From The Editor | February 23, 2011

Mobility Is A Must


By Sarah Howland, Field Technologies magazine

Last month, I attended DistribuTECH 2011 in San Diego. If you’re not familiar, DistribuTECH is a show for the utility industry that is focused on all things Smart Grid. From distribution automation and smart metering to customer-facing applications and cost savings, the show provided a wealth of information any utility would find useful. The keynote, however, provided some information I think companies in any vertical would find beneficial — and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of that with you.

Dan Burrus, technology forecaster and founder of Burrus Research, started the presentation by stating that technology is currently in a period of “great transformation.” According to Burrus, there are two types of change in the technology world — cyclical change and permanent, linear change. This period of great transformation — a permanent, linear change — has been brought about by advancements in mobile technology. Think of this: 85% of mobile phones sold today are smartphones. The smartphone has become the new PC, and there is no going back — you’re not going to see people trading in their smartphones for flip phones. Similarly, in the world of mobile workers, you won’t see companies trade in a mobile solution to revert to paper and pen. The capabilities of mobile technology have created this period of great transformation where everyone is going mobile, and if you haven’t jumped on board yet, you better start taking steps to do so. As Burrus says, “It used to be the big ate the small; now it’s the fast eat the slow.” This great transformation is happening with or without you — don’t get left behind.

Maximize Your Mobility Investment — Don’t Leave Features Unused
And for those of you who have already invested in a mobile solution, the work doesn’t stop there. As more and more companies adopt mobile solutions, you must have a plan to sustain your competitive advantage. According to Burrus, the simplest way to do this is to make sure you completely understand the solution you’ve invested in so you’re able to use it to its full potential. Many — if not most — mobile solutions are underutilized because companies either don’t understand or don’t know how to use all of the features and functionality of the solution. Burrus used Microsoft Word as an example. Word contains some 4,000 features, but most people use only 10 or so. If you’re investing in a mobile solution, get the most out of your investment — and stay ahead of your competition — by making sure you comprehend all of the functionality of the solution and have a plan for using each feature to make a positive impact on your business.