Mobile Changes Everything

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 17:00 PM

By Samuel Greengard

I just spent a week with my sons travelling through Southern Utah. We visited three national parks and spent time in Moab. I didn't inform any of my clients or editors that I would be traveling. I wanted to see if it's really possible to put a mobile office to work.

I forwarded calls from my office phone to my mobile phone. I grabbed my iPhone, iPad and a MacBook Pro. I hit the road and used a combination of 3G and 4G cellular, as well as WiFi, to stay in touch.

Remarkably, the entire week passed without a single hiccup or meltdown. Nobody suspected that I was out of the office, and I never felt hamstrung by the technology. Yes, I had to fit work into the early mornings and late nights in order to have uninterrupted time with my kids during the day. And it was stressful at times, but such is the nature of a working vacation.

The point is that I pulled it off. Let's face it, this would have been impossible a few years ago.

I recall using an early Kyocera smartphone that seems like an antique by today's standards. Syncing data to a computer required a cable. It was a terrifying and gut-wrenching process as contact and calendar items duplicated themselves and sometimes vanished into thin air. Transferring databases and application files between devices required the expertise and patience of a bomb squad specialist.

Fast forward to the present. Google Chrome displayed all my open browser tabs from different devices. I was able to create documents on an iPad using Pages, download the document through iCloud and import it into Word on the MacBook Pro.

I did all that while key project management files and other data stayed current via the cloud syncing features built into my programs. And when a client requested specific documents, they were all right there in Dropbox.

Of course, the Holy Grail of mobility is to be able to move a computing state from one device to another, and to start, stop and resume work without even thinking about exchanging files and syncing. We're nearly there. For organizations and individuals who truly understand the technology, the laws of conventional business physics no longer apply.

Mobility has truly arrived.