Reflecting on 18 months of Enterprise Mobile Connectivity

Since I received a Blackberry (8310 Curve) a replacement to my standard corporate mobile handset. I’ve become an avid user and I consider it an almost indispensable tool for keeping in touch and connected to colleagues and other networks. I have only used a blackberry (this model), so am not in a position to give a comparisons against other MIDs/smartphones.

However, once you get a device with an unlimited data service, you quickly start to take for granted the vast differences in feature set and services these devices possess over ordinary mobile phones.  While the form factor, and interface of the devices are many and varied at the moment they share some common traits which make them so convenient and useful.

  • Size & weight :– made to be handheld and comfortable to carry in a pocket
  • Screen :- though at a premium (due to above), is a key feature and needs to be colour and as large a possible.
  • Interface :- Most blackberries provide a full qwerty keyboard, and combined with the trackball makes these very easy devices to use and navigate. The interface is the most influencing factor for the whole user experience, and a critical area for manufacturers to get right.
  • Connectivity :- I’m envious of those with 3G services – but still do have connectivity to the internet, and therefore public cloud as well as corporate services.  And this is perhaps the driving force behind the increasing adoption of MIDs as the corporate and consumer mobile device of choice
  • Personalisation :- An important feature for the user, a flexible UI to allow user to position key application, a make preferences around ring tones, themes etc.
  • Variety of services :- This where all vendors involved in the internet are on game – lead by Apple with the appstore, there are literally a cornucopia of applications available covering a spectrum of uses and needs.
  • Indistinguishable Endpoint :- This is the clever part, the combination of slick UI’s, applications and connectivity makes the interaction to services as convenient as mainstream desktops and laptops. As these devices mature this will continue to improve. Changing attitudes to how and when we choose to interact with services these devices provide access to.

As a business tool these bring a step change in terms value

  • Connectivity & Availability :- Great for staying in touch and on the ball, but need to careful about impact on your work/life balance!
  • Productivity :- For large enterprise providing access business critical services on mobile devices, brings immense value and returns for keeping business connections and processes moving and flowing.
  • Data portability :- Not that they actually store this locally (though the actually local capacity is increasing at a rapid rate), but more that access point to that data is convenient and handy.

With the advent of virtualisation technologies, and mobile/cloud OS platforms, which help integration with other applications and devices people may have.  These factors will help continue to influence how much we rely on these devices as part of our everyday world.

Andy’s post has a great paragraph capturing some of the change in sentiment and attitude to the types of devices that are influencing how technology impacts on people.

“People want computing power and access wherever they are, in a form factor that fits.”

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