Big businesses use the data that we currently install on their centralised servers, and either make money by directly selling that information, or by directing personalised advertising based upon its content.
Solid is completely different and is not centralised. I am currently running a Solid Pod Server, and my own POD, at home on a Raspberry Pi that cost less than £50.00, and which has 64GB of storage (far more than the 15GB included as standard in Google Drive) which doesn’t overheat, is not noisy, and uses less electric than a standard lightbulb.
The front page of the solid.inrupt site says that Solid
‘opens brand new avenues for creativity, problem solving, and commerce’
but doesn’t speculate on what these ‘commerce’ opportunities would be.
Here is my suggestion for when Solid is ‘finished’:
I envisage a business selling Rasperry Pi’s complete with a 64GB or a 128GB SD card and a pre-purchased URL. The SD card would come pre-loaded not only with the Raspberry Pi software, but also pre-installed with both Certbot and a Solid POD Server that used the pre-purchased URL.
The whole thing could be sold complete, in the same way that phones come already installed with Android. When the buyer logs into Raspberry for the first time, this creates not only the first user for the Raspberry, but also creates the first WebID. In short, the purchaser gets a Raspberry Pi complete with their own Solid Server, their own Solid POD, and their own WebID, all without having to understand any code.
The business would sell a single user Raspberry Pi and POD at one price, a multi-user (family) POD at a higher price, and there would be different prices based on the size of the SD card.
As more people access the internet these days by phone rather than by computer, there would also need to be an app that allows access between a phone and a POD,
Well, that’s my idea. Something like that could encourage the uptake of Solid devices because it is both easy to manufacture, easy for consumers to use, cheap to buy, and cheap to run.
I am in my seventies and no longer need the hassle of creating another company, so if anyone wants to take this idea forward they are welcome to do so.
It would be interesting to know what ‘commerce opportunities’ other forum members can think of other than the obvious one of selling Solid hosting on large servers in the same way that website hosting is currently sold.
I will add suggestions to the bottom of this initial post.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES USING SOLID POD SERVERS
My own suggestion: Raspberry Pi’s, or any other hardware, could be sold complete with pre-installed Solid Servers, URL’s and Certificates. Since first writing this post there has been at least one company providing pre-installed Pod servers.
@adventure’s suggestion: PODS could be used to advertise keywords.
Solid Servers could be used within organisations to advertise their presence without direct advertising. For example, a local council, or any other organisation, could host their own Solid POD server and allow anyone with an address in their area to register and get an address like richard.manchester. org or surname.organisation. com
The first part of a name, such as https://photography.solid.community could be used to advertise services within an area.