Market Matrix

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During Personal Cloud / VRM Day and the following IIW 17 in October, 2013, attendees spent significant time discussing how to improve their understanding about the market and its participants as it relates to personal clouds. Over several days, this market matrix was created.

Developers of products, services, standards and policies related to personal clouds can use it to position their work on this matrix, with the hope that it helps them and others understand better how it relates to other people's efforts.


The matrix has two axes: (click here for the diagram)

  • from the bottom to the top:
    • the Hardware/Hosting row contains things that are on the level of physical hardware, or virtualized hardware. For example, the Raspberry PI that may host somebody's personal cloud would be found on this level. If a personal cloud is hosted somewhere else (e.g. in an Amazon EC2 data center), this would also be shown on this level.
    • the Middleware row contains all "plumbing" software, such as operating systems, databases, messaging systems etc. This row does not contain anything that an end user typically interacts with
    • the top-most 'Application row contains all software functionality that the end user directly interacts with, such as web or mobile applications.
  • from the left to right right:
    • the first column titled Primary product contains the primary product a customer buys or rents. This may include hardware or software. This column does not include "auxiliary", and in particular management services. (By way of analogy, the first column would include a car, but not the 15,000 mile maintenance service)
    • the Management or service of primary product column refers to auxiliary services that assist in the upkeep of the primary product. For example, this column would contain a load balancer service, or anti-spam and application management services.
    • the third column Communication or data exchange standard is all about common agreements between products and services that define their interaction. This includes lower and higher level standards, such as Zigbee, OpenID or domain-aware messaging.
    • the column Policy contains policies that may be adopted by the user on the various levels.

Note that the diagram linked above only shows examples for the purposes of explaining how the matrix is supposed to work.

Intended use

To make use of this market matrix, download a blank version of the diagram:

and add your product, service, or other item.

Note that your item may be located entirely inside a cell in the matrix, or span several cells. For example:

  • if you sell a piece of hardware, without middleware or applications pre-installed, and without service (e.g. Raspberry Pi), it would be placed entirely in the bottom-left cell.
  • if you develop an open-source web application and distribute it as downloadable software (only), your product would be placed entirely in the top-left cell.
  • if you also host the open-source web application for your users on some website that you maintain, your hosted product straddles the first two columns entirely, because they user gets a fully-integrated solution of application, middleware and hardware, that is also managed on all levels.
  • if you develop a new communications protocol, and produce both a protocol specification and libraries that implement it, your product resides in the middleware row, in both the "primary product" column (the library) and the "communication or data exchange standard" column (the specification).

And then, tell us about it! See Companies and Projects.

Questions? Ask on the mailing list ...