Ken Dulaney is a vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research, where his research areas include smartphones, tablet computers, notebook computers, industrial handhelds, wireless communications, mobile software and device management strategies. Mr. Dulaney is also the lead analyst for Intel. He has been recognized by Adweek magazine as one of the top 20 technology industry analysts. In this interview with TCS Global Consulting, Mr. Dulaney offers insights on mobility’s impact on the workplace and the future of mobility. Below are the highlights of the interview.
On Adoption in the Enterprise
One of the biggest impacts of Enterprise Mobility will fall on the organization’s workforce. What are the top challenges that enterprises in the industry face in this regard?
Technology investments generally reduce the need for people because users become more productive, but that may not happen immediately after the adoption of technology. It usually happens later, often after an external event that affects the company’s business, (e.g., a stock market decline), where the company has to take action through measures such as layoffs to reduce its costs and improve its financial position.
Technology is thus only indirectly related to staff reductions whereas productivity is the primary driver. Unfortunately, productivity improvement is often difficult to quantify so those involved with the use of mobile devices must remind themselves that investment in productivity will usually result in more work with fewer people, but that those benefits may not happen sequentially. Ask yourself a question. Thirty years ago, everybody had a secretary; now there is probably one secretary for 30 or 40 people. Because of the adoption of technology in today’s environment, business efficiency is impacted less due to staff reductions during a downturn than it was in the past. Conversely, the adoption of technology provides a platform for rapid recovery when the business climate improves. Enterprise mobility is just another example of technology adoption that will drive productivity improvement.
There is a lot of talk about using the mobile phone for payments. Do you think that will happen?
Mobile payments are not a technology issue, but a policy and market competition issue. Organizations involved with mobile payments continue to fight among themselves for dominance and as a result, they delay the adoption of mobile payment technology.Certainly in Japan and Korea where there is great cooperation among mobile payment players, people make mobile payments every day for things such as parking, but elsewhere the various stakeholders needed to introduce mobile payments have not yet cooperated.
Mobile payments have made an important start in some other countries as well, but the technology probably won’t take off en masse until 2015. However, there are some interesting things happening, especially in the banking industry. For example, if you are a customer of Chase Bank, you can make a deposit by simply taking a picture of the check and sending it to the bank using an application on your mobile device, eliminating the need to visit the bank and deposit the cheque. As more and more consumers realize the benefits of saving time through mobile payments, they will bring more and more pressure to bear upon both oversight authorities and technology providers to cooperate and offer applications and services that address this trend.
View of the Future
Networks, Semi-conductors and Software – the cumulative advancement of these three technologies has resulted in enormous progress in telecommunications. Which of these do you feel will drive the evolution of telecom technology to the next level?
With respect to networks, the emergence of 4G provides increased capacity and speed which in turn, when coupled with the proliferation of smartphones and tablet PCs, will significantly speed the evolution of mobile networks. As this evolution continues, the demand for increased use of graphics and video in mobile applications will spur more highly capable graphics processors and chips sets as users will expect no interruption of data delivery and presentation. The increased sophistication and speed of the new networks will also challenge the way software is created, packaged, and consumed. Software developers now have access to new delivery models for their applications, resulting in a plethora of choices for end users about how best to optimize their computing infrastructure to meet their business requirements.
What does the future hold for mobility? In a recent Gartner article, you mentioned we could see hybrid products and remote controls based on smartphones and tablets.
Devices like audio receivers, cars, and refrigerators, which had fixed functions earlier, are starting to exhibit smartphone capabilities as more and more chips are embedded into these products. Functions such as remote diagnostics and remote keyless start via the Internet are examples of such technology. Another development is the use of smartphones and tablets to remotely control other devices, creating a new class of hybrid devices.
One example of this new class of device is the creation of a robot which utilizes an iPad as its “head” or “intelligence” to control other robotic features such as the movement of a robotic arm or other type of sensor. A company named iRobot builds robots that use an iPad clone running Android software as the control head of the mechanical body of the robot. With higher broadband availability, we are also likely to see broadcast media and Internet media come together in the future. This might mean that all of the radio stations in your car are Internet radio, not broadcast radio. You will be able to receive any broadcast from anywhere in the world, regardless of the station’s location.
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