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Are we unready for the mobile interface?

10 Dec

Someday the phone in your pocket will be less and less of a talking instrument, and more and more of a remote, a news conduit, a personal carbon footprint calculator, a gaming device, a…

You get the point.

But the fact is, many of our organizations are lagging in making much of our communication:

(a) Platform agnostic –a fancy way of saying it should be accessible on a Mac, PC, Windows Media device, Blackberry or iPhone

(b) Interactive –letting our visitors and audiences do something with the information, such as tagging, annotating, commenting, forwarding etc

(c) Portable –moving an applet from a web to a phone for instance.

I brought this up at a meeting recently where the topic of social networks came up. I am not a huge fan of creating one more cooler-than-yours social network, because we are all dealing with social network fatigue and it will only get worse. Making content portable to me is one way to solve it.

If we’re all going to gravitate toward “cloud computing” the mobile device might be the cloud’s best friend.

To get back to the ‘other’ functions of our mobile device, I just met with my good friend and marketing thinker, Steve England, who showed me some mind-blowing mobile applications. Granted, his phone is smarter than mine –I caught him ‘following’ Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki in a coffee shop! Steve’s working with a company that can print a bar code (like the one on the left) that could be scanned with any camera phone.

From an end-user perspective, these bar-codes are not only for consumer products but can act as visual cues that lead a person (like breadcrumbs?) from offline to online seamlessly, bypassing logins, account verification etc.

From a Communicator’s or Marcom manager’s perspective, these codes/icons could be even used on a touch-screen to deploy timely information to a niche opt-in group. On a wider scale, it’s being touted for emergency –and even ‘minor emergency’ alerts .

Right now, it’s probably a challenge for you to even read a PDF I send you on a phone, right? Coming soon, I may be able to reach you, even if you’ve accidentally left your phone at home, via a digital panel on a bus.

Now that would be  truly ‘mobile!’


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