In this example, your personal cloud establishes different relationships with other clouds as your life circumstances change. Let’s look at the college setting.

As your relationship with a university changes, so do the kinds of information that are exchanged between the various actors.

As a prospective student you want to see what the university has to offer. Your cloud casts your intent to attend college, your high-level interests, and various demographic and educational details into the network. Colleges and universities that match your interest use their clouds to make connections and start sharing information to help you narrow your initial choices.

You select top candidate schools and use your cloud connections to complete your applications.  As the schools pull together the information to make the decision on acceptance they’ll access your cloud, with your permission, for the latest personal information. Emergency contact and reference information is collected from family and friends’ personal clouds for the purpose of college admissions. Your high school shares coursework and grades for use in the admissions process. Advanced placement and standardized test results are gathered from the testing center clouds. Other materials such as essays, recommendations, multimedia presentations, etc. are made available from your cloud storage as necessary.

Congratulations! You have been accepted as a new student at your “first choice” university. Access between the university cloud and your cloud has now been expanded. Access between your cloud and other candidate school clouds is wound down. Your basic information required as a newly enrolled student continues to be accessed through your personal cloud and related clouds but under new rules. New connections to instructors, administrative clouds, orientation clouds, and course clouds are formed. Your personal contacts expand to include classmates, fraternity/ sorority members, sports teammates, proctors, assistants, and professors associated with your academic journey. The connections, channels, groups, and context morph over time as new people enter your world and others leave. In the end, you graduate. But your relationships with the university, classmates, and friends continue.

After graduation, your cloud remains yours. The contacts you want to keep and the relationships you have forged are there for you to use as you enter the working world. You leverage your university cloud connections to assemble a portfolio for your potential employer. Your college network points you towards promising job leads. The university reaches out to create a new relationship, an alumni relationship that you accept.

As an alumnus, you share information with local chapters, other grads in your area, and the university over the course of the year. You keep track of the people you met in school as the connections you formed in school remain in effect until either of you decide to break the connection.

As the alumnus relationship deepens, the university asks you to become an advocate that you gladly accept. Now you connect with other clouds, potential students, willing business partners, and other groups as you build up connections and reputation for the university.

Your personal cloud has followed you throughout the entire journey.   The fluid nature of data ownership and evolving relationships is easily handled by the cloud structure. It applies in other situations as well, such as the relationships between employees and employers, businesses and customers, and even families as children grow and parents age.

The next post outlines how the personal cloud structure can help advance patient-centered healthcare.