Articles Tagged ‘Mobile’

Why your workforce needs to be mobilised today

Laptop man by Ed Yourdon

Laptop man by Ed Yourdon

I came up onto the District line platform at South Kensington station this morning just as a train pulled in. Normally, I would find my door (the one that opens straight onto the exit at Victoria) and jump in, but this time, whilst minding the gap, I brushed past a man trying to work on his laptop.

Seriously. A man trying to work on his laptop. Whilst stood up. On a busy rush-hour train in central London.

I was astonished at a few things:

  1. the man’s ability to hold a 15″ old-school laptop on a moving train
  2. his lack of forethought in trying to edit a private word document on a very public train
  3. his inability to use something more appropriate

It’s this last thing that really gets to me. At my work, I’m trying to bring my clients to the modern world by freeing their data and mobilising their workforce. This man exemplifies why I’m trying to do these things. It’s simply not feasible to work on the move without a device built for mobility, and no, not even a Macbook Air would have been suitable for this kind of use. A 7 to 10 inch device would have worked, something that isn’t going to endanger the passengers stood next to you if the train brakes suddenly, something that won’t run out of battery before you get into the office. Yet, conversely, something that you can access everything you need at work from your device.

As the PunchCut blog said, “Mobile is not a device, it’s a lifestyle“. Bosses: embrace this. Let your employees use their own phones and tablets to access data. If you don’t let them, they will find a way around it because the busy people of this world simply can’t work the old way any more: there’s just too much to do.

This is the year that businesses should be unleashing their employees. Give them the freedom to work the way they want to (like working from home and flexi time have done) and they will pay dividends, simply by being happier. A happy employee is a productive employee, and when you let that happy employee out of the office, they will tell their friends and be happier still.

So don’t let your employees be the ones stood on the tube holding a laptop, be the ones leaning by the doors, smiling at their iPad.

Dangers of an open mobile OS

A friend of mine recently bought a HTC HD2, the extra large touch screen Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. He loves it, it’s great for movies and the mobile web, thanks to Opera and other apps built in to the Sense UI.

A friend of his gave him a memory card with a load of programs on it. Whilst on the tube, my friend went through the list and selected a few to install, things like extra dictionaries, radios and the like. By the time he had reached his stop, he couldn’t make phone calls directly from the contacts list, and by the time he was at his front door, text in SMS messages was ten times larger than normal.

This is an issue for “open” operating systems, and especially true for constrained mobile OSs that rely on a small number of core classes. These can have fundamental settings overridden by apps which appear quite innocent at first, but have ramifications across the device if programmed improperly. That’s just the start; all sorts of things can go wrong including the potential for malicious apps to quietly access all of your data and e-mail it to anyone it wishes.

OS makers have now learnt their lessons, sandboxing apps and allowing for limited communication between services using registered links and restricted APIs. This ‘closed’ solution hasn’t limited developers as many expected, most have simply found ways around the solution, often coming up with innovative and novel methods, working with the strengths of the device instead of against each other.

My friend has learnt his lesson too. He’s reset the phone to factory settings and is building the application library up one at a time from trusted sources. He’ll know better next time.