Parting Thoughts

The trouble with hosted apps

Posted 11 November 2006

A central presumption behind hosted applications is that Internet connectivity is becoming universal. There are some obvious problems with this presumption, such as when you’re on an airplane, or when your home Internet connection is down.

But there can be problems, even in the big city. Ironically, at the Web 2.0 Summit conference this week, the demand for connectivity completely swamped the hotel’s and the conference’s ability to supply it with any reliability or speed. Inside the conference rooms, free wireless connectivity was sponsored by AOL, but often I couldn’t get connected at all, and when I could connect it was painfully slow and erratic. Even on a wired connection in my hotel room at the Palace, the throughput was reminiscent of dial-up days. Apparently having more than 1,000 people paying $3500 a head to be there wasn’t enough to pay for an adequate Internet feed for this connectivity-hungry group.

As Paul Saffo from Insitute for the Future quipped many years ago, never mistake a clear view for a short distance. It’s easy to believe that someday IP connectivity will be as common and reliable as electricity, but we’re sure not there yet.