The Six Cs of Mobility

April 15th, 2014

Nearly a decade ago I introduced McGuire’s Law of Mobility. Over the years, I’ve refined it a bit to simply say “The value of any product or service increases with its mobility.” and, over the years, the truth of the law has been demonstrated time and again.

But back in those early days, despite having anecdotal examples to point to, I couldn’t really explain “how” mobility increases the value of a product or service.

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at an event hosted by Mobiquity. That event gave me the opportunity to try to capture and communicate thinking I’ve been doing recently about the specific ways that mobility creates value in products and services – either for the end customer (and thus indirectly for the supplier) or directly for the supplier. In some respects, this is the result of looking back with 20/20 hindsight and merely capturing what we’ve already seen, but I do think it’s helpful for those looking forwards to consider how to practically design the value of mobility into their products and services.

So, here are the six C’s of mobility – six ways in which mobility adds value to a product or service:

  1. Connectivity
  2. Community
  3. Content
  4. Context
  5. Commerce
  6. Cost


At it’s core, integrating wireless connectivity into a product or service is about, well, connectivity. What I mean here is specifically full-time two-way connectivity into back end systems that enable the product or service to operate as part of the larger value proposition of the firm, and therefore provide greater value to the end customer.


Some people refer to the “social revolution,” and we’ve certainly seen a dramatic rise in social networks and the huge impact these sites have had on how we interact with the world around us, but I’m not sure whether it’s a separate “revolution” or a subset of the “mobile” revolution or if they are both the same revolution – the “social/mobile” revolution. Whatever the case, the fact that products and services have wireless connectivity built in makes it possible for users to share with their friends and provide support for one another. This is easiest to see in mobile apps, but I’ve also seen it in retail kiosks for sunglasses and makeup, and built into digital cameras, and I believe we’ll increasingly see the opportunity to “like”, “share”, and give or receive encouragement being built into more and more connected products and services.


Wireless connectivity also makes it simple to leverage the reach and richness of the Web with a real-time element and with relevance that goes well beyond what’s possible in a desktop Internet experience. A navigation device that provides recent reviews of nearby restaurants, along with the daily specials would be a great example. (I’d love to have this built into my next car…) Another example is the simple Bible app. When I started carrying a PDA a couple of decades ago, the Bible app was one of the first things that demonstrated to me the power of mobility. Wherever I was, I could read God’s Word. However, a single translation would consume almost all of the memory on my device, so forget about additional resources like commentaries and Bible dictionaries. Today, most Bible apps don’t store any translations locally, and yet, over the wireless connection, you can access almost every translation, commentary, or reference work ever published.


In the mobile community, we’ve often spoken of the unique value of “context” that mobility enables above and beyond what has ever been possible in a desktop application. Because it’s been so broadly discussed, I won’t belabor the point here, but I do believe that the ability of wirelessly connected products and services to adapt given place, proximity, and priority does provide tremendous incremental value never before possible.

All of the C’s listed above are value enhancements that the end user directly realizes. Hopefully that value realization translates into value for the provider (differentiation, premium pricing, customer loyalty, etc.). However, the next two C’s are ways in which the provider benefits directly from the integration of wireless connectivity into the product or service.


Wireless connectivity creates a tremendous opportunity for the provider to extend their business into adjacent spaces and realize new untapped revenues. A service provider may be able to offer new kinds of services, not previously possible. A product or service company may be able to present to customers extremely relevant advertising, or may be able to (while respecting and protecting user privacy) collect data that has analytical value for the company or a partner. Many other adjacent revenue opportunities will likely become available to those that are integrating wireless connectivity into their business.


The final C deals with the opportunity to replace components with cloud content. For example, the first “connected” watch I bought was satellite connected to the atomic clock in Colorado. I thought it was cool geeky technology. My brother-in-law is a jeweler and he thought it was cool because it meant that you could build an incredibly accurate watch with very inexpensive components. Similarly, I’ve often told the story of TeleNav, a company that replaced expensive GPS navigation electronics with software on a mobile phone connected back to maps and data in the cloud. As wireless connectivity gets integrated into every product and service, there will be many opportunities to take costs out of the product or service by replacing expensive physical elements (e.g. highly trained specialists in the field) with content and capabilities hosted in the cloud.

I hope these 6 C’s are helpful to you as you consider how to revolutionize your industry!

New Book!

December 16th, 2013

There are only 4 days left on this Kickstarter Deal and it’s still a long ways from getting funded. I want to read the book, so hopefully you’ll consider joining in!
I am very pleased to announce my contribution to a new book project called shift 2020 – How Technology Will Impact Our Future. It’s a self-published book curated by Rudy De Waele including foresights on how technology will impact our future by some of the world’s leading experts.

The story
The idea of shift 2020 is based upon Mobile Trends 2020, a collaborative project Rudy launched early 2010. It’s one of the highest viewed decks on Slideshare (in the Top 50 of All Time in Technology / +320k views). Reviewing the document a couple of weeks ago, he realised the future is catching up on us much faster than many of the predictions that were made. so, he asked the original contributors for an update on their original predictions and new foresights for the year 2020.
Additionally, Rudy broadened the scope of this new book project and asked new contributors to give their vision and foresights on the following topics: 3D Printing, AI, Apps, Biotech, Cloud, Connected Living, Consumers, Context, Crowdfunding, Data, Education, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise, Fashion, GreenTech, Health, Hyperconnectivity, IoT / IoE, M2M, Maker Movement, Media, P2P Money, Retail, Robotics, Sensors, Smart Cities, Social Media, Society, Surveillance, Transport, Wearables with global input as well as focused on emerging markets such as BRIC and Sub-Saharan Africa.
shift 2020 is designed by Louise Campbell, an award winning UX and design technology professional with years of experience working with luxury fashion E-commerce brands, designing first-class, multi-platform, digital shopping experiences.
A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise the necessary funds to make this project a reality (mainly to cover the costs for design, editing, website and promotion). Head over and order your unique copy of the nicely designed eBook, paperback or a quality Hardcover Photo Book printed by The content includes 80 pages of original content, featuring most of the original Mobile Trends 2020 contributors. In addition to some 40 new contributions from around the globe who are prominent futurists, trend-predictors and industry leaders. There’s no such existing compilation of foresights in existence that I know of. It’s quite unique!
Special opportunity for companies to customise the book!
Rudy created as well an opportunity for companies to personalise the cover of the book with your company logo and name. The book presents a very special opportunity to create a unique New Year’s gift for your business relationships and clients. What a better way to start 2014?
shift 2020 includes quotes, paragraphs and essays from confirmed contributors, such as:
Neelie Kroes (VP of the European Commission), Douglas Rushkoff, Salim Ismael (Singularity University), Loic Le Meur (LeWeb), Shannon Spanhake (Innovation Officer San Francisco), Adeo Ressi (The Founder Institute), Boris Veldhuijzen (The Next Web), Saul Klein (Index Ventures), Aubrey de Grey, Sunny Bates (Kickstarter / Jawbone), Carlos Domingo (Telefonica Digital), David Rowan (Wired Magazine), Laurent Haug (Lift), Martin Recke (next), Will Page (Spotify), Scott Jenson (Google), Gerd Leonhard (The Futures Agency), Yuri Van Geest, Russell Buckley, Russ McGuire (Sprint), Kwame Ferreira (Kwamecorp), Delia Dumitrescu (, Georgie Benardete (Shopbeam), Hans-Holger Albrecht (Millicom), Tariq Krim (JoliCloud), Dr. James Canton, Andrew Hessel (Autodesk), Christian Lindholm (Korulab), Eze Vidra (Google Campus), Harald Neidhardt (MLOVE), Raina Kumra (Juggernaut). Robin Wauters (, Nicolas Nova, Gianfranco Chicco, Shaherose Charania (Women 2.0), Ken Banks, Marc Davis (Microsoft), Felix Petersen, Kelly Goto, Erik Hersman (Savannah Fund), David Risher (Worldreader), Glen Hiemstra (, Jessica Colaço (iHub), Mark Kanji (Apptivation), Rohit Talwar (Fast Future), Priya Prakash (Changify), Andrew Berglund (Geometry Global), Alan Moore, Martin Duval (Bluenove), Maarten Lens-FitzGerald (Layar), Andrew Bud (mBlox/MEF), Andy Abramson, Fabien Girardin, C. Enrique Ortiz, Raj Singh (Tempo AI), Inma Martinez, Robert Rice, Ajit Jaokar, Jonathan MacDonald, Tony Fish, Dan Applequist, Redg Snodgrass (Wearable World), David Wood, Mark A.M. Kramer (razorfish Healthware) , John Kieti (m:lab), Aape Pohjavirta, Kosta Peric (Innotribe), Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Microsoft) , Michael Breidenbruecker (Reality Jockey), Tricia Wang, Louisa Heinrich (Superhuman), Mike North (UC Berkeley), Mac-Jordan D. Degadjor, Kate Darling, Simon White, Chris Luomanen (Thing Tank), Ariane Van De Ven (Telefonica), Ed Maklouf (Siine), and many others.
The eBook version will be delivered to you before Christmas 2013. Pre-order now on Kickstarter. The printed books will be delivered as Standard Delivery (according guidelines) counting 12-15 business days from December 20th 2013 onwards.
For any customised offers not mentioned in the pledges, please contact Rudy.
Check the shift2020 website for latest updates and additional information.

My work here is done…

September 27th, 2013

Obviously, my postings here have been few and far between lately. I think recent research by iGR explains why.

According to a Mobile Marketer article, research firm iGR has found that 72% of companies have implemented a mobile strategy and 92% recognize the need to.

When I launched this blog 7.5 years ago, I would guess those #s would have

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been more like 2% and 5% and my key objective was to raise awareness that it would become essential for businesses to transform their businesses via mobility.

Mission accomplished!

Even the FCC is fighting Big Bell Dogma

December 11th, 2012

Big Bell Dogma is the entrenched mindset that seeks to solidify the status quo and inhibit the mobility revolution in order to protect legacy positions of power.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has written a letter to the FAA asking that outdated rules limiting the use of mobile devices in flight be lifted.

The chairman’s letter provided an admirable defense of the mobility revolution:

This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives.

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They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness.

Vive la revolution!

Converged Products: A late-2012 view

December 10th, 2012

Years ago, shortly after starting this blog, I would write a

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post each week that catalogued all the items that were being replaced by the cellphone. Yesterday, Nick Drake, in his NY Times blog did a great job of bringing that perspective up to date:

Last week, I realized I didn’t need to carry a wallet anymore. My smartphone had replaced almost everything in it. So, it’s gone. Add that to the pile of things — my address books, Filofax, portable music player, point-and-shoot camera, printouts of maps — that have melded into the smartphone.

What’s next?

Telco Thought Leader Explains Big Bell Dogma Thinking

April 19th, 2012

In an interview in Network World, Roberto Saracco, director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre, said “the major reason carriers are placing data caps on their LTE services is to prevent users from going exclusively with wireless data services

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and ditching their landline connections.” (Note, the quote is from the article in Network World and not a direct quote from Saracco.)

Network World’s article included this direct quote from Saracco: “You’re always going to want to make the maximum amount of value, and you don’t want to have your fixed-line network being cannibalized by mobile.”

This is a great example of Big Bell Dogma: Do what you can to slow the mobility revolution in order to protect the status quo.

Early Resolution

December 15th, 2011

Ever since Sprint announced availability of the iPhone, I’ve been swamped with questions and requests for help, primarily from SERO customers. Over the past few months, I’ve probably helped answer or resolve hundreds of customer issues.

I can’t keep it up.

You may have noticed at times that it’s taken me days to respond and I’m sure I’ve totally dropped the ball on some comments or emails.

Unfortunately, for many, I’ve become the default go-to source for any question to Sprint. That’s not a good situation for anyone. You need a more responsive answer (with authority) and I need to get back to my real life.

So, I’m implementing an early New Year’s Resolution. From now on, when I get questions, if they don’t start with “I’ve contacted employee care, but…” then I’m going to respond with “Have you contacted employee care?”

As a reminder, here are the two best e-mail addresses for getting answers to your SERO and EverythingPlus questions:

  • For support questions (questions from existing Sprint customers about your account, upgrading your account, etc.):
  • For sales questions (customers considering becoming a Sprint customer through the EverythingPlus program):

Thanks for being a customer and for your patience with me.



Addendum: As Will notes in the comments, the Community site at is also a great place to get help. Claudia wrote in separately pointing specifically to the section of the site best suited for SERO questions:

“The URL for the Plans forum where all SERO/EPRP questions should be asked is”

Smartphone Adoption

December 1st, 2011

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted the initial piece on the four drivers of change in the industry. I didn’t intend to take this long to post the second piece, but I guess I’ve been pretty busy…

As I indicated in my first post, one of the key drivers of change has been smartphone adoption. Obviously, smartphones have been around for a long time. The Handspring and then Palm Treo’s were great early smartphone products for Sprint starting almost a decade ago. Nokia, Microsoft, and RIM also have had smartphone platforms for many years.

But, it wasn’t until Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 that the smartphone became a mass market phenomenon.

I believe the iPhone also introduced a fundamental shift in approach to the smartphone. I’m most familiar with Palm, Microsoft, and RIM, so my apologies for not representing Nokia well. Both Palm and Microsoft focused on creating miniature computer environments. The experience had much more to do with running applications on the computer and also using the computer to make phone calls. Yes, there was an e-mail client and a browser, but these were application-centric models in the traditional PC mold. RIM always has been very messaging centric. Yes, there was a browser and yes you could run applications, but the model was very much about messaging.

The iPhone was the first smartphone that truly was Internet-centric. You may recall that for the first year, Apple didn’t even support native apps on the iPhone – they expected developers to create services/apps that were browser based. Of course, the iPhone had the first beautiful browser that ignored any concept of carrier walled gardens and gave users access to the full Internet. A year in, the App Store similarly ignored the concept of a carrier deck and created a win-win-win opportunity for developers to develop/market/sell/deliver applications and for customers to enjoy a rapidly growing array of available apps.

Of course, this invited competition and Google introduced Android at the end of 2007, with the first handset available late in 2008. And today, patents and intellectual property are the weapons of choice in this competitive battleground.

IDC estimates that US smartphone sales have increased from about 5 million in 2005 to over 100 million in 2011. Not bad growth…

Stay tuned…

The iPhone: the power and the danger

November 21st, 2011

My latest article for Christian Computing magazine is on the power and the danger of the iPhone. It can

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be read here:

Four Drivers of the Mobility Revolution

November 13th, 2011

Just over a week ago, I presented “Seismic Shifts in the Mobile Ecosystem” at Sprint’s Open Solutions Conference. The session was well attended and seemed to be well received, so I’d like to share some of the content here. I’ll set up the topic in this post, and then dive deeper in additional posts over the coming weeks.

The basic premise of the session was that there are four key drivers of change that have resulted in ten seismic shifts in the mobile ecosystem. These changes reflect the Mobility Revolution and create opportunity for businesses that can understand and capitalize on these shifts.

So, what are the four drivers?

The first one is

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mass market adoption of smartphones.

The second is mobile bandwidth being built into all kinds of products.

The third is ubiquitous broadband (wired and wireless).

The final driver is the emergence of real world interfaces between mobile devices and the real world, including NFC, compass, gyroscope, cameras, and other sensors.