The Cloud is Not a Crystal Ball Either!

Despite the fact that I’ve told you that The Cloud is NOT a Fluffy Magic Box, given you More Reasons the Cloud is Not a Fluffy Magic Box, reminded you Yet Again, the Cloud is NOT a Fluffy Magic Box, told you that The Cloud is Filled with Hail, and pointed out that The Cloud is Not a Magic Mirror Nor is it Omniscient, it seems that there is a new brand of silicon snake oil salesmen who want you to believe that that the cloud is a crystal ball that you can use to talk to people everywhere in the world.

Just yesterday someone informed me that a new company is going around trying to sell a cloud business phone system.* What the heck is that? And how does it work? Do I walk outside and shout up to the sky? What if it’s a clear sunny day and there are no clouds in site? Or the middle of the night and I can’t see the clouds through the fog? And how does it handle inclement weather?

And no, the doctor is not being silly. Given that we don’t know what cloud really is**, and that, with (tele)communications, you HAVE to know the origin point AND the destination point, how the heck do you send a phone signal into the cloud and ensure it reaches the right person. Presumably it is built on dynamic, replicated, peer-to-peer IP routing, which sounds great in theory, but may not even be legal in practice considering your business might be in a locale where your phone system has to be 911 compliant. Since no one would know where the signal is coming from, this type of system would never be 911 compliant!

Basically, as I pointed out in Dogbert Translates Cloud-Consultanese, they’re pulling a Dogbert hoping to find a Pointy Haired Boss who will believe their mumbo-jumbo and buy their silicon snake oil solution at a ridiculous mark-up before anyone else in the company realizes that significant money has been wasted on betaware that’s not even as good as products you can get for free (like Skype and Google Voice, for example).

You’ve been warned!

* They didn’t tell me the name of the company, presumably to protect the guilty and give them a chance to smarten up knowing that this absurdity really grinds the doctor‘s gears and typically results in a rant.
** If Larry Ellison has to ask What the Hell is Cloud Computing, that’s telling!