The collaborative device most people use more then anything else is the mobile phone. There are more mobile phones in the UK than people. So, everyone is to some extent a mobile worker. But, there’s still a huge demographic variation in the levels of use. There’s a also a big variation in the types of device available – from those designed for fashion victims (in this case Nick was referring to me and my iPhone), to much simpler cheaper devices.
Some predictions about the use and development of mobile phones over the next few years:
- By 2018 80% of all phones will be smart phones. But the support issue we face is that there is no common platform - Android, Symbian, Windows mobile, iPhone – all have a share of the market. This gives us a support issue – do we standardise on the platform and develop numerous applications for it, or support different devices with fewer applications.
- Contextual applications which adapt to your identity, location, events, behaviour, preferences and people nearby are already being developed. These will provide information which is relevant, proactive and very personalised.
- Pico projectors will enable you to project onto any flat surface such as a table or a wall so that you are not reliant on the small screen on the phone.
- Flexible screens, and virtual keyboards will improve the viability of a smart phone being a single portable device.
- Wireless networking and the cellular networks will be much faster and more storage will be on the devices – up to a terabyte.
- The phone will be part of a community of devices which are mesh networked, including office equipment – including waste bins in office for example which can tell when they need to be emptied!
- Gratuitous video will be widespread as a form of presence – streaming a view of your desk for example so that colleagues can see if your there – it could even be mandatory!
- ePaper will exist but still be too expensive for trivial applications
So – lots of exciting things to look forward to, but what should we be doing about these new technologies and developments – especially as many of them come form the consumer space? Gartner suggest taking a ABCDE approach where you evaluate different options:
A – Approve - allow but don’t officially support
B – Block – ban it too dangerous
C – Contained. Approved but limited scope
D - Disregard – the head in the sand option, and the worse one – it’s not going to go away!
E - Embrace and evaluate the potential