Archive for April, 2008

Big Bell Dogma: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

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:

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

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Now playing: Mark Heard – Your World Or Mine

Capturing the Power: Week of 4/27/08

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

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:

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Now playing: Phil Keaggy – The Blue Trail

Focused on Danger?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

When I meet with companies and talk about mobility, I often walk away with a clear impression of whether the folks I’ve met with are “power-focused” or “danger-focused.”

The concept comes from the simple observation that a new technology can represent new power for businesses – a new tool to be used to create differentiation from competitors or reduce costs to improve profits or better compete on price – but a new technology can also represent new danger for businesses – new costs, new security threats, new opportunities for workers to be distracted, etc.

The reality is that successful businesses must learn to capture the power while managing the danger.

But I get excited when I talk to companies that are really focused on the power. (That’s why my book was primarily about “The Power of Mobility” while not ignoring the danger.)

As you can imagine, my emotional response is quite different when I talk to companies that can’t get past the dangers and miss the opportunity to change the rules of competition in their industry by capturing the power.

I’m reminded of all of this by an article out of the UK at IT Week titled “What value mobility?”

The author, Guy Kewney, clearly can’t see past the dangers of mobility to recognize the potential that mobility represents to create value for businesses of all sizes.

He asks the rhetorical questions “Does WiMax or any other mobile wireless broadband technology truly offer the IT director something that shows up on the bottom line? Or is the value merely a value to the manufacturers?” The answers are clear in his mind.

But apparently, mobility isn’t the only technology he finds of questionable value: “In a business where experts are still questioning the ‘real value’ of even basic computer technology, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised to find scepticism about the usefulness of mobile.”

May I suggest that Mr. Kewney consider these rhetorical questions as well:

  • What is the value of accelerated decision making?
  • What is the value of up-to-date information wherever you are?
  • What is the value of not having to stay in the office to wait for a call or e-mail – freeing you to go and spend time with family, friends, or business partners?
  • What is the value of increased responsiveness to customer needs?
  • What is the value of knowing exactly where your employees and other valuable assets are when you need them?
  • What is the value of an employee being able to complete a task immediately without having to return to the office?
  • What is the value of reducing return visits to a customer or business location because you can resolve the problem immediately?
  • What is the value of having the information you need at your fingertips to solve a problem or complete a task?
  • What is the value of understanding and managing your costs of doing business?
  • What is the value of knowing exactly how long workers spend at different locations performing different tasks for different customers?
  • What is the value of reducing wasted efforts?
  • What is the value of reducing data entry by capturing data such as the time a task is performed or the location?
  • What is the value of eliminating paper-based processes that require data re-entry?
  • What is the value of reducing keying errors by reducing data entry and re-entry?
  • What is the value of accelerating the flow of information through your business?

I’m sure there are many other questions that would be valuable to consider, but this should be a good start. And perhaps Mr. Kewney should consider trying a Blackberry and other mobile technologies rather than just criticizing them.

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Now playing: Paul Wright – Sky Falling Down [Acoustic]

Recent Research: April 2008

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Bonus: Dean Bubley asks: What’s in a number?

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

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Now playing: Kevin Max – To The Dearly Departed

Managing the Danger: Week of 4/27/08

Tuesday, April 29th, 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:

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Now playing:
Ian – Get Live, Get Loud

Padmasree Warrior on the Mobility Revolution

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Last year, before Padmasree Warrior left Motorola to join Cisco, Chetan Sharma interviewed her for a magazine article that never got published.  The full interview is now posted at Always On Real-Time Access.  It’s worth reading the full thing, but here are some quotes to further convince you:

 “The next decade is about the Mobile Revolution. It is quite remarkable how something as simple as the cell phone is transforming the human race by connecting the entire planet. Today almost half the planet communicates via a mobile device. The social, economic, cultural and technological implications of this are profound, particularly in under-developed countries of the world.”

“The mobile device in 2012 will become an extension of your persona. In other words, it will know your preference, know where you are and will understand the context of what you need. This will simplify how people access communication, information and entertainment. For example, the mobile device will be your computer, wallet, TV, camera, music player, FM radio, alarm clock, flash light, calendar, game system and so on. By 2012 the mobile device will become your remote control for life.”

“I see convergence not as technology-driven, but experience driven. Convergence is the mobilization, socialization and personalization of content and communications…the technologies are being driven by the desired experiences.”

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Now playing: Phil Keaggy – Wow’s the Weather

Can you tell the difference?

Monday, April 28th, 2008

After posting the brief note on the demise of SPOT watches because they couldn’t compete with functionality built into cellphones, I turned to completing my monthly post on “Beyond the Phone” – products that build mobility in rather than relying on functionality built into cellphones – and guess what the lead item is – a wrist watch!

So, why am I down on SPOT and yet pointing to this “Cool series” watch?

Well the obvious answer is that this watch is a two-way communication device that provides much better use of the power of mobility. In addition to being a fully functional cellphone, this watch also supports SMS/MMS. It’s not clear from the description provided by Slashphone whether it also supports web browsing. If so, then every bit of information available through SPOT and more would easily be “at hand.”

Not that I’m rushing out to buy one of these watches. My Blackberry will serve me just fine for now, thank you very much!

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Now playing: The Normals – We Go On

Beyond the Phone: April 2008

Monday, April 28th, 2008

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: Phil Keaggy – McPhernought

Spot Off

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Way back in October of 2006 I commented on my decision first to not renew my MSN Direct subscription for my SPOT watch, and second to not trade up to a new 2nd generation SPOT watch. As I noted at the time, the SPOT model was challenged by betting on the watch and by betting against cellular data models.

Apparently I wasn’t alone.

Microsoft has announced that they are discontinuing the SPOT watch program. Michael Mace has an excellent write-up on the whole SPOT story at Mobile Opportunity. It’s worth checking out.

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Now playing: Fighting Instinct – Back To You [Acoustic]

Business Models: April 2008

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

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: Phil Keaggy – The Blue Trail