Mobile Devices: A real life usage example

One of the many buzz words these days is mobility. I suspect some people could care less about mobility. For me, it's critical.

This post attempts to demonstrate how I use mobile technology on a typical work day.

Compared to the masses, my drive to work is extremely short; 1.2 miles. That doesn't mean that I can't be productive on the drive though. I fire up my HTC Fuze Windows Mobile phone and check my appointments for the day. From the phone I can add, remove, and edit my appointments. As soon as I modify a scheduled item, it is updated both on my work and home office computers. This is very valuable to me in that I do not have to worry about keeping different workstations up to date. Another benefit is that someone in the the office can check my schedule and see, in real time, what my day looks like.

When I pull into the office I boot up my netbook (aka tiny laptop) and sync all my files from the desktop to it. I have the capability to do this from anywhere, however, it's much faster when I'm in the office. This helps me keep me extremely mobile in that I do not need to be in the office to access a document that I produce locally.

Most documents, ideas, history, documentation, and ETSZONE culture is kept on our corporate wiki. Our wiki is a secure, dynamic set of webpages that allows for full collaboration of our critical operational data. In order to effectively manage the endless information for our many customers, we have to have that sort of tool. Some companies resort to sending spreadsheets back and forth via email; often naming them with confusing and non standard names; like customer_data_new_version_2009_old.xls. The wiki allows us to keep a search-able database of information, right in our web browsers. Someone can be adding information on one customer's page, while another can be accessing it. Now that's efficiency!

Moving along my day I get ready to visit a customer downtown. On the way I listen to a the weekly podcast of This American Life, downloaded directly on my phone using BeyondPod. Call it business or not, it helps clear my mind and get ready for a working session at the clients. I arrive a little earlier than I am supposed to at the customers. I set up the netbook, quickly realizing that I don't have the wireless key to the office - thus can't access the Internet. Luckily, this sort of information can be referenced on the (you guessed it!) wiki. I open up Pocket Internet Explorer on my phone, find the wireless key, type it into the netbook and start surfing. I read a few emails, delete a few others and reply to a couple. Typically, on mobile devices and laptops one has to worry about keeping multiple devices up to date. Not me. If I delete an email on my phone, it's instantly deleted elsewhere. If I reply to an email from my netbook, a copy is instantly kept on all other interfaces. If I read an email it's marked read everywhere.

“Having a seamless integration between mobile devices and office computers allows me to stay focused on my customers, not wondering where my files are.”

During my meeting with the client a few documents are generated. Some are not necessary to share with the team - like notes. I keep those on the netbook, with the click of a button they are synchronized, over the air, with my desktop at work. The rest I quickly upload to the customer's wiki page.

I get back to the office, I have a 3 PM meeting with one of our web developers, it's 2:55. What do I do? Start on my next task and risk getting interrupted at 3:05? Never. I pull out my phone, open Google Maps and use their new Latitude feature. With Latitude I am able to see his approximate location on a map (based on cell phone towers). I see he's in the vicinity of another client's office. I check his schedule, sure enough, he had an appointment at their office this afternoon. Fine, it must of gone over in time. Though this feature sounds a little creepy, it can come in handy at times. Meeting someone for lunch? No problem, give Google Maps a clear view of the sky and I get my location to the dot. If in 1984 the secret police has control of you, in 2009 it's much worst! The best part is that I can turn off the location services at any point. Take that Mr. Orwell.

Finally, after my productive and technology filled day I go home. Weather is nice today, I think I'll sit by the pool and work on this blog. Oh no! I'm further away from my wireless than I thought. I can't possibly sit here without Internet. Yet another simple fix - I simply tether my phone to my netbook and get Internet through the cellular network.

You might read this and think, what a whacko! And you're most likely right; but if you're one of those road warriors that can't stand the thought of limiting your productivity just because your butt is not in front of your desk -ETSZONE's services are right for you.