Microsoft Live Mesh

Microsoft Live Mesh

Mark Seemann

Mark Seemann is Mobile Business’ applications reviewer extraordinaire. He joined Genesis as director of product marketing though the acquisition of Servelogic, where he remains CEO. He has 11 years’ experience in the ISP and telecoms sectors, having been a board level director for 10 years. Mark’s expertise is product design and marketing to the UK SME market.

If you have any comments or suggestions for Mark, please email him through the editor: hmclean@ mbmagazine.co.uk

In my last set of reviews we looked at applications such as Soonr which uses cloud computing to enable team members to collaborate and input into shared files, no matter where they’re working from. I mentioned that Microsoft is also making huge developments in this area, so this month, I’m taking a more in-depth look at Live Mesh..

Meshing digital

Put simply, Live Mesh enables you to connect all of your digital devices through one secure cloud or ‘mesh’, meaning that you can access files, photos or documents stored on any of your devices no matter where you are, or which device you’re using. So if you’re working on a business document on your home PC, there’s no need for you to transfer the file to your work computer by email or USB stick – Live Mesh means you can simply pick up where you left off when you’re back in the office. It’s easy to see the instant benefits this technology will bring when you consider how much our personal and business digital lives are starting to cross over.

The technology itself is really easy to get to grips with; once the software is installed, the main page is your Live Desktop . This is essentially your Windows PC on the web and comes with 5GB of free storage space, which should be ample for most users. Because this is a web-based desktop it means that even if you’re not using one of your mobile devices in your mesh, you can still access and work on files providing you’re connected to the internet.

Once Live Desktop is set up, you can start to create your own mesh and start adding your devices. The technology retains the same familiar Windows menus, so it’s very easy to open and manage your documents. However the clever part comes with the Mesh Bar. The Mesh Bar appears when you access any folder in the mesh and enables you to allow other users to have access to the files stored in the folder, post notes to the folder and get a real-time commentary on what’s being done with these files. This is the heart of the collaborative element of the technology, and it’s really simple to get to grips with; it’s something we’ve already started to use at Genesis, and is an

excellent way to communicate with team members that are out of the office.

 

One view

There are a whole range of additional features which help to give you an overview of what’s happening in your Mesh. The Notifier is a compact information window that lets you see what’s happening in your mesh and quickly check the status of all your synchronised folders and devices. It sits in the notification area of the Windows taskbar, so it doesn’t distract you from your work every time an update is made.

Live Mesh is a really user friendly environment and it’s an excellent personal or business tool. People are already getting to grips with working remotely with web-based email access, so this essentially takes this idea one huge step further and could have a major impact on the way we work when in and out of the office.