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Mobile technologies as true business enablers

Divina Paredes | Aug. 26, 2014
Inroads in mobile technologies have left no industry unspared. But only when internal and external users are included in mobility deployments do they become true business enablers, according to IT leaders at a CIO roundtable in Wellington.

Scientists in Western Australia have attached transmitters to more than 320 sharks, including great whites, which monitor their movements up and down the coast. When a tagged shark swims within about a kilometre of a beach, it triggers an alert which is picked up by computer. That computer then instantly turns the shark's signal into a short message on Surf Life Saving Western Australia's (SLSWA) Twitter feed.

The unique project means beach goers can make an informed decision about whether to go in the water knowing a shark is nearby.

The tweet gives the size and breed of the shark, and its approximate location. Think of how many lives this could save or the millions of dollars saved in dealing with a shark victim's treatment and recovery not to mention the emotional trauma. This is just one information transformation example of many.

When we can combine mobile technologies with an information transformation mind-set, then we have a powerful proposition to not just enable the business but to be truly transformative as provided in the twittering sharks example.

In sync: Security awareness and training

Jon Cumming, Department of Corrections: We have made a significant transition in our thinking. We used to closely control all aspects of how staff used their phones. We were risk-averse to the point of trying to completely eliminate any possibility of anything going wrong.

The result was that, whilst safe, we had significantly limited the usefulness of mobile devices by essentially marginalising them as just an email/calendar tool. They were just an extension of our internal network.

We've now moved to an approach that says, 'Actually we'll give you relative freedom on the internet with your mobile phone so that you can make the most of the wealth of applications and services available -- but anything to with corrections or offender data, we'll enforce high levels of control and security on that.'

Providing that freedom for staff has been quite a tough leadership journey - because we so are used to controlling everything.

The result is that staff have both power and responsibility in the way they work. They have a mobile device that empowers them professionally and engages them quite personally. The relationship with offenders changes too as our staff can get out in the field to work with them in the community rather than just saying, 'Come into the office and we'll talk to you' -- and with the mobile staff-safety application they can do that with confidence.

Lukasz Zawilski, Ministry for Primary Industries: We've just had a review of where we have put in our efforts around mobility and security and a good 30 per cent of it went into awareness last year.Your key investment is in your people and their awareness; trusting them and equipping them to do the right things.


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