Immediacy of Mobile

Years ago when traveling with my boss and arriving at a new location, we were ushered into a conference room that we were to use during our visit. Three of us walked into the room and then proceeded to wordlessly spend the next 10 minutes getting our electronics out of our various bags, connecting up power bricks and a mouse, crawling under the table to connect to power strips and connecting ethernet cables to the laptops.  As we completed this work and then sat down to fire up the computers, we looked at each other and started laughing about how ridiculous it was to have to do all that work just to connect to email. And yet this was the method of that time as there were no mobile data connections.

Today, anyone can choose to be connected nearly instantly to their data services with live updates on company events, email, stock quotes and any other key indicator needed to run a business. It is just amazing how far we’ve come in the past few years. Smartphones and tablets with nearly instant on and nearly continuous network connections have really changed the game of business, sport and life.

I’m still troubled by locations that are full of people like stadiums where thousands of people are trying to stay connected all at the same time. I’m seeing some stadiums and mobile phone operators solving that problem with additional equipment to offer more connections. It seems that stadium operators could easily offer free wi-fi in the stadium to offload some of the cell load, but many don’t seem to do this. I think that IT professionals operating within organizations and locations where many people are concentrated in a small space should plan for this congestion and try to provide better connectivity in advance.

I just got email from a work colleague who is on vacation. I told him to put down the smartphone and be on vacation.

How about that ‘Find Friends’ app on the Apple IOS platforms where you can see where people are located without having to ask. We can tell were our family or friends are now without even talking to them.

Interesting days.

3 thoughts on “Immediacy of Mobile”

  1. Recently in our partner meeting I explained we won’t undertake any new IT project without at least considering if it can/should have a mobile component. For the people in my company work happens when they are OUT of the office. Therefore, they should have access to any document or application, anywhere, on any device.

    Many interent startups have adopted this philosophy called “mobile first” and It’s one I’m going to adopt for our company. Having the internet in your pocket is a seismic change we’ve yet to see the effects fully of, good and bad.

    1. Philip,

      I agree mobile first is important in this day and age. But I think design for mobile means different things to different people. Recently I was in a vendor briefing who touted to be first vendor in their space to design their web app for mobile first. I sat through the demo. Impressive design. The same HTML 5 webapp rendered on mobile as nicely as it would render on a desktop. Provided the same functionality on mobile as it would on full size monitor. But that is where the mobile experience ended. There was no support for mobile push notifications in the app. No gesture support. No integration with the native mobile OS sharing functions. No GPS integration. In short, even though the application worked impeccably on the mobile devices, it did not exploit all the features a mobile platform has to offer. This was a disappointment for me and other attendees. No doubt the vendor will add these features after listening to their customers, but if a vendor wants to sell a product under the banner of mobile first, they better think through the design before they bring the product to market. Designing for mobile experience doesn’t only mean that the app should work on mobile, but it should also exploit all the features the mobile platform has to offer.


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