Every advantage in the past is judged in the light of the final issue.
Now that it is possible to synchronize a client with a server, the scenario from Figure 2.1, “Different clients and how they connect” comes closer to reality. I could place my own server on some machine that is reachable from all my other machines. This server would hold all my personal information. It would hold my address book, and most important my schedule.
On my desktop computer at work I would use my very comfortable commercial PIM program. This program would have a lot of pseudo-intelligence, making my daily tasks much easier. It would remind me of scheduled meetings ahead of time.
On my desktop computer at home I would use a free PIM program. Although this program lacks some of the features, it still uses the same database.
Whenever I send an E-mail, no matter whether from home or from work, the recepients would automatically be added to my address book. I compose a new E-Mail and my address book would be searched through for possible receipients, thus reducing the possibility of failure.
But not only desktop computers are part of this. Whenever I meet someone, I would just take out my Palm Pilot and note down the contact infomation. Then we need to schedule an appointment. I would always have my complete schedule with me, so this is no problem.
Phone numbers would automatically be donwloaded into my cell phone. No more searching through other address books to find a number. No more wondering: I got called from this number. But who could it be? And no more calling home: “Could you please look in my address book on the desk and find me the number of xy?”
The synchronization, however, is not limited to one person. A group of people could share the same server. Whenever they schedule a meeting, this entry will automatically be available on every ones PIM client. Also, new people would automatically end up in the contact database. This would give simple groupware possibilities at no extra cost.
Also, the synchronization process is not limited to personal information. Other things can be synchronized too: A digital camera could use the sync process to download its images onto the computer. It would only download the new pictures. Those pictures could be made available to friends and family via the same sync server.
What I would very much like to see is the usage of E-Mail as a SyncML transport. This would put up many new demands on both client and server, but it would enable dial-up lines to even do the synchronization process asynchronousely.