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CIOs must move from 'mobile first' to 'mobile only'

Thor Olavsrud | April 2, 2013
Mobile is top-of-mind for most CIOs today. However, while many IT leaders are focused on enabling existing business processes and operations in a mobile framework, CIOs with an eye to the future are thinking about how mobile can transform the business and enable new use cases.

"Sensor data enters directly into our systems and moves all the way up to the analytics for operational dashboards," says Doug Albrecht, director of information management at the Port of Long Beach. "For example, we receive ship movement data that tracks entry to and exit from the harbor, all integrated with our billing system. The Green Flag Program automatically applies incentive discounts to ships that manage their speed nearing the port, smoothing traffic and mitigating environmental impact. A Green Flag dashboard shows monthly and yearly performance of all carriers calling the Port of Long Beach."

Ships that enter the harbor more slowly emit fewer smog-forming emissions and diesel particulates. In addition to making traffic through the port easier to manage, the port says the program prevents more than 1,000 tons of air pollution a year.

Many Enterprises Stuck on Creating Mobile Veneer

While organizations like the Port of Long Beach are advanced in their use of mobile to transform their business processes, Deloitte's Brinker and Khan say that many organizations are still simply working on incorporating smartphones and tablets with existing operations and processes, rather than capitalizing on the potential of mobile to transform operations and processes.

"In the post-PC era, mobile can't be just a hobby," they say. "It's not noteworthy that your enterprise has great mobile apps; it's noteworthy if you don't. As you move past experimentation, make sure you avoid getting stuck on mobile first. Focus instead on the prospect of reinvention, based on the new realities of Mobile Only (and beyond)."

Four Forces Are Defining the Future of Mobile

Four forces, they say, are currently coming together to define the future of mobile:

Convergence. "Mobile will likely become the anchor to our digital identities, providing a centralized, connected, always-with-us hub for services, information, entertainment and convenience across our personal and professional lives," Brinker and Khan say.

"Impulse computing is moving from luxury to the very fabric of how we interact with the world around us. Mobile is already the new camera, watch, book store, radio, car key, dictionary, textbook, address book, medical health record, sales tool, cash register, daily planner, calculator, customer service agent, thermostat and personal assistant. How long before it also becomes the new doctor, personal historian, retail store, personal manufacturing line (3D printing and replication) and official proof of identity? More compelling than the individual use cases is how they'll converge in a mobile footprint accessible across different devices as our definition evolves from a discrete piece of electronic equipment to a collection of participating nodes," Brinker and Khan say.

Ubiquity. Mobility will soon be embedded in almost everything we interact with, Brinker and Khan say. You will soon be able to sync almost any activity across any device. For instance, in the not-too-distant future, you might begin your day by reading the morning paper in your bathroom mirror, then continue your newspaper experience by listening to a text-to-voice version from your car during your commute, and then finish reading it through the heads-up display from your glasses during the elevator ride to your office.


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