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Dan's Blog: Smartphones Outsmart Us

Is it just me, or is everyone experiencing more use of their smartphones? These "mobile moments" are becoming more frequent in my life, at least. A year ago I hadn't installed my bank's app and did all my banking on my laptop. Now I do all my deposits using my smartphone and find myself checking balances there more and more. A couple of years ago I thought I'd never use Facebook on my smartphone...but I almost never use it on my laptop now. Recently my wife was writing a long email on her smartphone and I asked why she doesn't use the desktop so she can edit more efficiently? Her answer was that the desktop was upstairs.  

I guess that's what the word "mobile" means, after all: able to move. Our mobile phones can be with us all the time. I see more participants in meetings looking at documents, spreadsheets, and websites on their smartphones. They're not just texting. Have you used Uber? It's a completely mobile experience.

Mobile internet access has recently exceeded desktop internet access in the United States. I suspect that's not a trend that is going to reverse, and I'm sure every country on earth is on that same track, albeit at different rates. Now this is referring to both smartphones and tablets, but the growth in smartphone use is well-documented.  

So...what does this mean for a software developer like us? We develop software for the enterprise. Will our users ever expect a smartphone interface to our software? We think so. Marketing, finance, and operations will expect it. Will our clients' customers expect a smartphone interface? You bet!  

To address this, we developed our Cider eCommerce platform last year, which uses a responsive design, allowing users to access it from any device. (See on your mobile device(s) to see how responsive works.) The screen is adjusted to the device to make it easy for the user to navigate, read, and buy things. We all really expect this on any decent website these days.  

But more and more the business software we all use is moving toward mobile. For example, I can now project from my smartphone to the big flat screen in our conference room wirelessly. Really? My first reaction to this was "why would I ever want to do that?" It probably should have been "what took us so long?" We've had mobile phones since the early 1990s, so a little over 20 years for most of us over the age of 35. I remember when my Palm Pilot got combined with a mobile phone (a Palm Treo for me)...I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Now in 2015, there seems to be very little we canNOT do with our smartphones. It's a virtual Swiss Army Knife of communication, news, weather, sports, socializing, direction-finding, and comes with a convenient voice recognition interface that allows me to say "remind me tomorrow to call Mike at 10:00 am" and watch it appear magically on my calendar on my laptop.

I do still have a laptop, after all. I wouldn't want to try to write this blog post on a smartphone. Yet. I'm pretty good with a full-size keyboard, so I prefer it. But if I'm not writing long prose in emails or proposals, I do like the convenience of the smartphone, which can be used while standing in line to board the flight, and in a hundred other situations.

What is the timeframe for this move of business software toward mobile? I think it is shorter than most of us would want to imagine.

Do you agree?


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