By Barnes, Nancy Dupre; Barnes, Frederick
Information Management , Vol. 46, No. 3
While paper recordkeeping has not vanished, it is being edged out by newer, faster, and virtual types of services. As an example, the use of mobile smartphone devices has become ubiquitous. And, while mobile communications were once narrowly defined by a cell phone designed for the singular purpose of telephonic convenience on-the-go, the advent of smartphone technology moved cultural, consumer, and business sensitivities into a new era.
For a growing number of individuals who demand multi-purpose connectivity, the smartphone is an electronic device by which they can snap a photo, shoot (or play) a video clip, listen to the latest pop tune, perform e-commerce transactions, participate in social media, send and receive e-mails, and obtain driving directions via a satellite-based geo-positioning system (GPS).
When performed on an organization-owned smartphone, however, some of these activities transmit data and/or information outside the purview of the organization and its records and information management (RIM) program. Certainly, within the broader information universe, the items constituting the organization's "records" make up a select subset. However, ready or not, the use of smartphones has thrust RIM onto a new playing field, where a radical change in game plan is mandated, but the playbook is still incomplete.
Staying Informed to Mitigate Risks
A business environment in which a single, mobile device provides a range of information management capabilities does allow greater flexibility. However, convenience does not come without risk. Having an open-minded approach to new technology adoption and a sharpened acuity for trend-tracking can provide a measure of preparedness. With appropriate knowledge and forethought, RIM professionals can begin to mitigate risks and overcome inherent obstacles.
This is why it is incumbent upon RIM professionals to recognize and leverage, where appropriate, the constantly changing nature of communications-related services. Especially in a business setting where executives and managers are watching the bottom line, the challenges of keeping pace with emerging trends and technologies can be quite demanding. Nevertheless, RIM professionals benefit themselves and their organizations by staying informed.
This article offers a glance into the future of mobile phone operations, offering insights into two nascent services: biometrics and image recognition. The former is not yet in place on a large scale, but still serves as a harbinger of things to come. The latter is a reminder of how smartphones, outfitted with appropriate mobile applications, can accomplish data-driven objectives, such as improving the search function within the context of a content management system or increasing sales.
In addition, results from a survey by ABI Research will provide a glimpse into mobile phone-related business behaviors, including phone functionalities most often utilized.
Tracking Phone Technology Trends
The nineteenth U.S. president, Rutherford B. Hayes, is often reported to have said this about the original telephone in 1876: "An amazing invention--but who would ever want to use one?" How times (and technologies) have changed in the 125 years since those prescient words were uttered.
With the introduction of wireless telephony for the masses in the last quarter of the previous century, there are now millions of mobile phone users around the globe. In response to that query, many modern-day citizens may assume that, not only does nearly everyone want to use one, almost everyone does.
As shown in the graph to the right from "Mobile Adoption and Sales Forecast, 2010 to 2015 (U.S.)," Forrester Research has predicted that more than 110 million U.S. mobile phone owners will be using smartphones by the end of 2012.
By definition, a smartphone is a mobile phone with an advanced operating system (OS) (i. …