If you’re one of the people who has so far managed to avoid buying a smartphone, you’ll be sad to know you’re the last remnant of a dying species. The vast increase in recent years in the power and utility of mobile technology has been placing increased demands on us all, especially when it comes to the business world. Nowadays, it is considered a major offense to be unable to answer emails immediately in some companies, and you’ll be hard pushed to find people in some industries who aren’t permanently glued either to a phone or a tablet.
Chances are that if you don’t have a smartphone you’ll currently be asking yourself “What is a tablet?”, in which case, the upcoming switch from both personal and business computer use entirely into the mobile realm is likely to come as a nasty shock to you. Smartphones and tablets are already sophisticated enough to handle most of the demands placed on a laptop in day-to-day usage, and they’re portable and cheap enough to be an extremely attractive alternative to many businesses. Their ability to freely access the internet by 3G and 4G also makes them perfectly suited to business use on the go, and with the support of cloud computing architecture, it is possible to carry out literally any computing task remotely from a tablet without the need for any go-betweens.
Although this may appear to be the hysterical raving of a madman, the final piece of technology which will make the complete dependence on mobile technology over conventional computing possible is already in the final development stages before mass consumer availability. ‘Software defined networking’ (which is exactly what it sounds like) removes the need to rely on physical network architecture almost entirely, meaning that a tablet or smartphone can effectively work in precisely the same way that a traditional Network Computer would have worked. For those of you wondering what a network computer (or “NC”) is, if you’re reading this at work, the chances are you’re using one – it’s a terminal with a small hard-drive that relies on the centralised network architecture of the company’s IT systems for most of its power. The tablet-and-cloud combination is essentially the same thing, but with fewer wires, much less energy and cost wastage, and altogether much less hassle. As long as the internet is working, which it usually is these days.
The mobile revolution is already underway in many less-developed nations where traditional wired computers are less widely deployed, and the west is rapidly moving in the same direction. To avoid getting swept away the flood, it’s probably a good idea to start preparing yourself now. First, get your hands on a basic smartphone in your next upgrade. They’re incredibly easy to use, and will help to prepare you for the next step: Consider upgrading either to a tablet, or purchasing one to run alongside your laptop or desktop. They’re relatively inexpensive, and using an app like LogMeIn to remotely control your older computer from your tablet will provide you with ample preparation for the upcoming need to access your company’s cloud data servers in a similar fashion.
Although none of these things are rocket-science level in their difficulty by a long way, it really will pay to familiarize yourself with the technology now, whether you intend to use for personal or professional purposes, as it will prevent the need for an abrupt and messy transition down the line. This is, fortunately or unfortunately, something that nobody is going to be able to avoid doing, so you might as well get it over with!