Unlikely Lessons For The Cloud Computing Industry
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
- C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), British scholar and novelist.
It may be difficult to admit, but cloud computing has a lot to learn from that one industry that has a huge number of consumers, most of whom wouldn’t admit to being consumers – the pornographic industry. We will try not to be judgmental here, but consider the adult entertainment industry (definitely a more euphemism) in the light of its willingness to embrace and extend new technologies, including the nascent one of cloud computing.
Where established players like Google are still dithering, the adult entertainment industry has taken the lead – cloud-based storage and playback of movies. Pink Visual.com , an established name in the business, has decided to allow its customers to store clips they buy from the studio on the company’s servers. For a one-time payment, customers can access their films from PVLocker.com anytime and as often as they choose.
This development stems from the reliance of the industry on the movie-watching experience, and cloud computing offers the opportunity to provide something extra to paying customers. Although Pink Visual is the first mover, this idea of on-demand storage and playback is not new. There were reports last year of talks between movie studios and IT players like Google and Apple to develop “digital shelves” where users could store movies, songs, and other media, with the freedom to access them from anywhere through Internet-enabled devices.
Although it is clear that cloud computing can greatly enhance the movie-watching and music-listening experience, there have been little development in this field, mainly due to copyright issues. While there have been cloud-based music services like Lala and mp3.com, they have faced flak from large music labels and have had to shut down (for mp3.com) or get acquired (for Lala).
That is why the executives at Pink Visual are treading lightly.
As company spokesman Quentin Boyer explained, “We don’t want to accidentally have a lot of liability. We don’t want to become fertile ground for copyright infringement [should users upload pirated content to the company's cloud].” That is why, initially, customers of the cloud service will not be allowed to upload personal content but only that acquired from the company.
The fact that the adult entertainment industry is first off the starting block shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. After all, it’s this industry that has been responsible for the adoption and development of several technologies that we take for granted today, such as online payment systems, video streaming, live chat and traffic optimization. In fact, its support has been instrumental in deciding which of two competing technologies eventually came out on top, no pun intended, such as VCR vs Betamax and Blu-Ray vs HD.
As Boyer put it, “Our strategy is when a new technology comes out, we need to do it first and best. Everyone used to think that the secret to succeeding in this business was strictly about the quality of the porn. We know it is more than that. In the early days of Web porn, what separated [winners and losers] was the quality of hosting. People hated buffering.”
Although the industry has also contributed to some of the negative aspects of online experience such as malware, spam and pop-ups, there’s no denying its seminal role in the current connected world of today. Therefore, the big cloud computing players can learn a few things from Pink Visual’s decision to go on the cloud. How the company handles the challenges of providing such a service today will definitely have a bearing on the cloud computing services of tomorrow.
By Sourya Biswas