So tell me, what is all this talk about mobility, how do I handle it?

This is a question no doubt that we have all pondered at some point in the last year or so.

What is mobility and does this have an effect on my life today?

If you think mobility is just for others, you may want to consider giving this some second thoughts. We are all mobile today with needing our information “on the go” and I can’t think of anyone or any scenario I have found yet that is immune.

Once you step outside your office where your desktop pc is located – you are mobile!

Once you leave your home where the desktop or notebook PC is located – you are mobile!

There is one very simple solution of never leaving your office or your home, but we all can agree this is not a realistic solution. Do you arrive at your office when traveling from home without needing some type of information? You may, but chances are there is some type of information floating around relative to your life that could be in the process of being transmitted or waiting for your approval or confirmation.

All information today is not critical to respond immediately, but having the opportunity to make that choice is what mobility brings to the table and allows us to make better informed and educated decisions and choices.

The most common device which most of us utilize today is the cell phone, but demands are growing beyond the simple voice to voice exchange we have all known and used for years; data exchange is becoming more and more prevalent to fill in the gaps where voice communication leaves off.

For a simple example, take a look at the cell phones we use today, they do not even resemble the units used 5 years ago and now have data capabilities, but the question to ask yourself is to figure out how to take advantage of this new world of text and internet information. Do you really need this technology? At first you may not think so, but give this some additional thought here, how about others who are using mobile technology, attempting to supply information to you?

Sometimes the lack of being open to mobility works a hardship on others or can make their efforts much more time consuming with relying on old methodologies when a simple data technique might save time for everyone all the way around, not to mention the fact that you will benefit with immediate information, so this can be a win-win for everyone involved. Think perhaps about the last time you asked someone to send you a fax. A simple email easily replaces this function and requires no paper.

In addition to the cell phone there are other hardware devices that can also enhance mobility and depending on your lifestyle and what one does for a living, this is also personal choice, as what works for one, may not the ultimate solution for all. Some of us may choose to have more than one avenue and device to supply all the information we require. As an example you may want mobile email capabilities. There are several solutions and today’s cell phones can provide this information easy enough, but let’s say your needs go beyond simple email with needing to supply more than just a quick response.

Perhaps your response relies on accessing additional information you need to reference before creating an answer. That information could be stored in an office somewhere or could be accessed by contacting other individuals by phone, but let’s face it, this is now becoming a time consuming chore and can involve a bit of time in order to put everything together before responding.

First of all, if the information is located in a paper file residing in a file folder in an office, this could mean having to get in your car and drive to the office, or calling an associate to physically locate the file and read the information to you. Now the situation is involving not only your time, but taking time from your associate to assist so we have 2 people involved in the search for information as an example.

Are we mobile at this point? I think “immobile” might be a better term based on the above possible solutions.

Some of the Smart Phones available today are capable of handing some of the information needs, but there is also the opportunity to go beyond the phone and explore the next level up with using a portable PC. We see this every day with coffee shops full of people using their notebooks in sending and receiving information. One thing for sure, these folks have figured out they are “mobile”.

I can agree that being mobile can be a bit frustrating, but we really don’t have a choice per se, as again, as soon as we leave our desktop devices, we are mobile.

Lucky for all of us, the hardware world with PCs is making it easier and more convenient every day for us to be mobile. No longer do we need to be stuck with an “open pizza box” looking notebooks, searching for a table or ledge to be able to use the device to input and receive our information. We no longer are totally dependent on keyboards to interact with our devices!

I can think of over 100 different scenarios where using a keyboard with the typical notebook is just an absolute inconvenience when one is away from their home or office and it can be a big distraction when trying to conduct business, whether you are an account representative trying to capture your client information or an MD who is entering patient information while interacting with another human being. Myself, I don’t relish in the thought of sitting there watching someone else type if I am a client or patient.

So what’s the solution to bring this situation back to a more normal human to human interaction?

Get a tablet! After all, every tablet is a notebook, but all notebooks are not tablets!

Utilizing a tablet is not asking you to give up your “beloved” keyboard, but it is offering alternative methods of getting and receiving data and offers a much better human-to-human interaction scenario. Myself, I just hate having a client sit there and watch me “letter by letter” typing data into a notebook, not to mention they can see exactly what typing skills I do or do not have! I also end up losing that important eye-to-eye contact with a client and I can’t talk about how important this is when making sure I get my information and perceptions done correctly, and sitting there working with a keyboard at the same time is a huge distraction if not a down right annoyance!

Mobility = Tablet PCs

Ok now I have figured out I am mobile, like it or not, so what is this tablet going to do for me. Why does a tablet need to be part of a mobile arsenal?

Tablets offer mobility where no other hardware has gone. The biggest and best feature with tablets is using “inking” capabilities. I write – it types. “Look Mom, no keyboard”.

It also can keep your handwriting in its own format, in other words, it becomes your portable “yellow pad” for taking notes, and I save a few trees at the same time! When I need to find notes I have written down from a meeting I attended 6 months ago, they are all located in one place, on the device and I no longer need to search through stacks of “yellow legal pads” to locate my information, plus I don’t have to find a place to store all the paper pads, and most importantly I am not losing that eye-to-eye contact with a client or patient!! Yes!! (I don’t need a table or ledge and it doesn’t look like an “open pizza box”.

I can download and read books too! This is great as I no longer have to carry around books for my reading material. I can use it to write a book too, insert a microphone and start dictating with speech recognition.

I can do email too and again, I don’t need a keyboard either! I write – it types. I can show a media presentation live to a client and when using a Power Point presentation, I can write on the slides too to make a point or just save it as a note to reference later.

There are many different types, shapes and sizes of tablet PCs on the market today. Whether you are looking for a full size tablet or a UMPC smaller mobile unit, tablets are the way to go for having ultimate mobility! UMPC tablets also come with touch screens used with inking and now some of the full size tablets also feature touch screen availability.

So why in the world do I really need a lot of keyboard functionality when I am mobile? I can move data around with touch screens, use the stylus to add handwritten comments or translate to text and carry it around in a fashion similar to walking around with a clipboard, and enter information while I walk if needed. I have yet to see someone walk and type yet, although I guess it could be done, but what a hassle especially when trying to hold that “open pizza box” notebook in your hands and type at the same time!

Inking works with Cad, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, you name it, any Windows application and so does dictation for that matter.

When thinking about mobility use with information today, be sure to entertain what a Tablet PC can do for you. I think you will be amazed and be able to create your own functionality on how it works best for you. As far as cost, you will pay just about the same for an “open pizza box” notebook by comparison, so why limit yourself.

Microsoft Vista has tablet functionality. This does not mean you have to give up your keyboard, but merely entertain better mobile methodology uses when the demand is there.

There is life beyond the keyboard in the world of mobility today! Be your best at being mobile – get a tablet!

Barbara Ducknet

Ducknet Services


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