This article takes a look back at the year 1981 when the first laptop computer, the Grid Systems Compass Computer was developed. While the developers of this computer understood the importance of mobility, this laptop did not have wireless, and it was a matter of time until that type of technology would become available to the public. The article then moves back to the present to look at the abundance of mobile Internet devices available to the everyday consumer today. There is even a more recent trend of "the handset as replacement for the PC" (Mathias). These popular and convenient smartphones have a plethora of applications that were once only available on PCs, and the prices are more reasonable than ever. I thought the most interesting part of the article was its focus on mobile device management, which integrates network management to wireless devices used in the field by employees and managers alike. Years ago mobilizing the workforce meant supplying employees with cellphones and a company e-mail address. Today it means providing "employees with mobile access to corporate data"(Neidlinger). Implementing this type of technology in the workplace will virtually minimize "the difference between what can be done in the office and what can be done in the field." According to my research on the subject, this type of application will also improve accuracy of data entry, reduce gaps by "providing real-time mobile access to valuable information," as well as creating a more environmentally friendly workforce by reducing travel, energy costs, and reliance on printed documents. (Neidlinger) So what is stopping this type of business management tool from "aligning mobility with corporate mission in the interest of improving productivity, lowering costs and gaining competitive advantage?" While the technology and the wide-area networks to make this mobile computing work have been developed, this technology will not be available to the public for several years. According to the article, this is due to the poor economic conditions we are currently facing. However, I disagree that the recession is the only element effecting the popularity of this new technology. While these mobile computing tools could definitely improve employee efficiency and facilitate communication between management and other departments, they could also pose a great threat to the managers of the companies implementing them. This is because as the owners of the wireless devices given to the employees, the bosses are held liable for any mishap or accident that could take place while using the device. This could occur when the employee is using the mobile computer on the job or at his home. It also allows employees access to corporate data, important documents that need authorization, entering orders, and the companies financial statements. This opens the possibility of fraud from within the company framework, as well as the chance that company information could leak out to competitors. These are great risks for any manager, and are part of the reason why we are not yet ready for mobile device management. This is important for people deciding whether or not to mobilize their entire labor force. Just like we had to wait for wireless, we too need to wait for the right time to incorporate these devices into daily business practices. I thought this article was very interesting because it shows the development of not only wireless technology, but also of mobile computing. Today mobile computing is second nature to many, and who knows, it may become a requirement for employees in the near future.
Mathias, Craig. "Mobility: Past, Present and Future." Jan 13, 2009. SearchVoIP.
Neidlinger, Yves. "Reasons to Mobilize Your Workforce." Wednesday, December 3, 2008. Mobile Technology Blogspot.