Daddy, it doesn’t work! The challenges of computing everywhere.
I recently heard the exclamation in the headline echoing through my living room. I turned around and saw my two-year-old daughter standing in front of the television, watching a cartoon. “Err, what does not work?” I asked her, and she demonstrated what was not working for her: pinch-to-zoom as a way to return to a list of videos so she could select another one to watch. All right…I confess, I sometimes put my daughter in front of my iPad so she can watch her favorite cartoons (so Dad can do other important things).
Anyway, while I was explaining to her that our TV is not a big iPad and shouldn’t be touched, I discovered that it’s really difficult to explain a toddler exactly why our TV does not offer touch screen and video-on-demand functionality like the iPad does. She didn’t care about my attempt to explain why she could only watch what was being broadcast though; she just wanted me to fix the problem so she could watch her favorite cartoon. Fortunately, Netflix saved the day , but my daughter is not the only one that demands the same functionality regardless of the device she is using…
The way we access information has changed over the few past years. Reports like ComScore’s “2013 UK Digital Future in Focus” already concluded that the PC is no longer the device most used for Internet access, and that there is a shift to a wider variety of devices. If I look at the number of devices I own now and how I use them, I would have to agree with them: I do not have a ‘primary’ device that I use for access anymore.
I typically start my day by checking e-mail on my mobile phone in the morning, will then continue to work on my laptop when I get to office ,and will eventually end up with my tablet on the couch at home. Gartner refers to this trend as “Computing Everywhere” and lists it in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015:
“Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space. Increasingly, it’s the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user. This will continue to raise significant management challenges for IT organizations as they lose control of user endpoint devices. It will also require increased attention to user experience design.”
The biggest challenge presented in this quote is, I believe, the “overall environment will need to adapt” part. Employees like me demand to be able to access core business applications and data using any of the devices we own. The business applications I use most are either not available for mobile devices, or they do not offer a device-optimized UX. This is a big challenge for companies, especially when they have a wide array of disparate applications that have been developed (or are still being developed!) on different platforms and hardware.
I am convinced a solid integration strategy for these core enterprise applications and data is the key to mobile success because, although the requirements of today’s mobile users might change as new user endpoint devices become available (Apple Watch, Microsoft HoloLens, etc.), the need to access core applications and data will still exist–just like my daughter’s need to access her cartoons…
I’ll be talking more about this trend and others over the coming months. And speaking of new user endpoint devices, what device did you use to read this blog entry? Can you also use it to work anywhere you like? Let me know in the comment section below.