by admin on May 13, 2006 09:59am

Information Accessibility – Why do we need our data everywhere?

An the old Chinese proverb goes “May you live in interesting times”. Yes, we are truly blessed to live in such interesting times as these. You may ask yourself why? That can be for several reasons. The past twenty to thirty years has fundamentally changed the way we treat information as compared to before. We have witnesses a commoditization of information since the accelerated growth of Information Technology sector began in the late seventies. We have all witnessed a paradigm shift in the value associated with information and its evolution into knowledge. While I am very tempted to walk the readers through the entire cycle, I am sure you’d rather hear about the technological impacts of this change in people’s lives, the foremost of being our attitude towards Information Accessibility.

74% of people in the US own a cell phone or mobile device of some sort. A growing percentage of users within sector have started to diversify from traditional mobile devices (voice-only or data only) to the type that can do both or more. What happens when a growing percentage of people discover that they can access the information they need or want at any time or at any place – they seem want it NOW. This has ignited the phenomenal growth in the mobility ecosystem (hardware, applications, carriers etc.) thus pushing the envelope on not only the innovation but also the boundaries of socio-psychological and socio-cultural norms.

So how does this impact the business of technology: To find out more I spoke w/ Deepak Jhangiani, a senior consultant in the wireless industry on emerging trends in the information accessibility business. Deepak elicited several key areas which are at the forefront of this change. Let’s see what these are:


    • Business Centric Impact: The impact started w/ email accessibility basic communication in a data space. This has further expanded into corporate information access or access to corporate assets i.e. business application, sales force automation, field service automations, - the two leading apps in the business environment. There is also location based services i.e. being able to track where you are and then managing field staff operations based on the technology to maximize localized support. E.g. If you a fleet of 50 claims inspectors – being able to put the right person at the right place at the right time using this technology could save a company millions. Business Managers and Executive agree that information this fluid and readily accessible is highly empowering and allows them to make split second decisions. Why is that you might ask, well – if you’re sitting in a restaurant and you get an escalation or a call, you’re far away from a PC and you need GOOD information to make your decision – THIS is where mobility comes to the rescue
    • End User Impact: A lot of work is being put into the technology of “rendering”. Deepak says that content rendering is a challenge that has to be overcome. Research is focused on figuring out the optimal way of squeezing content can into the mobile device. Mobile search engines are also seeing a lot of explosive growth. Mobile search providers are working overtime building algorithms that have to be optimized for mobile devices. This is an area where tremendous growth is going to take place in the near future
    • Hardware impact: Deepak also mentioned that he believes that we will see more focus on improving customer and end-user experience by building a lightweight application which can be deployed on every device and help access to every application as if its resident on the device itself. From a pure hardware standpoint, the screen size is the constraint, optimizing for the screen and better user experience seems to be the next growth area
    • Future Application Prospects: Voice recognition, text to speech and speech to text technology will greatly improve. We should see the advent use of voice an data and overcoming limitation of content, availability etc by making text available by voice to the user. Voice email is its infancy. Providing access to email using text-to-speech, using email reading tools and using voice recognition to send response back will become more mainstream and more in demand than it is today

All in all, I think we’re looking at a very productive, exciting and interesting time in mobility and “Information Accessibility. I don’t know about you guys but I always though computers were supposed to adapt to us and not the other way round.