Archive for November, 2009

Enterprise Mobility Matters

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Philippe Winthrop, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, recently interviewed me for his blog “Enterprise Mobility Matters.” I believe the discussion reflects where the industry is heading and particularly the opportunities ahead of us in the Business space. If these are topics of interest to you, you may enjoy

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reading it.

To give you a sense, here’s my answer to the first question:

Enterprise Mobility Matters: Hi Russ. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I know you must be swamped, so let’s get to it. Where do you see the greatest opportunity for growth in enterprise mobility?

Russ McGuire: I think the magnitude of opportunities almost can’t be fathomed. I believe we are on the early side of the Mobility Revolution, which will have as big of an impact on how business is conducted as the Internet Revolution and the PC Revolution. I believe the outcome of the Mobility Revolution is that mobility becomes integrated into virtually every product that has a power source, into every service that businesses offer, and into every process that exists within business – just as microprocessors/PCs and IP connectivity have been completely integrated into businesses. This revolution will redefine how we, as individuals, interact with the world and how businesses compete across industries. Bottom line, it’s huge.

I would specifically point to three areas of huge growth within the enterprise space. The first is pure bandwidth – mobile broadband. Mostly today that means 3G data cards, but 4G is coming on very rapidly. The second area of huge growth is in mobile business applications – software that runs on the handset that employees use to do their jobs. The third area is in machine-to-machine – the embedding of wireless connectivity into devices that businesses use to more efficiently and effectively operate core processes.

You can read the entire interview here.

Enabling Technology: November 9, 2009

Monday, November 9th, 2009

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:

Observations: Uses – November 8, 2009

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Standard disclaimer: 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.)

  • More Mobile Stories from Developing World, Taxis and Bicycles in Bangladesh
  • Using Mobile Phones to Jump the Queue for Official Documents
  • United States Postal Service goes mobile
  • How Moms Use Their iPhones
  • Travel book goes mobile with scannable QR code
  • Mobile Phone Based Food Vouchers Trialled for Iraqi Refugees in Syria
  • Jibbigo iPhone app translates from English to Spanish and back again
  • Pizza Hut iPhone App Generates $1 million in Pizza Sales
  • Adobe’s Mobile Photoshop Software Lands on Android
  • Remote patient monitoring trial using mobile technology
  • Mobile 2.0 In the Wild

    Observations: Services – November 5, 2009

    Thursday, November 5th, 2009

    Standard disclaimer: 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.)

    Big Bell Dogma: October 2009

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

    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:

    Recent Research: October 2009

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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

    What About Android?

    Sunday, November 1st, 2009

    For the November issue of Christian Computing Magazine, I’ve written the below column. As I’ve noted before, the readers of this publication tend to be less aware of mobile technologies and trends than the readers of this blog and are focused on getting up to speed on new technologies and how they can apply to their churches. Even so, I thought y’all might find this article interesting.

    For the past couple of years, the Apple iPhone has dominated the attention of mobile phone commentators and enthusiasts. And for good reason. The iPhone redefined how a mobile device can be used to access the Internet and how it can support a vibrant developer community. The downside, as many iPhone fans have lamented, is that the device is only available on one of the four nationwide mobile networks in the U.S., and similarly has been exclusive on a single carrier’s network in most countries around the world.

    So, are there any competitors to the iPhone emerging?

    The clear answer is yes – in the form of Android. According to the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) website, “Android™ delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications.” The OHA “is a group of 47 technology and mobile companies who have come together to accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience. Together [they] have developed Android™, the first complete, open, and free mobile platform.”

    The prime mover behind the OHA is Google. The Internet giant contributed most of the software in Android. But unlike the iPhone, Android is not controlled by a single company and is not constrained to a narrow set of products exclusively running on a single carrier’s network.

    I am currently using the Samsung Moment, Sprint’s second Android handset (the first was the HTC Hero). T-Mobile also already has two Android handsets on the market, the MyTouch and the G1, both from HTC. Verizon is about to introduce their first Android handset, the Motorola Droid. AT&T is also expected to introduce an Android handset in 2010.

    That last paragraph speaks volumes to the difference between the Apple approach and the Android approach. Just in the U.S., there will soon be at least five different Android handset models (Moment, Hero, MyTouch, G1, and Droid) from three different major manufacturers (Samsung, Motorola, and HTC) running on three different wireless carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon). Meanwhile, there are only two models (3G and 3Gs) of iPhones, from one manufacturer (Apple) running on one wireless carrier (AT&T).

    For anyone who has been around technology for long, it’s not hard to see the parallels to the PC revolution. Apple was the early leader in personal computers with the Apple II, followed by the Apple IIe. Apple really moved the PC industry forward with the ground breaking Macintosh, which introduced a truly graphical mouse-based user interface. Many would still argue that the Macintosh operating environment stands head and shoulders above its Windows-based competitors. However, for the most part, Apple refused to enable other companies to manufacture Macintosh computers, believing that a vertically integrated business model was critical for producing the highest quality product. In large part, I think they’re right.

    However, Microsoft worked with Intel to enable lots of companies to produce DOS and then Windows-based computers. Companies like Dell and Compaq flourished and Windows-based PC sales quickly surpassed Macintosh sales. The Mac is still a profitable business for Apple, but primarily serves a niche market.

    Most importantly, software developers needed to decide whether to invest their time in writing for Microsoft or Apple operating systems. Before long, it became clear that Windows was the larger market opportunity, usually creating a greater revenue opportunity for roughly the same level of investment. Bill Gates refers to it as a virtuous cycle – the more Microsoft-based PCs that sold, the more attractive the PC was for developers. The more developers wrote software for Microsoft-based PCs, the more attractive the PC was for computer buyers.

    Apple appears to be repeating the same set of decisions in the mobile space, and Android appears positioned to be the beneficiary of those decisions. Flurry Analytics, a mobile application analytics company, reported a 94% increase in application project starts by Android developers between September and October of this year. In other words, the number of applications being developed for Android nearly doubled in one month.

    Already, there are over 10,000 applications available for Android. That’s only about one-tenth as many as the iPhone, but still more than any single individual could ever comprehend. And I believe it won’t be long before the gap closes and there are more Android apps than iPhone apps.

    I’m sure that the iPhone will always have its die-hard loyal fans, and I expect that it will continue to be a very profitable business for Apple. But I also believe that the iPhone’s days are numbered as the leader in the smartphone space. As already noted, all wireless carriers are looking to Android to be an important part of their mobile device portfolio, and Verizon is being especially caustic in their attack of the iPhone with their “iDon’t” ads.

    The types of folks that fill our pews every Sunday are starting to wake up to the benefits of Android. What does it mean for our technology ministries?

    If you’ve been pursuing any iPhone-centric mobile initiatives, I recommend you pause and consider what will happen when the iPhone becomes a niche solution compared to Android’s market position. How much of what you’re developing is directly applicable to Android? (Web pages optimized for the iPhone may work perfectly for Android since both devices use Webkit-based browsers.) How much can easily be repurposed for Android? And how much is completely focused on the iPhone? (iPhone app development is primarily in Objective-C, while Android is primarily Java and XML.)

    It will likely be at least a year (and probably even longer) before Android becomes more dominant than the iPhone. Given that timeframe, it may make sense to continue investing in iPhone-specific development. Or it might not.

    Finally, start thinking about what will become possible if Android becomes as common for mobile devices as Windows has for PCs. Notice I still used the word “if” in that sentence, so don’t rush off and act rashly. Still, start considering what will become possible, and identifying the foundational building blocks you can start laying to prepare for an Android future. Are you ready for Java development? Have you started using Android yourself?

    Act wisely! Vive le revolution!

    Beyond the Phone: October 2009

    Sunday, November 1st, 2009

    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!