December 12, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

The Portable Economy

The Portable Economy

“The trouble with the world to say, is plain to see, it’s coffee in a cardboard cup,” according to the John Kander/Fred Ebb song from the Broadway musical “70, Girls, 70.” The song focused on how “everything is hurry-up.” Mobile technology is in part, both the cause and effect of the new wave of hurry-up. It is also portable information–the steam that will power the new economy. Even if you dislike that idea, it would be a good idea to start to prepare for the changing landscape. And yes, texting was just the tip of the iceberg.

At the recent CTIA wireless conference, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said what one year ago would have been blasphemy to the copper lines that cross the nation: “It’s all about mobile.” What was more interesting is he described it as “apps economy.” “Apps” refer to the applications that run on smart phones like the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry, and Google Android. He then laid out the four-step plan to solve the challenges of getting enough high-speed wireless signal to everything that is going to need it in the future.

The important component is that the government and private sector appear to be on the same page, at least at the high level. “To compete in the global marketplace in the information age, U.S. companies of every sort will increasingly need rely on world-class mobile networks,” according to Genachowski.

Many of the people in the audience have grown up in their industry with distrust of the “I’m from Washington and I’m here to help you” mantra. It appears to be different this time. More people in industry and government are finding the portable (or mobile) economy is one of our best bets to leverage our innovative talents and to develop content and services that provide long-term growth and profitability.

The gaming and social media networks that so many belong to have made mobile devices their number one priority. That means giving an equal if not better user experience to mobile users. This will require these changes, most notably the high speed G4 network, to roll out very quickly.

It appears as both Apple and BlackBerry parent Research in Motion (RIM) have reached some agreement to put Adobe Flash right on the chips of future devices. Developing programs for mobile devices will no longer have to be done for each phone – just do it in Flash. That means you can use the developers to make better applications for the phones, not just more versions of the same thing for different devices.

There are already applications to pay for things from some mobile phones. GPS, restaurant guides, communities for just about anything already exist. There is a brave new world out there. You will likely be joining it because it is useful.

New phones reportedly being tested in the U.K. have the video camera and screen on the same side of the phone. This allows people in the deaf/hard of hearing communities to sign during a call. It also allows for other types of conference calls.

Get ready to see more mobile eCommerce applications from well known brick and mortar stores. There will be more content from more sources, and finally, get ready to develop content yourself. No matter what your business is, you will need to develop content that is user friendly for both mobile and office devices.

Yes, it will be harder to get away from the office. But we will also be more connected to our families, sports teams and communities (local and virtual) wherever we go. Yes, it means a faster pace.

To quote that song (from the play that only ran 35 performances), “It’s all become Looney Tunes, sugar packs and plastic spoons and … coffee in a cardboard cup.” The Mandy Patinkin version was good too.

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