Friday, April 2, 2010

Lifestreaming meets the PC

Jay McBain, Director, Small and Medium Business, Lenovo Americas

November 3, 2009

The PC has played a very important role over the past 30 years in ushering in new and interesting changes to the way people communicate. When Web 1.0 hit mainstream in the mid-90’s, people became accustomed to writing email, instant messaging, and for some, buying things electronically. With Web 2.0, these technologies were enhanced with social networking tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogging widening the aperture of digital life.

One of the interesting concepts coming in Web 3.0 will be something called “lifestreaming”. The term was coined by Eric Freeman and David Gelernter at Yale University in the mid-90’s. It is basically a time-ordered stream of documents and electronic media that functions as a diary of your life.

Personally, I have been using Quicken (or its predecessors), scanning all of my papers, and categorizing all of my digital pictures since I was in elementary school. It has become a huge directory tree of tens of thousands of documents sorted by year and month, chronicling my life day by day. The ability to look back and find where and when I spent money, including scanned receipts, and digital pictures allows me to triangulate every day of my life, both personally as well as professionally.

Perhaps a negative effect is that I have become a “go to” guy for finding old documents. It goes something like: “Hey Jay, remember that Gartner study from 1994 on total cost of ownership?” As the years have passed, I have added different technologies to the stream. For example, voicemails, instant messages, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn information is now included.

I believe that PC technology will be the key enabler to lifestreaming.

For example:

1. Recording day to day life: Lenovo PC’s are the only Microsoft certified unified communication PC’s on the market today, including:

a. Stereo digital high-definition speakers with 10 band equalization and dynamic range compression improve sound to audiophile levels

b. Digital array microphone technology including the placement on either side of the camera providing for a more natural environment producing balanced sound input

c. High definition light adaptive camera’s including digital zoom and HD LED displays improving the visual size and quality

d. Tools allowing switching between MIC, headphones and speakers seamlessly.

2. Staying securely connected everywhere and anywhere with Wide Area networking (3G cellular integration), WiMax, WLAN 802.11, and Bluetooth. Importantly, this is enabled by Lenovo’s Access Connections tool allowing seamless and secure connections from location to location.

3. Bullet proof security. Can you imagine streaming your entire life and having that stolen? This takes the risk of identity theft to the next level. Windows 7 has improved security from previous versions and Lenovo has enhanced it with:

a. Fully encrypted hard drives – managed from a separate security chip that can’t be hacked.

b. Biometric fingerprint reader ensuring secure access to the machine – no risk of lost or hacked passwords.

c. “Poison pill” technology allowing the user to disable a ThinkPad with a simple SMS text message – even if the unit is turned off!

d. Secure data backup options such as Rescue and Recovery tool, Online Data Backup as well as a password protected, secure external drive.

4. Data protection. Lenovo offers several hardware and software advantages protecting the data on the hard drive from physical damage or failures from viruses or operating system. From a revolutionary “air bag” system that senses when a PC will be dropped to an innovative packaging of the hard disk inside the machine, to specially designed rubber feet that absorb impact, ThinkPad products are designed to protect the lifestream.

5. Data migration. When it comes time to transition to a new PC down the road, Lenovo includes a migration utility for the lifestream, including all personality settings, and even offers a military grade data disposal tool before the PC is handed down, recycled, or hits a landfill.

Thus, from enablement of the lifestream, to managing it over time, right through to migrating to new technology, Lenovo has the tools available today for the technology of tomorrow.