My first cell phone was a Nokia 1100. I got it in late 2005, and even then it wasn’t really mine – I had shared minutes with my family and could only use it in emergencies. I still remember when I sent a string of text messages to a friend, handing my father a dime for each text to cover the ten-cent cost. While I had my cell phone, my parents both had pagers at their workplace, my brother had a TI-83 calculator for school, and my sister carried a Palm m100 PDA in her purse, showing me early on that mobile devices was so much more than just mobile phones.
Most people would define mobile as something you carry with you – but we cannot limit our definition to a smartphone. Float has strongly advocated that we should think of people themselves as being mobile. The technology is the enabler.
People want mobile access, and they are making it known. The Consumer Electronics Association showed that 58% of shoppers prefer to view products on a mobile device rather than go into a store when making a purchase. And what if you work in said store? A survey by Upwardly Mobile confirmed that nearly 78% of young professionals (defined as mobile by their tendency to work while on the move) prefer using a smartphone over a laptop. Of these employees, 56% clarified that their usage increased their productivity.
The fascinating part about mobile devices is just how much they have changed. We started with a bulky Motorola that was nearly 23 cm long and weighed four pounds. Somewhere around the late ‘90s to early 2000s, we decided that we wanted our phones to actually be portable, leading to the trend of many consumers sporting tiny, disposable, prepaid Nokia’s trying to outscore each other in a game of Snake. In 2004, the (undeniably sexy) Motorola Razr V3 set the standard for a new, sleek design in the mobile industry. But then, as wireless Internet access became a desirable feature, we reversed the trend entirely, realizing that more screen integrity could lead to information being optimized and organized more intuitively. Enter the world’s first iPhone, which fused Web access, email, and a music player on one device and made smartphones more mainstream and desirable. It was not the first smartphone to use these features, but it was the first that got it right.
Executives lead the way in adopting mobile in their organization, and the unclear distinctions between a phone, tablet, and even “phablets” have given us scores of devices to consider when designing applications for mobile. Employees want mobility and flexibility so much that they are even willing to forego higher salaries. The same research showed that employees with mobile access to company content worked between two or three hours more any day, and this is especially true when the employees can work while away from their desk. Mobile access has turned venues like coffee shops, parks, and restaurants into hubs of productivity.
The CHAMPIONS Starter Kit can provide you with guidelines on how to jump-start mobile in your organization, and evidence among our clients and events like DemoFest shows that mobile has been useful for quite some time now. Mobile doesn’t have to be a cell phone – as our own Steve Richey pointed out, mobile could mean smart glasses. Being able to distribute content evenly and formatting it for mobile devices will ensure a higher chance of employees really being engaged and productive while learning. Don’t just follow the trend, embrace it with open arms – and an SD card slot for expandable storage.
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