by CIO Knowledge Space

i phone, you phone

Jan 19, 20073 mins
Enterprise Architecture

The market niche has been obvious for years: teenagers spend a huge amount of time talking on the phone and listening to music, often at the same time (at least my girls did), so a product that combines the two in a way that teenagers like, can’t miss. Perhaps we just needed to wait until the technology could get enough music and usability features into a small enough package with batteries that would last long enough. There is a long history of precursor products that seem to deliver functionality but just don’t take off until some magical extra ingredient is added.

The partnership between Apple and Cingular is also interesting in the iPhone case. Regarding a related technology, I’ve pondered why integrated messaging products haven’t taken off more in the consumer space. It would seem to me that if a given telecom provider or providers can market land line, cell phone, and ISP services, then they should be able to provide a great consumer service that would integrate them all together in a single voicemail/email service. Much easier perhaps, then to integrate all of that on an enterprise level, as the barrier to entry for a consumer kind of customer is extremely low.

Although I am by far not the first person to mention it, the issue of personal technology expectations of young workers entering the work force, as compared to what companies support and/or allow, is becoming a significant issue. Most people don’t want to carry around multiple phones or PDAs, so management and support of these devices is getting trickier and trickier (not to mention security implications). It looks to me like the depth of the expectation gap between the consumer space and corporate space is beginning to get larger, not smaller, as products emerge.

Regardless of who actually pays for the devices, we are going to have to allow a great deal of personal choice, and figure out how to integrate voice, email, music, and goodness knows what else is coming down the pike. My guess is that support of open standards is the only thing that can save us. My current cell phone/PDA supports IMAP and WiFi; I’m expecting to shortly upgrade our calendar server so that a client on the phone can connect to it directly without synching, just as the IMAP client does.

Only by implementing direct device-to-server connectivity without special desktop synching programs will we be able to support all of these devices. We won’t be able to depend on corporate standards in the long run, as we won’t be able to impose one device manufacturer on everyone, given all of the personal use these devices will get. That’s of course only one aspect of managing all of this, but I suspect an important one to keep in mind.

– Rich Kogut

Rich Kogut is Associate Vice Chancellor and CIO at the University of California, Merced. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of UC Merced.