Despite hot-and-getting-hotter demand within the information and marketing industries for mobile business models, tools, and products, there’s a remarkable lack of clarity about what the term “mobile” actually describes. Anyone with a laptop and wireless connection or data card has had remote-computing access for years. E-content delivery by handheld phone is nothing new. Companies like eBooks.com and Nokia have offered this option, via MobiPocket formats, for five years or more.
So, what’s the game-changer here?
We have to give up on the idea that there’s a difference between being “online” and what we’re experiencing on our mobile devices …. These are no longer phones …. These are computers. Just like that thing on your desk or that laptop you schlep around. . . . Mobile and Online are not separate things. They’re the same thing, we’re just not comfortable with the pace of change.
What everyone is excited about, actually, is the nearly ubiquitous nature of global wireless access via transportable devices — including but not limited to Kindles, iPhones, Andriods, and iPads — and the fact that we have experienced a paradigm shift in users’ commercial expectations and requirements.
My two-year-old isn’t unique in his ability to scroll through iPhone apps, photos, and games. He routinely consumes instructional games and video this way and expects me to be able to read “Frog and Toad” to him on my Kindle. He knows the difference between an iPhone and a BlackBerry but doesn’t know that television was ever not available “on-demand.”
What customers in all business areas increasingly require is customized, immediate information, which often involves transparency about personal information of one sort or another.
Privacy concerns can be raised in many settings, but often they are ultimately trumped and compromised by some pressing need or wish.
When I’m stuck in traffic and am dying to know how to get out, I’m more than game for enabling geolocation.
I can even hope others will drop their privacy screens.
If I’ve been trying to corner this lobbyist or congresswoman for weeks, I want to know immediately when she comes into the Starbucks down the street.
If I’m itching to try that no-reservations restaurant, I want to log in to see the real-time video showing who’s there and what the line looks like.
One may eschew Twitter or Buzz strictly as navel-gazing technologies, but there are very real business utilities that can be derived from them — especially given the newly more diverse options for immediate access via any combination of devices.
If you are still wondering whether all of this stuff is grounded, Brian Solis brings us home with a rundown of the imminently practical business marketing applications for Twitter on his blog, Marketing Moxie. There’s probably at least one new-fangled iteration of an old-school marketing task on the list that you’ll be happy to use.
In the scholarly realm, mobility has transformed certain types of research data collection. It is increasingly possible — and expected — that researchers will poll a much larger and geographically dispersed subject pool to collect real-time data sets.
For example, if I am a pharmaceutical researcher and wish to efficiently gather data from a sample group in a medication trial, I can create an app that will ping individuals in my study group on a timed basis with quick-response questions for them to answer. I can reach a massive group simultaneously, without geographic restriction. I can reduce errors that would otherwise result from recall or revision. I can also be alerted, at headquarters, if one of my group has failed to respond.
Creepy and Orwellian? Of course. But, there’s no hiding under a rock, baby. It’s improbable to imagine that the Pandora’s Box of privacy will close any time soon, especially when small pieces of privacy are so easily traded for information.