Disclosure: Most of the companies mentioned are customers of the author.
Personal technology started with terminals, typewriters, and wired analog phones. Security was a simple matter, mobility was science fiction, and we leased pretty much everything. In other words, everything was a service. From the 1960s to the present, we have tried – largely unsuccessfully – to go back to this simpler time when we didn’t have to be a technician, things just worked, and we could focus more on our business, less on technology and maintaining technology To run.
As the world moved from mainframes to PCs, from wired phones to smartphones and overlaying complexity, we often lost focus on what was important. For example, over 50 years ago, grandparents – who liked to look at us in the back seat while driving – and drunk drivers were our biggest driving problem. Now we fear the death of the person watching a car through a smartphone, not the road.
We are now spending time with our faces buried in screens: big screens, movie screens, small screens – especially now. The COVID-19 event, at which we are only at the beginning, is expected to be with us for at least another year and is already changing priorities. We are more concerned about the people around us; We have to get involved remotely because we work remotely. We don’t travel or go out, so sharing everything we do on social media isn’t that interesting. And we longingly watch films, television and pictures of a world that was once.
It is a world we did not fully experience before the eruption and which we now miss.
I think the recent behavior changes will have a significant impact on future technology. This week I heard John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, and his vision for his company and products. It reminded me very much of what the world was like when IBM dominated, and given IBM’s financial data this week, I think both companies are focusing on a future that we may not be capturing for a few years.
BlackBerry, the packaged and integrated mixed office
Chen realized some time ago that the big problem with both mobile device management and security was that no one had the staff to do it right. No company had a fully mixed offer to deploy remote workers. Most IT experts were buried in multi-layered products that did not work together, could not be automated effectively and were therefore not used sufficiently.
He highlighted several customers who were able to switch from an office model to a home model in just 24 hours using BlackBerry tools, without reducing security or overwhelming a company’s VPNs, as their solution was designed for this type of event.
He introduced KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) as his operating model and emphasized that part of every assignment should also include the care and safety of the employees.
HP and the best home pivot
I also met with HP’s HR Manager Tracy Keogh and she talked about how HP could work quickly from home. This was done by ensuring communication, ensuring employee safety, empowering employees and training management, and realizing that employees now had several unique problems that needed to be resolved. Managers needed training; Employees had to feel part of something; Executives needed accurate information; The customers had to be particularly careful.
Her execution was inspired; They had people in every region. They implemented training programs and programs to help their employees teach their children. They provided entertainment (sometimes with the help of DreamWorks) to their employees and even found opportunities to recruit contractors and hire interns while other companies sent both groups home.
IBM and the return to everything as a service
IBM had its financial report this week and the big news was that pension income was back at 60%. They are returning to the service model that made them the powerhouse they were when I was growing up. You have moved away from a product model and are now more closely aligned to the needs and goals of customers.
The changes have made the company more resilient to market downturns, improved customer loyalty and a stronger focus on doing what the market needs instead of what financial analysts want.
Cisco’s CDA program
I ended the week with a podcast with Cisco about the Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, where the company works closely with governments to understand critical issues before moving on to execution. This program allowed significant parts of Italy to quickly transform into a COVID-19 world, helping politicians to keep in touch, interacting with aging relatives in old people’s homes, and virtually speaking prisoners to their families again.
Not only was this an important example of joint development of solutions, it also reduced fear in the country, protected productivity and enabled the affected areas to reduce the impact of the pandemic while improving the lives of those who received the service benefited.
The common elements
The common elements in these examples are the ideal of everything as a service, the focus on keeping solutions simple, secure and manageable, and a possible return to a time when we could focus more on what is around us going on, and staying safe and secure productive, not just entertaining.
COVID-19 reminded us that while entertainment is attractive, it only pays bills if you produce it. Higher priorities are our security, our ability to earn an income, and the knowledge that those we love and depend on are safe.
I think this means that we will undo the Apple / Google pivot next year and want the information we receive to be truthful again, the technology we use to be transparent and that we will be much stronger focus on security.
Summary: The elements of a new personal device
The elements of the Personal Technology solution therefore include the security and management of packages. The focus is on ensuring that content on a device is trustworthy. They are based on a service model. It will be much more tailored to your personal needs, as Cisco demonstrated with its CDA program. And I think it will likely be 3D printed to meet your individual needs.
I also think this device will be portable, but that’s only because of the need for better real-time monitoring of our health and potentially better protection against symptomatic people. Shrouded in sensors and infrared cameras, AIs that monitor what’s going on around you, and complemented by robots, this future technology won’t be a single device. It is a series of integrated offers that keep you safe, well informed and productive in times of natural disasters.
And of course, employees can work from anywhere they need to be. Communication and the ability to travel virtually will be a key part of the solution, significantly reducing our current travel risks.
Over the next 12 months, the tech industry will find that what we have does not meet the needs of the emerging post-COVID 19 world and that the result will be a massive change in the personal technology we offer. Now we will see which new company, consortium or exciting new company has the vision to take this opportunity first and which company is doing it right.
What do you think the personal technology landscape will look like after COVID-19?