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Mobile computing

How mobile computing impacts my daily work life

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Peter Thompson

Last year at the Asigra Conference in Toronto I made a decision to purchase an iPhone and an iPad. I managed for my working career in IT to escape having Internet to my phone and therefore escaping the flashing lights and constant need to respond almost in real time to emails.

But the allure and mystique behind the iPad and iPhone combination attracted me. I didn’t know why. Perhaps it happened when I was sitting in a guest university lecture in Holland when the marketing professor asked a question, “hands up who has an iPhone?” Half of the class responded with a raised arm. He then asked “hands up who hasn’t?” I put up my hand. His response was interestingly “why not?” It really made me think that maybe I had somehow lost touch with where the world is moving. I challenged myself if I was being left behind.

The two new screens of different sizes were attractive, brightly lit and seemed to work without any problems. I hooked them up to my laptop, integrated my iTunes and then began to see what I could do. I wondered whether the iPad was just a book reader and the iPhone a colourful phone. In effect, they are both low powered computers.

12 months later, I understand how the tools can be used to improve my work ability. Whilst the iPad is a fantastic book reader and the iPhone a great phone it’s actually the ability to install local applications and transfer just the data from servers. Its true cloud computing. In some cases, the applications on my mobile devices are more effective than the traditional website versions I am used to accessing from my workstation or laptop through a traditional browser. From time to time the mobile devices and the applications crash just like my computer, but overall it’s been incredibly reliable.

I even tried some extended business trips with only my mobile devices. The iPad was great for quickly showing people a diagram or concept without the whole “firing up the laptop”. For the first time in a long while, I left my computer at home. With wireless capability I could happily perform most of my browsing with complete ease. Both have decent clients for mail, which made reading and basic responding simple enough. I tried to improve my ability to write longer documents and emails by purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad, but the inability to run Microsoft Word and the loss of the real equivalent functionality of the mouse eventually frustrated me.

I am not an Apple fanatic but I have enjoyed using the iPad and iPhone combination. I receive reports mostly from my team in PDF. The ability to import those into iBooks is brilliant and an easy and effective way to catch up on what’s important when I have time.

Mobile computing has bought a new dimension to my ability to work. Its here to stay and its going to get better and better. How is your mobile computing going?

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About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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