Back in time to what now feels like a long long time ago - 1998 to be exact – I founded Antenna Software , a company focused on enterprise mobility. Antenna continues its mobile enterprise ways, but I’ve since moved to another adventure, founding a startup called Bug Labs. I won’t say anything more just now about the labs, but wireless and mobility play very interesting roles in the things we do there.
In thinking today about mobility, I find myself going back yet again in time – back to 2002. While talking to a Gartner analyst back then, the point was made that in the not-too-distant future the term ‘mobile computing’ would become an anachronism. The two concepts – mobile and computing – would be so intertwined, so synonymous, that we’d cease to use the ‘mobile’ adjective. It was an intriguing idea that I have returned to again and again over the years.
I don’t think the terms have truly converged yet, but I can confidently say we’re close. My iPad sports more horsepower than my desktop did 3 years ago. In fact, I don’t even own a desktop anymore. I’m rarely sitting in one place for more than an hour. All my computing devices are mobile. Now when I say computer, by default its ‘mobile.’
I know it won’t surprise you when I say the merging of mobility (which I loosely define as battery powered computers) with gigahertz CPUs, loads of memory and high speed wireless network access will fundamentally change all our lives. It is an obvious statement. But what might not be so obvious is that most of the coming changes won’t have anything to do with your mobile phone. For evidence, you don’t need to look any further than your own driveway. The fact that cars are not net-connected already is, to me, an enduring mystery. Of all the mass market ‘mobile devices’ in our lives it is the one that could most benefit from getting connected. The advantages to safety, efficiency, productivity and convenience are enormous.
Just think about it for a second and I guarantee you’ll see my point. Ford has jumped on the bandwagon with its Sync product line. The others won’t be far behind. There are equally large opportunities in the aftermarket. In fact, anything that moves could benefit from getting connected. Literally!
Healthcare is another vast playing field in need of exploring. Disease management, drug compliance, wellness, prevention, remote monitoring, telemedicine, etc, they all benefit significantly from high speed, connected computing platforms (notice I didn’t say mobile – it’s implied!). You can expect to see an explosion of activity in this space over the next several years, especially as the Baby Boomers start to retire in earnest.
The point is, by eliminating ‘mobile’ from the equation and just concentrating on the concept of high-speed, net-connected computing power wherever and whenever you need it – point-of-need computing – you’re free to think in new ways.
Ten years from now we’ll look back and wonder how we ever survived without all the ‘smart’ gadgets in our lives. It’s a future that you can help make real by realizing that it’s time to move past ten year old definitions of mobility and recognizing that the era of true anytime, anywhere computing is upon us.