It seems like everyone and everything is going mobile, especially in business. Greater mobility in the workforce, however, is radically changing, which presents some issues for the IT people that have to manage mobile devices. IDC started talking about this a couple years ago, and the blogosphere is starting too.
You might be wondering what Dell's view is on this and what we're doing to make mobility better. It's natural to think that we focus on traditional notebook computers, but that is only a small part of the story. Mobility is more about connecting information and people, not any one type of device. When you think about it, we really have two groups to please: the people using computers and mobile devices, and the IT people that have to manage the devices.
When it comes to mobility, we're seeing the power curve radically changing. End users are demanding that their mobile devices be easier to use, more secure, more powerful, always on, and more connected. This includes PCs, phones, PDAs, notebooks, tablets, email devices, RFID and others. IT management is trying to make this happen, while at the same time trying to manage it all and protect the company. So we expanded our thinking and developed a set of core beliefs about mobile computing. These core beliefs shape not only what we offer to end users and IT management today, but also what we are developing in the future.
Seamless Platforms: Expectations and use of devices is fundamentally changing, and are often diverging. Devices and the platforms that support them are going to evolve to meet these changing needs. Email, phones, IM, contacts, blogs, and data need to be interchangeable and accessible irrespective of the platform. This is why Dell is developing, partnering, and working with the ecosystem that makes it easy to manage and use all types of information across all types of devices.
- Always on: Users expect to be wirelessly connected at all times. Technologies that know where you are and how you are connected are revolutionizing mobility. We're simplifying things like unified communications, and adding technologies like RFID and GPS to the ever broadening wireless connectivity to ensure that every device is connected all the time.
- Natural interface: Keyboards are great, but people want other interfaces too. Sometimes that means things like pen devices on tablet computers or touch screens. Or it could mean ultra small computers or even extra wide models. Choice of interface will be critical because it needs to match the user, not have the user match the interface. We're developing some technologies that will surprise you. One example is the Tablet XT which featured capacitive touch technology, a truly addictive capability that users soon expect to be in every panel device, not just their tablet computer.
- Always secure: Users want security to be both transparent and strong. That's why Dell is simplifying security so IT can easily protect the infrastructure, yet still make it easy for users. We already offer tools for physical, identity, and data security, but these will be made even easier for users with things like fingerprint ID, facial identification, and other user-friendly methods.
- Single Identity: Users will demand a single identity for all devices, which means that physical and logical access methods will converge. We're driving ways to simplify how companies manage identities on every device that provides needed security and meets end-user demands. Dell is leading here too in the development of proximity devices and software that makes it easy to manage credentials.
- Choice of devices: No one device is going to be right for every user, so the standard notebook will evolve into a flexible device allowing multiple usage-based operating modes. Each individual needs to work in different ways. Sometimes wirelessly connected, sometimes in power saving mode and sometimes plugged into a stationary environment. The focus is to take one singular powerful computing platform and that can specialize the usage modes for the needs of the users.
- Greener: Today we're delivering devices that are designed to use less power, are manufactured in more eco-friendly ways, and that offer easy ways to offset the carbon footprint. Dell is leading here too, not only in our Energy Smart products and services, but in our policies, procedures, recycling, and company goals.
- Customizable: The old way was for company IT to deliver the same notebook to everyone. The new way is that users want computing devices that meet their needs and reflect how they use them, not to be forced to use only the standard issue. So the old model of total cost of ownership (TCO) will go out the window. Return on investment — and the productivity you get from your workers — will rule.
- Simpler: IT is demanding smarter and simpler solutions to minimize the mundane and help their businesses innovate. So Dell is focusing on not only hardware, but the management layer of new devices too, to minimize the amount of time IT spends on maintenance and free resources for innovation.
- Work/Life Enabler: Perhaps the most interesting change is that computing and communications devices have become tools of life. As such, they will need to fit better with the places they are used. Rather than just making a newer or faster device, we take more time to listen to customers and understand their usage. That way, we're developing solutions that satisfy and delight them.
I'm not asking you to simply take my word for it. In fact, I'm more interested in what you think and what you need. Please share your thoughts here.