computer-336628_640Liquid computing is not another form of hardware or processor like quantum computing. As with many technology driven discussions, the focus is on mobile computing. The case is being made, and pursued, by companies such as Apple and Microsoft that the data businesses uses is fluid over a number of devices – smartphones, tablets, and laptops. While laptops are not always in the category of mobile, they are in the discussion of liquid computing.

What It Is

The idea of having data shared and available on multiple devices in real time is the latest concept being explored for mobile computing. The short version is that you can be working on a smartphone compiling a spreadsheet, shut it down, when your battery runs low for example, and then turn on your desktop at work and pick up exactly where you left off. No saving, copying, or storing it anywhere.

Beyond the individual user, businesses would be able to use liquid computing to have real time collaboration between any number of team members and instead of waiting to see the final result, you are actually able to see what someone else is doing. Therein is the important difference.

The Good

Current thinking has liquid computing dramatically increasing productivity, as team members who are going down the wrong path can quickly be redirected without waiting for a commented upon version of their work. The other side of the coin is that new ideas and approaches can be implemented within minutes, without requiring emails, meetings, or the other standard business practices to get everyone on the same page.

There is no doubt that for companies with offices in multiple geographic locations or traveling executives, liquid computing is the next step in being in the office while being away. Taking the idea one step further, the idea of telecommuting, or even having employees work from home on a regular basis will become even more viable because communicating what needs to be done and how will be made much easier.

The Bad

From a business perspective, controlling access to data, also known as security, continues to be a major problem. Liquid computing will raise the level of concern from medium to high. Looking at the problem from a bird’s eye view, it is not only the data that is issue but the thinking of those sharing ideas and work that will be vulnerable to hackers. Corporate spying will reach a whole new level, as the focus will shift away from secure, in-house information to what ends up floating around in the cloud.

The effect of liquid computing for small businesses can be devastating. Presently, small businesses have a hard enough time keeping up with technological changes, particularly in the area of mobile computing. This advance can leave them even further behind or potentially worse, leave them more vulnerable to having their data and ideas compromised because of hackers. For many small businesses, their ideas are all they have to keep them running and competitive.

There naturally will be promises of secured cloud environments and guarantees of protection from the cloud service providers. But ideas are becoming more and more difficult to keep secret, much like the data of customers at a number of retail stores. The question is whether small business will be willing to accept these advances in technology while trusting those who provide the services.

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