In many ways, increased mobility and the technology that supports it would appear to be a marketing person’s dream. There’s barely any need to convince people they should give it a try – the concept is easy to understand and people want to use it.
Trouble is, although that’s the message the mobile industry preaches, it isn’t what it gives us. It says it does, but in reality, it usually serves up some half-baked compromise that leaves you with the feeling that this stuff will be good at some point in the future - but unfortunately, not today.
For example, I’m a big fan of Wi-Fi (who isn’t?). It’s great for surfing the web, using email and accessing your work network remotely. BUT, and it’s a big but, it often isn’t available where it would be most useful. Like now, for example, as I sit here on a train writing this blog because I can’t get access to my corporate network to do some real work.
Of course, the irritation factor with Wi-Fi can actually increase when you use it. If you’re lucky enough to find a connection point, more often than not, you then have to mess around completing forms, registering your details and paying for access (at some ridiculous rate for a few hours access that equates to what you pay for a month’s broadband at home) before getting online.
Not a big deal, but hardly the utopian high speed, always connected world that we’re always being promised.
If you go the always-connected route, with something like a Blackberry, the compromise is that you have to put up with limited functionality with no practical way to work on documents or do most of the stuff that you can do at home or in the office. Of course, you’ll have email access - but very little else.
Or you can get a 3G card for your laptop giving you always-on connectivity. But the cost is high, the service is patchy and the real compromise is that the performance is slow, and certainly nowhere near broadband (or Wi-Fi) speeds.
It’s pretty simple: we want high speed, always available connectivity so we can do what we do in the office wherever we are. The most frustrating thing is that the technology exists to provide this - yet the mobile industry is dragging its heals, giving us bits and pieces, but leaving us feeling we are being short-changed and only getting half of what we really want.