Has Everyone Gone Barking Mobile?

Monday 22 November 2010

The answer is yes. Is this a new topic? Well no and yes.

Nowadays when you mention mobile, most people will immediately equate this to mobile phones.

Believe it or not, mobile phones could be found in cars as long as 50 years ago and handheld phones could be used in 1979 when the first publicly accessible cellular network existed. But the technology really took off as we know it today about 25 years ago when Mobile phones the size of a brick appeared, and they became commonly used in cars (without hands-free) shortly afterwards and so started the era of universal mobile telephony.

This, of course, pre-dated email and of course the internet or at least as we know it today. So for a long time, we have enjoyed the ability to make a phone call while on the move (mobile) which personally saved me a lot of time looking for a phone box which hadn’t been vandalised.

PDA’s even pre-date mobiles, they were used by mobile workers (those who were out and about to you and me) who needed to (or just could) capture data while they were out and about which could then be uploaded at the end of the day onto the server for whatever processing was required. So in a sense haven’t we have been mobile for getting on for 30 + years? So what’s changed and why is it even important what mobile is or isn’t?

The reason it matters is this–

If you are a software vendor and you are not mobile ’enabled’ for all but a few specialist applications, you will be DEAD. Business applications have been sliding towards thin client web-enabled mode for years, i.e. you don’t need a client machine to run these applications just a thin client device. Personal applications (and dare I say it MS Office) are going the same way so don’t be dumb, be mobile in everything you do.

The ‘Net’, inter or intra has in effect given everybody the ability to be mobile and continues to define what mobile is; and if enough people think it’s a good idea (and we are way beyond that) then that’s what will happen.

There are massive philosophical issues here. Why talk when all you have to do is txt? Personally, I am not sure about that but that’s me. Why go in the office where you can interact with your team when all you have to be is, online. Anyway, back to the point. So what does mobile actually mean because there are many types of ‘mobileness’? Telephony, the most ubiquitous was not even the first way of mobile working, as discussed earlier?

Well, try this; The opportunity to interact or operate socially and/or professionally without being location dependent.

If this is a fair description then this has to be applied to applications to see if they pass the acid test. BUT, is even this a true definition? Any idiot can move around with their laptop in any location and as long as there is wireless, are they therefore not living in truly mobile world?

Well in a sense they aren’t because at the end of the day their ‘client’ (i.e. their laptop) is only superficially mobile (i.e. you can carry it); most of the installed software is stuck in one place on their laptop which needs to be with them. I would suggest being truly mobile, a person must use an application that can operate on the ‘thinnest’ client whilst interacting with the cloud in the ‘skinniest’ way to qualify as the gold standard of mobile working … and we all know its better for the planet.

The demise of the desktop is probably a ‘given’; that device which allowed everybody to exist in their own little IT ‘bubble’. and it will be replaced by a mobile IT world where everything is in the ‘cloud’, everything is on demand and everything is mobile. This means of course, applications need to run on whole ’raft’ of mobile devices, phones just happen to be the most common. But, if you are not bothered about talking, just txting, maybe you don’t need one of them either.

So my point is, for the foreseeable future and for most applications, the test of their longevity will be their ‘mobileness’ a new word you heard here, first.

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