Mobility is the most relevant feature for most of the world's Internet and network-attached users. Today we have 4 billion mobile users, and soon more people will access the Internet as a mobile service than as a fixed line service. Mobility is the refinement of communications. It is also one of the most dynamic and innovative domains in communications services and products.
We'll discuss news, research and bring the business user experience perspective to the dialog on mobile Unified Communications (mobile UC).
Dan Frommer at Business Insider wrote a scathing attack article on the BlackBerry Playbook citing only a few proof points as evidence - a troubled third party development environment and a weak user experience. Although these two are THE critical elements that have to be right.
Dan did point out that there seems to be zero evidence that there is a business tablet market evolving, much to the chagrin of the product trial (or is it lead) balloons from Cisco and Avaya. My research tends to agree with the idea that the tablet is a real personal device and although it may be purchased by the company for users, or purchased by users to be reimbursed by the company, it won't be quite the controlled rollout that high prices demanded in the original PC or smartphones of the past decade. These things are so cheap now, it won't matter and the boundaries between corporate-consumer will be software not device limited.
My concern was the need for a BlackBerry to make the PlayBook work. Always building a franchise on top of a franchise on top of a franchise doesn't work. Rocky VI was written to try and appeal to people who hadn't necessarily seen Rocky V... When you assume customers have to have the previous franchise, you are building a business on a smaller foundation (read house of cards). Some of my employers in enterprise communications systems made this mistake and sooner or later, they were selling their stuff only to the existing customers while complaining about weak penetration. It became a cold war since that's what all the other vendors did too and most customers could never afford to replace their big boxes with stuff from the other vendors. Customers were waiting for a complete technology refresh which destroyed the boundaries of the old franchise.
In the same way, RIM needs to focus on building a spectacular platform that will appeal to lots of folks, many of whom won't own a BlackBerry. Rees and Trout's Law of Product Extensions (Law 12 of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! ) shows the fallacy of brand extensions - consuming enormous resources yet producing less than stellar results. In the same way, I would encourage RIM to have the courage to rethink the PlayBook. It's never to late to challenge the engineering and manufacturing team to deliver the product right the first time.
I've been a user of the Apple iPad since August 2010.
Originally, my thought was that I would use the device as a experiment to see how it might affect my productivity and where I could find it helpful and useful. Also, I broke my #1 rule about new technology - never buy the first rev of anything. I bought the first rev of the iPad only six months after its initial release, and before the second release of the product.
Why was this worth an exception to the rule? All the reviews I'd read reflected on software flaws - no printing capability (now available as iOS 4.2), limitations of the common productivity apps - Numbers, Pages, Keynote, to name two - which were all about software. Software can be updated and the missing features delivered in updates, which as history has shown was totally 100% accurate prediction of the future.
Also, it occurred to me, that unlike the original Mac, the iPad's OS is the iPhone's OS and apps and sync software (iTunes) are well understood and entrenched in millions of users experiences and routines. The power of the App Store will only ensure that the iPad software market grows quickly with apps optimized for the larger screen.
Part of the reason I had the rule was because the first rev is always too experimental and too expensive - battery problems need to get fixed, electric doors (on minivans) need some tweeking to work more reliably - and I didn't want to pay extra to be a guinea pig.
Positively. I use my laptop less and use my iPhone less too. The iPhone is now just a phone, while the iPad has taken on most if not all of the non-phone functions that I used to rely on the iPhone for - calculator, music player during treadmill exercising, note taker, appointment calendar, minlet complement. Probably the most useful to me is the level of synchronization across my iPad, iPhone and Mac assures that no contact is lost, no email unread and no appointment is missed.
As well, my handwritten notebook, a moleskin (about $10 at Barnes and Nobles) is barely used anymore.
I read this article and chuckled to myself as I saw the data versus voice curve in this graphic. No doubt there is a great deal of truth to this statement that data applications traffic (web, movies, email, widgets) are greatly exceeding the voice application traffic in terms of Terabytes/year. This is not that funny.
What's funny is that myself and other executives in Nortel used exactly the same graphic in 1997-2001 to predict and explain why there was such a great need for more optical network capacity and routers and switches and all manner of computing devices to meet consumers expectations for Internet service.
Of course, the more analytical executives asked about the pink elephant in the room: How do carriers make money when there is so much more data than voice? And then I would ask the question, why is there any voice? Shouldn't every communications service be data?
Of course this was the challenge to the world's regulatory regime which gave us the mechanism to invest billions in a voice-only network of high availability and high reliability, at a relatively low (not at the time though) price. The network providers had to wait for the endpoint, computer, software and users to catch up.
The same curve should bring up the same questions, arguments and concerns. If mobile data will consume 90% of the available spectrum (there is only so much electromagnetic spectrum) later this year, why is it only attracting 10% of the price consumers pay for service?