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Mobile is not Mobility

Craig_Partridge_badge.pngIt seems a simple and somewhat obvious statement I know. But you’d be amazed how often I find people using the word mobile to mean mobility and vice-versa. Clearly they are two different words and therefore there must be two different meanings, right? For example HP’s great new range of Android tablets are not mobility devices – they are mobile devices. So let’s once and for all have a clear distinction between these two words and elevate the mobility conversation beyond mobile. In the absence of anything official I can point to, I thought I’d have a go at creating that definition:


Mobile: “A collection of enabling technologies which deliver computing solutions while ‘on-the-move’, including mobile apps, mobile devices and mobile networks (WiFi / Cellular)”. Clearly this space has seen a lot of innovation, and when you step back you’ll recognize that this innovation has been largely targeted at the consumer / customer experience. Mobile apps accessible from consumer app stores have of course delivered new gaming experiences (who can ignore Angry Birds!) but more fundamentally mobile apps are redefining the way we connect with and consume productivity services, for example Dropbox, Skype, Facebook etc... and therein changed the connectivity and security models that underpin our interactions / transactions. The internet is connecting everything and everyone and mobile is our now our new primary system of engagement.


It is also clear that mobile devices have been aimed at our consumer persona, with smartphones and tablets being the “must-have” tech we all want in our pockets and briefcases.  This innovation in mobile technologies (apps and devices) aimed at our consumer personas has given rise to the phenomenon of “consumerization” as we attempt to bring these compelling new platforms and experiences into the workplace – into the domain of Enterprise IT.


So what then is mobility?


Mobility: “A collection of IT services that enable productivity from anywhere”. Meaning that mobility is concerned with the service that these mobile devices connect to. What would Dropbox be without a cloud storage back-end? What would Facebook be without a collaboration platform to connect the app to? Mobility is focused on the provision of IT services that make us productive – both as consumers and as professionals. We want our Enterprise IT systems to be transformed to be consumable by mobile technologies. Don’t just store data behind corporate firewalls on big storage back-ends; instead, understand that mobile technologies should be able to connect into that storage platform “as a service”.


And here is the key to mobility. Mobility is an eco-system of IT services consumed by both traditional and now, increasingly, new mobile end-points. When we talk to customers about their journey to deliver a mobility transformation this is clearly a conversation about how they move their “systems of record” from an era in which the traditional client/server architecture was the only consumption model to a more complex relationship in which mobile/cloud is a growing demand from our users. So when you think about mobility – think about the entire eco-system. An app or a device that is not “connected” to a mobility service is useless in helping us make decisions quicker or consume data faster. The mobile era is one in which the impact for the enterprise will be felt in the data center as much as it will in our hands. We must deliver IT services that are universally accessible if we wish to compete with the less secure consumer-grade alternatives. If we don’t, we’ll lose the consumerization fight.


Remember – mobile is not mobility!


Learn more about HP Network Consulting for Unified Communications and Mobility and how we can help you meet the consumerization challenge.


Craig Partridge

WW Strategist


To learn more about me and how I can help you create compelling transformation initiatives, visit my HP Technology Experts profile.

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About the Author
Craig Partridge is the WW strategy lead for HP Technology Services Networking group. His role now covers strategy for consulting, profession...

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