July 2012
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Jun   Aug »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Month July 2012

Surfacing the Issues : An Interview with Itu Chaudhuri

It was a Sunday night, New Delhi time when Itu and I had a Skype video call while he was slowly sipping a cognac.

While it had been awhile some time since we last communicated, we both had the ability to pick up where we last talked like it was yesterday.We first met in 1990 while I was on a Fulbright to India and believe a host at a social event introduced us. From my memory, what drew me to Itu was his thoughtful intensity, ambition and he seemed like a perfect person to have at a dinner party to introduce delightful polemical conversation.

This is no accident. His father is the late Sankho Chaudhuri and his mother, Ira Chaudhuri, a still practicing potter.India in the 1990′s had a small club of graphic designers that all seemed to know one another and we spent many hours at small events with other designers talking about contemporary issues. Itu represents the best of intelligent graphic design. His many years of immersion in typography and communications systems has transformed him into a very articulate practitioner of design in the widest possible sense.

While Itu has mellowed slightly, it is not due to exhaustion, but rather built up experience that allows him to know his roots and build a more sophisticated model of shaping design as a process of discovery that creates meaningful frameworks for specific actions. His firm ICD with his long- time collaborator Lisa Rath is growing and developing a planning offering. This again is no accident and Itu is methodically creating the foundation by bringing on new skills and ways to connect design to larger business and societal issues. The interview meanders between graphic design, systems design and into planning. We surfaced many things that point to a new type of value creation for clients in the sub-continent.

Losing a SmartPhone, but gaining trust in the Cloud

We never really think about losing our smart phone because it is never supposed to happen to us. It seems as if we only have a 5% chance of losing a phone based on most statistics.

I was walking to the train the other day and had my phone on a belt case. As the train approached, I went for my phone and it was gone. At that point my mind experienced a type of parallax effect, where a level of disorientation overtook me.

I decided to retrace my steps back to my home. Part of me was looking at the ground and part of me was mulling over the options of how to best proceed if I could not find my phone. As I approached my home, I kept thinking, “oh, it must be on the steps.” When none of these magical thoughts converted into reality, I decided to act.

I logged into my iCloud account and went into Find my iPhone. It pinged my phone and saw the geolocator find it traveling on a highway away from my home. It prompted me to send a text to the phone which I asked for the person to call my home number for a reward. I then called AT&T to cancel the phone. While I felt great that I could track the phone, it also highlighted the helplessness that nothing could be done about it.

After a few hours, I decided to do a remote wipe of the phone, which worked perfectly. Not having a phone highlighted my dependence on the many applications that I use every day. This heightened my situational awareness as I tried to project on a future using existing information that I did not have.
I walked to a local AT&T store and purchased a replacement phone. After logging into iCloud, all of my contacts, calendars, mail settings and bookmarks appeared within one minute. Walking out of the store, I was able to immediately interact with my data and become productive. When I hooked up my phone to my laptop and synchronized with iTunes, all of my applications were clustered into groups, alarms and third party mail settings configured. Within eight hours my phone was back to the way it was with very little effort.

What this whole empirical experience demonstrated was the credibility of iCloud and that having an integrated digital platform developed by Apple actually exceeded expectations. It reduced my iPhone to a hardware platform that can be replaced (an expensive platform) and that my data and all my customized settings were saved in the cloud and made my new phone my old phone (except now I have a 4S with 4G data transfer).

Maybe we are actually progressing on cloud based storage and retrieval.