I look at the Mac vs. PC commercials, the iPhone vs. Blackberry, laptop vs. netbook and so on and so on and I smile and shake my head. These geeky debates are an equivalent to the music industry debating over CD vs. DVD, when iTunes is on the horizon. This point in computer history where this device I am typing on (previously dis-closed that I use a MacBook Pro predominately), has some importance due to that fact that it is from one company, runs one type of OS and is using a specific company’s app set is coming quickly to an end. The device that will supplant all desktops, laptops, netbooks or what every you use is currently that thing in your pocket, holster or purse that occasional rings, but does so so much more.
Not to get too much into the debate about this from a hardware standpoint, let’s jump right into what will enable this next evolution. It will not be Apple, Microsoft, Open Source or any other name you can think of today. It will be the next Google or Facebook. It will be the company or open source community that delivers full on the promise of ubiquitous computing.
Wikipedia describes Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) as a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.
Also, check out what Marcia Riley says on the matter at – http://www.cc.gatech.edu/classes/cs6751_97_fall/projects/say-cheese/marcia/mfinal.html
and Arun Kumar Tripathi here describe it simply as –
Not just laptops
24-hour access to Computer and Internet Infrastructure
Mobility: “any place/any time”
Personal Human/Computer relationship
Access to quality support
Hmmm, the issue there is what is an ‘everyday object’ that is not just a laptop. I can conceive my toothbrush sending information to my dentist about how many times I brush, how well and also daily data about my teeth health. But, what everyday object will tell me about how well the Help Desk is delivering support services, the trend analysis on my storage utilization or which projects are on time and which are being challenged?
That device is your ‘smartphone’, though we will have to rename it hopefully. Regardless, of what you call it that device you carry around will very quickly be the only device you need to access the various applications and data that you need to both manage your business as well as your life. Really the device is less import than the mobile profile you will create and manage that will move from device to device, please by a biometric method so I do not have to worry about passwords.
Let me make this short. If you are looking at your IT strategy and wondering what balance of desktops to laptops you should be purchasing you need to stop yourself and think about this.
How much of your apps will be in the cloud in 2 years? 3? 5?
How much of your staff will benefit from working remote next year? 3 years? 5?
Are there any data files that your staff creates (including draft mode) that you should not be capturing for shared use?
How much of your data files are easily shared today?
Finally, how much longer do you think your ‘smartphone’ will be the ‘other’ device you use for email and applications?
Think long and hard about your answers to your questions and my recommendation would be to start planning now for when the device becomes less important as the network it runs on increasing more important. Those applications that your are paying 15 to 20% maintenance contracts, will they be ready to be run predominately on mobile devices?
Start asking those questions of those big paycheck ERP and associated key module vendors today.
This slow economy has delayed the speed of this change, but not stopped it. Once we get back on our collective feet, this speed of change will increase exponentially.
Our you and your business ready for the type of change like the Internet caused by the mobility push, but in ½ the time?