Benjamin Robbins, an EMF member, is spending the next year working solely from a single mobile device. Each week he shares his thoughts and experience with us on what it means to be mobile-only.
I have spent the last two weeks travelling on business. Last week, at a client in Washington DC working on mobile strategy and this week in Orlando for SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference. My status as a single-device mobile-only worker has really been paying dividends. It has made all the feelings of frustration and slowness that I experienced the first few weeks worthwhile now that I am so fluent in the mobile environment. Because I got over the hump of desktop dependency, my work tasks and process are now a seamless experience as I travel about the country. The captain has turned off the ‘fasten yourself to the desk sign’ and I am now free to move about my work.
Speaking of flying – I can’t say enough about having only a single mobile device on a flight that is just a smartphone. First, the amount of baggage is greatly reduced. I just had my phone in my coat pocket; no fuss no muss. Second, I ended up in the dreaded last row of the airplane not once, but three times. You know the row, the one were the seats don’t recline while the ones in front of you do. The flight was oversold (as usual these days) and I devilishly grinned as my companions had their laptops thrown to their chests when the seat in front of them went flying back (and stayed that way for the duration of the flight). I coolly and calmly continued to type away with zero impact on productivity. I also had plenty of room for the drink and peanuts!
On-site at the client and conference was a breeze. In both instances, I was involved in a lot of discussions in various locations and was constantly moving about. There was no wait for a machine to start up. No concern that I wouldn’t have the data I needed. No concern that I wouldn’t have the productivity apps that I now use. Everything I have in the office I had with me in DC and Orlando. Let me be even more specific. Every capability I have in the office I had with me in my travels. This is phenomenal news for enterprises. The ability for me to be just as effective, if not more, is incredibly valuable and will propel those organizations who fully embrace it to new levels. Imagine a workforce that is work-ready at any single point on the planet. I honestly have felt no disruption in service.
It is interesting though how many people still only look at mobile devices as consumption tools. I definitely get a lot of questions working from a smartphone in public. They think that what I am doing is cool and the way of the future but don’t believe that is it possible for them. I can’t decide if people think that the work they do is so important and magical that it can only be accomplished at their desk using a PC or if working from a smartphone is just too much of a habit/dependency shift. No matter what the hurdle for them, I do enjoy talking with people and hearing their ideas on how mobility is/can improve the way they work. If I can influence just a small fraction of the workforce out there, I’ll be happy to know that other people too can experience the unified freedom to move away from the desk. I believe the benefits I experienced the last couple weeks will drive mobile only to be the norm. What do you think?
Benjamin Robbins is currently a Principal at Palador, a firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobility, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter. Mr. Robbins resides in Seattle and blogs regularly at http://www.remotelymobileblog.com