Cloud vs. Hub-and-Spoke – Cable, Sling, Netflix, and my iPhone

I’ve noticed that I’m using a “hub-and-spoke” for my technology a lot more than I’m using the could. I think this could be a underreported phenomenon in the tech industry. All you hear about is “cloud”, but in practice, I’m seeing more hub-and-spoke.

I finally had it with Comcast and made the switch to Dish Network with a SlingBox add on. I was holding out on Sling in general due to mobile phone data bandwidth and consistency issues with mobile streaming.

On the AT&T network with my iPhone 4s, video looks pretty good. In the past few months, I find myself using the DISH (SlingBox) application more and more. I’ve been using it on guy ski trips to watch what I want to watch with my headphones, or watching the Red Wings in the playoffs on Fox FSN Detroit on my MacBook Air in the hotel room.

Specifically, for SlingBox, the DVR is the hub, which connects to my TV at home, and then spokes out to Sling, through the Internet, to a mobile app, into my iPhone. There are options to pull down shows On Demand through Dish, but the shows I watch aren’t there.

I use Netflix streaming, but the movie selection sucks big time and I’m always conceding to watch a movie on the go that I’m not super jazzed about. I guess I can afford the extra cost per month for Netflix streaming in the hope it will help Netflix get better movies online. My 2 Blu-ray rentals at a time is the reason I keep Netflix. Last weekend I donated my entire 30 DVD and Blu-Ray collection to my parents as they like to stockpile movies. I just don’t have a reason to “own” any movies anymore, which it’s cheaper for me to just have a rental service. Neflix for me is a hub-and-spoke getting Blu-Rays, as the could service sucks (for content reasons)

My theory is that high data, high value is going to stay hub-and-spoke for a while low data, low value (e.g. Music MP3s are going to be in the cloud) I’m not sure but it’s possible that this theory would apply to B2B software as well. For example, Photoshop would remain as an installed service (expensive to create content, high data), while CRM tools like Basecamp and HighRise (cheap to create content, low data) are in the cloud.

I suppose the next big move for me will be in another 10 years when I drop satellite and just go Internet only. I hope by then everything will be (useable) in the cloud.