By Yorgen Edholm, CEO, Accellion
We have witnessed a revolution in the way we as society interact with one another. We can now reach out and find someone immediately, research their personal andprofessional history via social sites, and connect with them through 15 different devices and websites. If we haven’t heard from someone in a few days we fear the worst, because everyone is connected all the time.
The same goes for the office environment – we expect people to be connected 24/7, and don’t quite understand those who choose to shut off the phone on the weekend. Or those that don’t check email the second they wake up, and right before going to bed at night. It’s gotten so bad that there are Digital Detox camps popping up around the country, many of which are based in the Bay Area’s technology hubs. We’re so addicted to connectivity that we’re unable to put the iPhone down unless we’re told to do so, or have someone physically remove it from our grasp for the weekend.
The meaning of the word connectivity has evolved from the act of being joined, into the capability of being in constant contact – you’re not truly connected to others unless its 24/7, through a myriad of technology channels. Mobile phones permanently enacted this shift in connectivity; in the same way that CNN permanently shifted the way we expect to receive our news.
We went from having a certain time of the day when we sat down to consume news, to expecting that we would get to experience real-time images of the news event as it occurs. Mobile devices changed our perception of connectivity, and the reality of how work with one another. We expect people to be available and responsive when we want, not at a predetermined time of the day.
Like all things, there are pros and cons to our newfound connectivity. It can go wrong – accidents because train operators are using their mobile devices instead of paying attention to the job at hand. It is also used for good, as rural doctors connect with experienced surgeons via video, to save the life of a patient. It’s all in how we, as mobile-enabled workers, choose to use these capabilities.
Few people in the technology industry fear of too much connectivity, it’s more often a concern of those who don’t live and breathe for the next product launch. For instance, how many of you have already checked your phone since you’ve been reading this article, to make sure you aren’t missing something in your inbox, or via your social channels?
We live in a connected, mobile-enabled society, and it’s made us faster and more productive. I barely text, which makes me a dinosaur amongst my peers, but I conduct business from around the world on my mobile devices. I don’t let time of day, or distance away from the office, get in my way. This awareness, and technological capability, has made me, and the rest of the workforce, much more efficient with our time and resources.
We need to start looking at mobile phones themselves as productivity tools, instead of looking for the next business productivity suite to be launched. As a nation, we’ve increased productivity by 25% over the past 20 years, due largely to the advance of connected devices. We as technology professionals need to delight in this, and embrace the improvements we’ve created for the world.
As the technology industry creates new mobile products – whether hardware or software – we should be putting productivity at the front of the solution. If our goal, with any business product, isn’t productivity we’re doing a disservice to the form factor of a mobile device. We need to create tools that connect employees to the content they need, that make working on any device, anywhere, as simple as it is when they’re sitting in an office. Technology should be simple and pure for the end user, an extension of what they need to do, and a way to do it faster.
Like all new technology, mobile devices will keep moving forward and will continue to change our lives alongside them. The connectivity that the Internet provides has been put into overdrive by mobile devices. We’re not only connected to one another, but we’re connected to every bit of content we could ever want. And we carry it around in our pocket.
Those in the technology industry have embraced mobility and connectivity; otherwise we wouldn’t be attracted to working in this area of business. And as an industry we need to determine how to hone the connectivity mobile devices provide us, and harness it into positive ways of increasing workplace productivity. By harnessing this productivity, we can each do our part to making society faster, more knowledgeable, and better equipped to improve itself.
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