Archive for October, 2007

Book Reception in KC

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Last week we had a reception on the Sprint campus to thank all the local folks who have helped make The Power of Mobility a success. Thanks again to everyone!

KC reception

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Now playing: John Waller – Breathe On Me

Big Bell Dogma: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

As we work to build mobility into every product, service, and process, our greatest inhibitor is the mindset represented by those who defend the tethering of products and processes to specific places. This mindset is fueled by the investments that have been made that establish power in the companies, departments, and individuals that stand in the way of mobilizing our lives and our businesses. These investments are not always in hard assets, but often are investments of time and experience to establish intellectual and relational assets. We should expect our assault on these ways to be defended to the death. Here are recent examples:

Complete list here.

(For more context, read the Mobile Declaration of Independence.)

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Now playing: John Waller – Sacred Pages

Capturing the Power: Week of 10/28/07

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Bonus: Sprint creating platform for innovation

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Brian Littrell – You Alone

Beyond the Phone: October 2007

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Converging products into a cellphone is one way that mobility is getting built into every product, but it’s not the only way. Every month, I’ll focus on devices that are integrating the power of mobility into products themselves in ways that create new value for the customer. Power up!

 

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Now playing: Todd Agnew – Preachers And Thieves

Managing the Danger: Week of 10/28/07

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Bonus: Aberdeen’s Philippe Winthrop provides mobility tips to CIOs

In order to be winners in the new mobile era, businesses will not only need to capture the power of mobility, but also manage the danger. Highlighted below are recent examples of the danger of mobility and how some firms are beginning to manage it:

Full list here.

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Now playing: Caedmon’s Call – Expectations

Business Models: October 2007

Monday, October 29th, 2007

As the Mobility Era matures, obviously a key question will be “how to make money?”. There are plenty of opinions on the best answer to this question. The below is very inclusive and I provide no editorial functions, so don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out):

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Now playing: Mac Powell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Brian Littrell & Mark Harris – By His Wounds

Converged Products: Week of 10/28/07

Monday, October 29th, 2007

The most convenient way that mobility is getting built into products is through the convergence into the cellphone of capabilities that previously existed as standalone products. That way, those products are now with you and available for your use whenever you need them wherever you go.

Complete list here.

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Now playing: Caedmon’s Call – Expectations

Recent Research: October 2007

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Bonus: Brough Turner on how mobile subscriber growth forecasts are always wrong

Research is good. Free highlights from expensive research reports are great. Here are some recent headlines:

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Now playing: David Crowder – Rock of Ages

Power of Mobility hits #3

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

The Power of Mobility book hit its highest Amazon category ranking yet, #3 in Manager?s Guides to Computing

If you’ve already bought the book, please take the time to write a review.

Thanks!

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Now playing: Todd Agnew – War Inside

OPPD’s Seven Steps at ITW

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

On Thursday, I participated in the Information Technology in the Workplace conference in Omaha.

My favorite presentation of the day was by the Customer Operations Technology group of the Omaha Public Power District. The team described “OPPD?s Mobility project which implemented the hardware, software and communications technology to support a mobile computing environment. The implementation included mobile workforce management software which provides scheduling, routing and dispatching of service orders to field technicians.”

Their project was a great example of an organization successfully following the “seven steps to the power of mobility” described in my book.

Here’s what I remember from their talk set against the seven steps:

  1. Digitize: In my book, I ask “What are the processes that define your business and what data is essential to the success of these processes?” For OPPD, that data includes maps of their service area with the equipment they maintain overlaid and all manner of information about that equipment. The Customer Operations Technology group has made that digitized information available to their field workers through the Mobility project.
  2. Connect: I also ask “now that you’ve digitized your business, how will open networks amplify the value of your digitized data?” One powerful application that OPPD has built is a mash-up of Google Maps with location data from work crews moving across the district.
  3. Evaluate: “Will mobilizing your service make your employees more efficient? Will it accelerate information flow, resulting in fewer costly mistakes? Will it eliminate paper processes and duplication of effort? Will mobilization reduce data entry requirements and associated human errors?” Prior to the Mobility project, OPPD technicians would make a paper record of their activities. Those records would then be entered into the District’s systems by the Data Entry department the next day. Today, a technician has to enter very little data into a mobile device. The rest of the information is automatically populated across the wireless network from centralized databases and based on current time and location.
  4. Limit: “There are four factors around which you should consider limiting the mobilization of your product, service, or process… wireless technology, network provider, geography, activities.” OPPD’s initial Mobility deployment used WiFi at their main depot and a private wireless data network while technicians were scattered across the district. They limited some activities to occur while the vehicles and devices were within the WiFi network footprint to ensure reasonable performance and support.
  5. Position: “Building mobility into your product, service, or process requires investment and introduces change for your employees and customers. That change may be embraced, or it may be rejected.” In introducing the Mobility project, the Customer Operations Technology group had to ensure that the changes introduced were acceptable to union leadership. Specific concerns included classification of work between technicians and data entry clerks, as well as GPS-based location tracking of employees. At first, employees were wary of the new technology, but have come to embrace it and now complain when the GPS navigation tool isn’t working.
  6. Protect: “The most obvious new expenses are from mobile devices and the service plans to keep your employees connected.” OPPD technicians often need to go off-road to reach service locations. Once they arrive at the service site, the mobile devices get carried out of the vehicle into extreme environments. The Customer Operations Technology group carefully researched devices that could handle the vibration, mud, cold, heat, and impact they were likely to experience in real world use. The district also needed to invest to retrofit vehicles to effectively hold the new equipment.
  7. Learn: “In reality, you simply can’t know how your customers and employees are going to change their behaviors once you take the first steps into mobility.” The first feedback the Customer Operations Technology group heard from users was that the private wireless data network wasn’t fast enough to support the level of activity technicians were generating. By upgrading to Sprint’s EV-DO network, the group increased data throughput from 9.6kpbs up to nearly a megabit per second. Now that the faster network is in place, technicians are asking for field-access to more internal applications. The Customer Operations Technology group counts these requests as an indicator of success of the overall project.

It was exciting to hear OPPD’s success and the value that Mobility is creating for them.? Please feel free to share your success stories with me!

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Now playing: Caedmon’s Call – Trouble