Recently, I took a cross country driving trip as we moved from outside of Boston, which has been inundated with snow, to Austin, TX, which has no snow. Aside from the reasons for the move, we found several cloud-based business critical applications to be invaluable while traveling long distances: navigation and communication. It may seem that there could be many more, but given our devices, it boiled down to just those two: finding our way and keeping in touch with others.
There is a host of navigation apps for your smart device (tablet or phone), and we tried several. The first we tried was a locally-stored map that got updates off the cloud and used standard GPS to find its way around. Such an app was invaluable driving through New England and New York given the traffic and and the desire to find a route which required the least amount of time to get through or around the city. The first of the two we tried was Skobbler, now named GPS Nav 2. While extremely useful, it chewed through battery and did not help us to find our way to places such as rest and gasoline stops. For that we needed either Around Me or one app: Google Maps
When traveling, finding your way around is a business critical application.
Staying in touch is the next business critical application when traveling. How we stay in touch is the same as in an office: social media, email, cell phone, and instant message. When traveling however, communication becomes the most important business critical application. As we move from state to state we need ubiquitous communication. With modern technology, this is achievable but may be slow or costly to do. This is where unlimited wireless plans come into their strength. During our trip we had to use the following technologies to communicate:
- Cell Service
- Wireless (less secure but still necessary)
- Tethered Cell Service
All this to stay in touch with our colleagues, friends, and family.
Business Critical Applications: Change by Circumstance
What we consider to be a business critical application will change with our circumstances, except for the need to communicate. So email, social media, instant messaging, video conferencing—all those things we do up in the cloud will remain business critical applications. We take their presence for granted. However, from a corporate perspective, some of those things we can do without, as the fallback is always to call someone. But, if you are traveling, calling someone may be easy; reaching them is an entirely different item.
For us, placing our email server in the cloud was crucial to keeping communication alive and well, as we rely on our email to communicate amongst each other and our sponsors.
When traveling, the cloud goes with us via our end-user computing devices. Having a good business critical application policy that allows use from these devices for those that travel is a must.