Travelling to London for our PCC conference last week I realized I had forgotten my laptop when I got to the airport. After a panicked moment thinking how I could get it (time to go back home? have someone else drive it to the airport? have it shipped to London?), I realized that for the first time since I’ve been travelling as an analyst I could probably live without it due to the plethora of other technology I had and some careful preparation.
I see more people at conferences (intentionally) leaving their laptops at home in favor of iPads or other tablets. I don’t have an iPad, but can certainly see the appeal now.
My main task for the week was getting through half a dozen document reviews. Luckily I had emailed them to my Kindle, which worked nicely for reading and annotating them (although I had to retype my notes for sending to the author). I had emailed my presentations to myself so I could review them on my iTouch. I did Email triage on the Blackberry or iTouch. And laptop kiosks are now quite common at airport lounges and conferences, so I used those to send longer emails home to the family.
Of course I didn’t have to write documents or presentations – that would have been problematic. But for the tasks I had, the laptop wasn’t really needed.
Information workers are able to do an increasing proportion of their work on devices other than their official work computer. And IT departments are increasingly (sometimes begrudgingly) supporting work on those devices. I think we’re rapidly approaching a tipping point where enough work can be done on these devices that the official work PC is no longer where the majority of work is being done. When that tipping point is reached, many assumptions get called into question, such as who pays for the devices or their plans, official sanction of certain devices, addressing information security more formally, cross-device app development, weighting of mobile capabilities in RFPs, training, culture change (haves vs. have-nots, etiquette, GenY and millennial impact), and more.
Last year I half-jokingly suggested that in the future you might only append those “Sent from my …” signatures when sending from your desktop, as “Sent from my iPad, Blackberry, etc.” will be assumed otherwise. After this week, I am now only 25% joking. When I’m not joking at all, that means we’ve hit the mobile tipping point.