Discussion: iPass, a major wireless service provider, surveyed mobile-enabled professionals and reported the top five mobile workforce trends for 2010. The results are a bit surprising: the median age of the mobile worker is 46, a whopping 97% of mobile employees carry two or more mobile devices, and 88% are checking their smartphones during downtime. What does this mobile evolution mean for employees? Work is becoming something people do, not a place where people go.
Discuss the advantages and possible pitfalls of this scenario: using a personal smartphone, an off-duty employee responds to an email from a professional client while waiting in the grocery store check-out line.
Is the mobile workplace potentially altering the way employees focus on work?
Discussion: Former airlines exec Martin Symes discusses the launch of Singapore-based Wego, a travel search engine for the price-sensitive Asian traveler. He’s convinced a new generation of computer-literate Southeast Asians offers extraordinary growth potential in the number of people booking travel online. As for starting a small business in “very easy to live in” Singapore, Symes was lured by the highly educated workforce and generous government grants. His cautionary advice for budding entrepreneurs: “It’s going to take longer and cost more than you think.”
Description: The Federal Trade Commission unveiled an online privacy proposal that includes a “do not track” option for consumers on the Internet, similar to the “do not call” list that exists to block telemarketers. The plan would allow the consumer to block their Web-surfing history and thus prevent third-party sites from using online activity to serve up targeted advertisements. Despite “do not track” technologies currently used by Google, Microsoft, and Firefox, the FTC states self-regulation of privacy has not worked adequately and they plan to take action against companies across the line. Many in the industry shudder at the notion of a legislative solution for fear it could stymie innovation.
It’s a good thing not all elected officials are clueless about technology. In an effort to reduce 40 percent of the U.S. government’s current 2,100 data centers, the White House has pledged to embrace flexible cloud computing in favor of traditional in-house tech deployments. The shift from building custom, proprietary IT systems to lighter technologies and shared solutions is cleaner and more cost-effective. And to prove how serious they are about the “cloud,” the White House launched Apps.gov, an online portal for commercial vendors to showcase their cloud-based technologies.
On the cover of its August 2010 issue, Wired magazine declared “The web is dead.” In a recent interview with Business Insider, Wired’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson explains the full title of the article: “The web is dead. Long live the Internet.” Anderson says, “You don’t have to be an ad supported website. If you choose, you can take the app path; you can charge for your content if you want. It’s hard to do in the browser environment; much easier to do if the consumer engagement starts with the app store.”
The European Commission has launched an investigation into Google after other search engines complained that the search giant had abused its dominant position. The investigation will try to determine whether Google’s method of generating unpaid results adversely affects the ranking of other, lesser-known search engines. Google denies the allegations but vowed to work with the Commission to address any concerns. Bill Echikson, Google’s senior communications manager, summed up Google’s main defense argument: “Competition is really one click away.”
The IT Revolution changed the world as we know it, creating a highly competitive, interconnected and globalized environment. But its true success lies in the second phase of the Revolution: the ability of human beings to embrace change, adapt the technology, and optimize productivity. Now that the solutions are primarily in human beings, rather than the tools, HR professionals play a key role in building an IT savvy personnel.
The U.S. market for smart-phone applications has soared past $1.5 billion, thanks to ingenious developers like Ilene Jones, cofounder of IPhone’s Hurricane storm-tracking app and Derek James, creator of paid word and card games for Android. Their advice: Flesh out your plan completely and think local when it comes to hiring a developer, find a niche and go where the app lovers are, think before you price but don’t be afraid to experiment, and develop apps based on games consumers can easily identify.