is come up with common standards under which your bank and credit card accounts (as many as you have) confidentially talk to each other (provided you permit them) and come up with simple unified views – the way Google searches and organises Internet connection.

On that basis, the software analyses your expenditure and comes up with insights (it can tell you in a second how much you spent on restaurants in six months).

Bedi says his product, which had a quiet launch last year, at Rs. 249 a year, is priced in a manner tuned to average urban homes with PCs, adding that it is intended for the “cloud” or mobiles.

I think software developers need to find more such ways to solve problems of home users. Personal finance, education, video conferencing for homes, gaming between cousins — a lot can be done on the personal cloud.