Anthony Keyworth, Orange UK’s Director of Product Marketing, has been gazing into his crystal ball to predict which business-focussed mobile applications could change the ways we work in the next five years.
His top four future developments, published under the heading “The next frontier for mobile business applications”, are:
“Have you stared at your computer screen in confusion when faced with an error message or gazed blankly at the printer manual? Well, here’s where augmented reality holds the potential to come to the rescue. For instance, by scanning the error notice using your mobile, this application will analyse the message then provide a visual step-by-step guide on how to solve the problem.”
Mark Bridge from TheFonecast.com says: Using Augmented Reality for business seems an obvious next step. Google Goggles and Nokia Point & Find can already provide online information to augment whatever you’re looking at via your mobile phone, so creating a business version – perhaps linked to your company intranet – makes good sense. I’m not completely sure about Anthony’s example, though – because I think there’s a chance your computer could be smart enough to diagnose itself in five years' time.
Personal health monitoring
“Businesses across the UK could save up to £13.2 billion by keeping their workforce healthy and happy. A personal health monitoring application could give staff the power to check their own health, ensuring they receive any early warning signs of potential illness. Though this is no replacement for a fully qualified medical professional check-up, it could help employees better manage certain aspects of their health such as blood pressure. The application also holds the potential to ensure the safety of lone workers by reducing their risk of falling ill in isolated situations. By continually monitoring their vital statistics, any health alerts can be immediately transmitted to emergency services and reported to their place of work.”
Mark Bridge says: Although the health monitoring app sounds good, I’m not convinced it’ll get past the company lawyers. However, using it for lone worker protection sounds more likely… as long as it doesn’t need some kind of implant!
Mobile / Office synchronisation
“Cutting carbon emissions and reducing energy costs is a priority for most businesses. However, ensuring that all staff turn off their computers or switch off the lights when they leave work can be difficult to enforce. The synchronisation application will link your mobile device with your office and by determining your location and activity, alter your work environment accordingly. This means that it will be possible to switch on the computer when you are nearby, turn it to standby when you leave, activate the printer, and maybe even boil the kettle when it’s time for tea.”
Mark Bridge says: The idea of mobile & office synchronisation was popularised around ten years ago when the BlackBerry arrived, so we’re already well on the way to this. But it’s not going to be completely straightforward; there’ll need to be additional security to protect against borrowed or stolen phones.
“The days of carrying multiple wallets and personnel documents, especially when travelling for business could soon be over with the advent of personal identification applications. We’re already on our way with the ability to conduct monetary transactions via your mobile; in five years time, we could even be boarding a plane with a mobile passport.”
Mark Bridge says: Our recent conversation with Mary Carol Harris of Visa Europe suggested that the adoption of ‘mobile money’ was still several years away – which makes me think the five-year timeline to a mobile passport is very optimistic. However, there’s definitely a trend towards using mobiles as additional ID rather than as a sole means of identification.