These are some notes and comments based on the “No Mobility Solution is an Island” talk given by Klaus Seibold from Nokia during Mobile Enterprise 2005. He used the acronym REAL to frame the components of mobile solutions – Roaming, Economical, Ad-hoc, Life improving.
Roaming means not just roaming to different networks and different countries, but different technologies. GPRS, Bluetooth, 802.11. I thought that was a great point. It’ll be hard to get the carriers here in the US to see the value in that, but I think the vision is sound with the stipulation that roaming must be completely transparent to end users. People won’t and shouldn’t have to understand the underlying infrastructure. It should all just work. There was some talking of tying into existing PBX infrastructure. Yawn. I almost tuned out a great point he had about the positioning of mobile applications in the enterprise because it was buried between talk of PBXs and Websphere. He said that mobility isn’t a layer that you spread over a bunch of existing services, you need to build services that reach down and touch all the different nuances of the environment they’re deployed into. Only by respecting and adapting to the existing infrastructure can the mobile solutions create value instead of driving efficiencies. W00t! Nice. Don’t drive efficiencies, create new value. If I had a single point to draw out of all the sessions for everyone doing mobile enterprise solutions, that would be it. I might make that my new mantra. After we disrupt the telcos in the US maybe. I can only fight three wars at a time, and my plate is already full.
A lot of his presentation was focused on the enterprise, that was the theme of the conference after all. He spoke in particular about becoming the standard solution for enterprise email. Saying that the key was offering choice, one size doesn’t fit all. Multiple technologies, multiple client styles, multiple device options. In particular he put up a slide with the series 40 full keyboard models (such as the 6822) and the series 80 communicators (like the 9300). Anyone somewhat familiar with the Nokia line, and listening to his pitch about choice being the key, would say “what about a choice for full keyboard from the series 60 line?” Series 60 devices are the most popular, but there’s no device available with a full keyboard. So of course I went to go pester Klaus after the presentation and find out. He didn’t think it was an important choice though, and pulled out his communicator to illustrate how it was a great form factor. That’s nice and all, but it’s not the device style people out here in the US are exactly snapping up in droves. You wanna be defacto standard for email? How about a device from the standard price range and functionality suited to the task? That’s my free tip for the day.