What is Mobile? A Definition for Today’s Business World
January 11, 2012 1 Comment
Here is the answer I most often give, to help clarify how you can define “mobile” as well as the world it fits within.
This is the ability to create new content, publish papers or PowerPoints, and build new digital media for others to consume. Traditional production devices are screens, mice, and keyboards all working with components like hard drives and processors, assembled in both desktop and laptop form. Can you turn an iPad into a production device? Sure, add a keyboard and turn your iPad into a screen–though you have the ability to produce content on tablets, without a physical keyboard, that’s not what it’s ideally built for, which is…
This the ability to view content, movies, PowerPoints, etc. which is what tablets were primarily designed to do. Can you write emails on it? Sure you can, but it’s typically not a doctoral thesis. Tablets, and devices with just a screen, are primarily geared around viewing, reading, and watching. What, then, is a mobile device for?
This is the ability to interact with content, people, data, etc. and is done best on a small pocket-sized device you carry around with you. BlackBerry® made email an interactive medium and enhanced it with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Apple followed with iMessage and text messaging even before that and, to this day, remains the #1 way in which people worldwide interact with each other without talking.
Outside of communication though, we are starting to see people interacting in new ways; for example, mobile payments, radio-frequency identification (RFID), and accelerometer-enabled data transactions for information like contact information. Yet this world is not nearly as well explored as production and consumption, so where does the future belong to? Smart homes give us a small preview into this world where you use your phone to interact with everything around you, but where do businesses take this? We’re already seeing an example of this at Starbucks where people are paying with their phones and interacting with the cash register using a bar code generated through Starbuck’s loyalty card program. This, I think, is just the beginning, with close to 10% of the world now using smartphones we will see companies using these personality-rich devices driving more of the end user experience and using the data to get smarter on how consumers think.
Though technology will continue to evolve and devices continue to proliferate, we will see production, consumption, and interaction becoming more advanced (and complimentary) with new interaction methods, like Siri, driving the experience to become more seamless and mature as technology becomes less of an aid and more of a companion. What’s to come is anyone’s guess, but it’s evident that technology is going to continue to surprise–and hopefully enhance–the way we look at mobile.
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