McGuire’s Law is a simple observation that has significant implications for businesses. The law states that the value of any product or service increases with its mobility, where the value of mobility is realized as availability and contextual relevance.
Mobility enables a product to be with you all the time. This dramatic improvement in the availability of most products results in a multiplication of the value of the product.
Mobility technologies are also the first to provide dynamic contextual information. Mobile products can determine their location (for example, using GPS technology), can have sensors to determine the environment or to gauge the health of the product’s user, can communicate with software on the device or across networks to determine what is on the user’s calendar and the user’s relationship to other users, and can work across networks to correlate similar contextual information from other users to, for example, determine what other product users are nearby. Products that are specifically designed to use these types of contextual information can perform in a dramatically more relevant fashion for the product’s user and therefore create tremendous new value.
For example, search engines are valuable, but they are generally only available when you are at your computer. As search engine companies have created mobile interfaces for their products, these search engines have dramatically increased their availability (to all the time that you have a web-enabled cellphone with you). Local search engines go a step further, taking into account the contextual information of where the user is currently located (e.g. using GPS) and providing search results that are dramatically more relevant to the user.
Because of this dramatic value creation, as the cost of adding mobility falls, mobility will be built into virtually every product and service.
The increasing availability of mobile broadband network connectivity and the location independence offered by the Internet and IP point to networked mobility being built into everything that involves information. The increasing availability of very small modules for GPS and other contextual sensors point to contextual mobility being built into every product that can benefit from increased relevance. Just as Gordon Moore’s simple observation pointed to microprocessors being built into all kinds of products, and Bob Metcalfe’s simple observation pointed to the ubiquitous adoption of the Internet, Russ McGuire’s simple observation points to the revolutionary integration of mobility that is upon us.
This blog will observe the evidence of this mobility revolution and will comment on its implications for businesses.
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