Archive for January, 2008

Managing the Danger: Week of 1/20/08

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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: Rich Mullins – Nothing Is Beyond You

Cellphone as Swiss Army Knife

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Most Monday’s, I publish a post called “Converged Products” which is a collection of links that I’ve titled “Cellphone as…” These posts demonstrate how creative businesses are capturing the power of mobility by making their products available to their customers wherever they go by “building” the product into the cellphone. The Law of Mobility was originally developed with this example in mind – products (like cameraphones) become more valuable through mobility simply because they are available all the time.

However, one of my favorite ideas of the past year, which I’ve shamelessly stolen from Atish Gude, is the shortcomings of the Cellphone as Swiss Army Knife.

I frequently use this analogy when speaking to different audiences. I usually tell the story of how, before 9/11, I would always carry a small knife with me. The knife had a small pair of scissors, a small screwdriver, a tiny pair of tweezers, and even a plastic toothpick. It was incredibly valuable to me to have these things, for example, if I were helping set up a trade show booth and needed to strip a wire or screw down a terminal post. Having these tools with me all the time, wherever I went created tremendous value – it’s a low-tech example of the Law of Mobility in action.

However, if I were in my office and needed scissors, I wouldn’t use that tiny, low power, poor user interface pair in my pocket, I’d reach for a real pair in my desk drawer.

The concept of Cellphone as Swiss Army Knife both amplifies the value of building products into a cellphone to reap the value promised by the Law of Mobility, but also calls out the value of building mobility into “real” products such as those I feature monthly in my “Beyond the Phone” posts.

The camera is a great example that we can all relate to. Building a camera into a cellphone is a great thing. A few months ago I switched phones to a Blackberry that isn’t a cameraphone, and there have been several times over those months when I’d wished my phone had a camera built in. Even a low-quality photo using a limited user interface would be better than missing the moment entirely.

However, most of us reach for a “real” camera when one is available. What we all long for (and manufacturers continue to try to deliver) is a “real” camera with mobile broadband built-in. We’ve become accustomed to the immediacy provided by cameraphones – the ability to easily and immediately share the moment with distant friends, and easily and immediately move photos into our computers without wires or syncing-procedures.

As the Mobility Revolution continues, businesses need to understand both models and determine whether to build a “blade” for the knife, or build mobile broadband into a full product, or both!

Capture the Power!

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Now playing: Sara Groves – The One Thing I Know

Converged Products: Week of 1/20/08

Monday, January 21st, 2008

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: Derek Webb – I Repent

Enabling Technology: Week of 1/13/08

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Bonus: Lee Lup Yuen identifies 5 technology advancements that will make 2008 a great year for enterprise mobility

The Law of Mobility talks about value increasing with mobility. The impact of this law is being felt because the barriers to building mobility in are being obliterated week after week. Here are examples of technology advances enabling this to happen:

Full list here.

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Now playing: Tara Leigh Cobble – Quiet Love Song

Where’s the WiFi?

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

My big Christmas present this year was an iPod Touch. Seeing as how it makes no sense for me to sign up with AT&T, the Touch gives me a chance to enjoy the advancements provided by the iPhone. The Touch is a beautiful device. I love showing off the multi-touch interface, Cover Flow, and the Photo Album. But, to me, the coolest application on the device is YouTube.

Don’t get me wrong, I spend almost no time at all at YouTube.com, so I’m not a heavy user. What is so cool about the YouTube application is how well it’s been optimized for a mobile device. Given that broadband (WiFi) is built in, the application just works, making it easy to find, view, and bookmark videos that fit what you’re looking for. The user interface works well with fingers on a touch screen, and the video playback works perfectly on the iPod Touch screen.

My problem is with WiFi. Sure, I have great WiFi connectivity at home, but if I’m at home and want to watch YouTube, I’m probably going to grab a laptop. I also have WiFi at work, but YouTube on an iPod probably isn’t what I’m focused on during work hours.

There are three places that I really wanted ot watch YouTube on my Touch and simply couldn’t.

Shortly after Christmas I went to a party at our church. No WiFi. No YouTube. A few days later, a gathering of family and friends at my dad’s house. No WiFi. No YouTube. In both of those settings I wanted to show friends how cool the iPod Touch interface was and specifically how powerful an application could be if it were optimized for a mobile interface. No WiFi. No YouTube. No Joy.

Finally, returning from my dad’s house, we got stuck with delays in Atlanta for several hours. Great time to look for entertaining YouTube content to pass the time. Of course, the Atlanta airport has WiFi – for a price. Was it worth $8 to be entertained for some unknowable airport delay time? For me, the answer was no. So, No YouTube. No Joy.

Admittedly, what I’m talking about here is the iPod Touch, not the iPhone. The iPhone does have mobile “broadband” in the form of EDGE, but I can’t imagine that would quite be the cool mobile experience I was looking for either.

(Big Sigh)

I guess I have to wait for the makers of insanely great products to wise up and build real mobile broadband in to their products – broadband that is available just about everywhere I go.

Mobile Broadband. YouTube. Joy.

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Now playing: Andrew Osenga – O, Help My Unbelief

Indicators: Week of 1/13/08

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

More and more, the world around us reflects the growing assumption of the law of mobility. Each week we will track indicators of Mobility’s growing importance in our businesses, our lives, and our society:


Full list here.

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Now playing: Red Mountain Church – Why Should I Fear?

Capturing the Power: Week of 1/13/08

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Bonus: Art Rosenberg tells us “How Mobility and UC Will Really Change the Pace of Business Communications

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

Managing the Danger: Week of 1/13/08

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

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: Sara Groves – Love Is Still A Worthy Cause

Converged Products: Week of 1/13/08

Monday, January 14th, 2008

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: Matthew Perryman Jones – Abide With Me

Will Mobility Really Replace PCs?

Friday, January 11th, 2008

My co-worker at Sprint, Aaron Bahney recently asked me if I really believed that mobility would replace PCs. He made the point that many folks are pretty happy with their current desk-based experience.

Here’s my response:

The Power of Mobility is based on the premise that Mobility will be as big of a revolution for businesses as the PC was and the Internet was.

The PC didn’t eliminate the need for data centers, instead it enabled workers and businesses to do things they couldn’t do before. In the end, we need more data center space than ever because of all the PC-supporting servers.

The Internet didn’t eliminate the need for PCs, instead it enabled workers and businesses to do things they couldn’t do before. In fact, the Internet renewed PC growth as entire new segments realized they needed a PC just to access the Internet.

Mobility won’t eliminate the need for fixed communications, instead it will enable workers and businesses to do things they couldn’t do before. Will it mean increased demand for fixed communications? I don’t see that yet.

But maybe. Here’s an example. I recently spoke at a conference in Omaha. One of the other presenters was from a local power district. They’d mobilized their field workers with ruggedized laptops. This fundamentally changed their processes from paper based to direct entry and put new tools in the hands of workers right where they needed them. It did drastically reduce the need for data entry, which undoubtedly impacted some jobs back at the central location. But I’m guessing that it’s also dramatically increasing the flow of information through the business – in from the field and out to the field. That likely means more bandwidth is required from headquarters to the Internet, if nothing else.

I have often said that wires (or fibers) are much better at carrying traffic than wireless connections, and I doubt anyone will credibly argue with me. For voice communications, we’re approaching the point where wireless works “perfectly” (we obviously aren’t there yet, but we’re a lot closer than we used to be). For data, how fast is fast enough? For some applications, the value of mobility is so high and the need for bandwidth is low enough that wireless obviously wins. For other applications, mobility is meaningless and bandwidth needs are high enough that wireless can’t win. (My laptop has WiFi built in, but when I’m at my desk, I still use the Ethernet cable!)

The book is intended to help businesses figure out which applications can capture the power of mobility to improve their competitiveness or profitability and figure out what needs to change in their business to capture that power.

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Now playing: Red Mountain Church – God Of My Life, To Thee I Call