Evolving for multiple screens (Video)

Here’s a video of a recent talk I gave with my colleague Stew Gleadow in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia at our ThoughtWorks Live event in May.

It looks at strategies for successfully evolving mobile services and applications over time across a range of screens and platforms. We delve into some case studies on an Australian broadcaster’s second-screen application and a cross-platform approach for a major airline.

Beyond Mobile, Part 2: Thriving in the Shattered Future

This article was originally published by InformIT and can be viewed on their site. It is reproduced here with kind permission.

Part 1 of this series examined the explosion of mobile and embedded devices that characterize our future, explored the challenges posed by these changes, and considered a methodology for reliable innovation in this environment and the technology enablers required to support that approach. In part 2, we look at what types of strategies are likely to be effective in this new world.

Visionary Strategies

Once you have a reliable methodology in place for fostering innovation and engaging the market, supported by the technology enablers mentioned in part 1, you are finally ready to start growing and developing visionary strategies to help you capitalize on the emerging world of ambient computing.

The big question becomes, “What should our vision and strategy be?” Unfortunately, there’s no stock answer I can prescribe (though I’ll be happy to help you figure it out), but I do have some pointers toward directions you should be considering.

The growing ubiquity of computing and omnipresent interfaces points to opportunities such as “any customer, anywhere,” and the explosion of profiling data opens up services based on the idea that “we know what you’re about to think.” The key is not what your exact vision is, but how you validate it and course-correct based on that feedback. This in itself is the strategy of rapid product evolution for which part 1 of this article attempted to lay out the foundations.

Continue reading “Beyond Mobile, Part 2: Thriving in the Shattered Future”

Beyond Mobile, Part 1: Surviving the Shattered Future

This article was originally published by InformIT and can be viewed on their site. It is reproduced here with kind permission.

The world is changing, and we all need to prepare for it. The proliferation of mobile devices we are witnessing right now, and the associated challenges related to creating applications that work across those devices, are just the thin end of the wedge of what the future holds. Cisco predicts that by 2020 each of us will own an average of 6.58 connected devices. People are interacting with organizations and services with an ever more diverse set of technologies, they are doing this in a growing number of contexts, and the data being created is growing exponentially. In two-part series, we’ll look at strategies for not just surviving (part 1), but thriving in and capitalizing on the opportunities provided by our hyper-connected future (part 2).

A Shattered Future

If we look closely at the technology trends, of which mobile is just one part, it becomes clear that we are witnessing a shattering of input and output mechanisms. In the past, interactions with computers have been through fairly narrow channels. The vast majority of inputs have historically been via keyboard, and outputs were predominantly through a single fixed screen. That simple past and the strategies we developed to operate in that world are no longer useful guides to the future. We are witnessing an explosion of channels for interacting with computers. Those channels are no longer tightly coupled to each other, and even the concept of “a computer” is being blown away.

Continue reading “Beyond Mobile, Part 1: Surviving the Shattered Future”

Bring your own device … as long as it’s HTML5

As we talk with clients and prospects in the market we’re seeing a steady growth in interest around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This trend to allow employees to bring their own hardware (predominantly mobile phones) is putting new stresses and strains on existing IT infrastructure, operations and development practices. There are many pitfalls to watch out for, but if executed successfully, embracing the consumerization of enterprise IT can pay dividends by re-engaging a jaded work-force, simplifying cumbersome workflows and offering a launchpad to a next generation of more supple, usable and maintainable software.


The wave is inevitable

The days when organizations could mandate a limited set of issued (or supported) devices and provide access to services that were designed more around the constraints of existing IT than the users’ needs are ending abruptly. Organizations that are hesitating to overhaul their approaches are finding that employees are quickly finding ways to circumvent existing procedures and systems. It used to be the case that the software and hardware that enterprises offer their employees tended to be superior to what they encountered at home. With the advent of services like GMail, Dropbox and Skype and of hardware like the iPhone and iPad those days are well and truly behind us. Organizations that don’t respond swiftly to embrace this trend are finding themselves saddled with a disgruntled and unproductive workforce and a growing security attack surface as their employees find work-arounds to shoe-horn their favorite tools into their work lives.

BYOD introduces many challenges – security of services and data is high on the list as is distribution and provisioning along with exposing key systems, like email and calendar, to a range of native applications. However this article is focused on the challenges involved in building or migrating applications to work on a variety of devices and a range of contexts.

Continue reading “Bring your own device … as long as it’s HTML5”