The Connected Era, The (Pre) Post-PC World


I wrote a couple weeks back about not reading too much into the current mobile sales numbers. While Mobile devices are out-selling PCs, that doesn’t tell the whole story. People have multiple devices and replace their PCs much less often.

imageThere were a few responses. Dan Antion related his own recent travels without a PC and how we are moving Beyond the Chasm with mobile devices. Ron Miller took a more conciliatory approach that when he said that the term Post-PC was still open to interpretation.

To help illustrate my point, Dan Levin of Box tweeted that on his weekend trip, the 12 humans had 26 devices. I didn’t ask but I suspect that there were no laptops. Of course, going on a weekend trip, why take anything other than mobile devices? Of course, exceeding a 2:1 ratio is pretty impressive, especially consider that kids were in the count.

This anecdote lends itself both sides of the equation. It shows that by simply surpassing PC sales, mobile hasn’t done enough to move into the PC era as there are more mobile devices than people in many households. On the flip side, it clearly shows the proliferation of mobile tech.

Of course, 10 years ago, there may have been zero devices on that trip unless you counted the dumb cell phones. While some mobile devices are replacing the use of PCs, especially for travel, it is also filling a void. People now use a PC AND a mobile device, depending on the situation.

We aren’t in a Post-PC era, though will get there eventually. That doesn’t mean that Mobile support isn’t critical. It is critical because people always want to be connected. That is the key, connectivity. The whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept is really what is defining this era. The devices people started bringing were smart phones and Macs. Now it is tablets.

The shift to mobile is just part of the puzzle.

The PC Puzzle Pieces

PCs aren’t going anywhere as sales are up (more so in Asia-Pacific) and not down. They aren’t growing as fast as mobile devices, but they’ve been around for decades. There are a lot less people buying their first PC than buying their first smart phone or tablet.

To illustrate, here is the percentage breakdown of visitors to AIIM’s website by technology over the past month, which included our conference, a highly mobile event. In parentheses are the changes for those changing by at least 1% during the same time period in 2011.

  1. Internet Explorer, 49%  (-8%)
  2. Firefox, 19% (-3%)
  3. Chrome, 19% (+7%)
  4. Safari, 8% (+3%)
  5. Mozilla Compatible Agent, 2% (-1%)
  6. Android Browser, 1% (+1%)
  7. Opera Mini, <1%
  8. Opera, <1%
  9. IE with Chrome Frame, <1 %
  10. RockMelt, <1%

Our visitors are moving towards Chrome and Safari from Internet Explorer and Firefox, but that isn’t news. Even if you assume that all of the Safari increase is from Apple mobile devices, that isn’t a massive move towards mobile.

Now, this isn’t representative of the entire Internet by any stretch. Given that we are an association that focuses on the Information Professional, we are a technical group as a whole so these numbers aren’t meaningless.

The PC is still clearly leading the way.

Translation?

Simple, we are moving to a world of Bring Your Own Device. That means PCs AND mobile devices. CIOs have to develop flexible infrastructures that work across platforms and form factors. Aaron Levie, Dan Levin’s boss over at Box, talked about this transformation recently at TechCrunch.

Of course Aaron focused upon the mobile device. The Connected Era needs to not focus solely on the mobile device but enable the mobile user to stay connected when they aren’t at their PC. They need to not lose everything when they switch devices. Organizations needs a way to manage their information in order to protect an organization’s assets.

This is a world that I first talked about two years ago:

leverage consumer applications proven to augment existing work processes (parity plus)

specifically targeted to business requirements and opportunities

access with only a browser and an internet connection

no reliance on proprietary systems or technology

development based on open industry standards

built upon a semantic web framework

embraces and enables BYOC model

no operating system dependency

provides web service capabilities

tuned options for mobile devices

no browser dependency

no net cost increase

no desktop footprint

100% cloud ready

It is an exciting world we are entering, just don’t call it Post-PC.

8 thoughts on “The Connected Era, The (Pre) Post-PC World

    • Thanks. It has been two years. The concept of BYOD is clear in the vision laid out, though under the phrase BYOC(omputer). To be fair, the iPad was a month away.

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  1. Hmm. 10 years ago I had a phone upon which I could check my yahoo mail (WML browser) and synchronise with my outlook calendar and even install very basic Java MIDlets (Nokia 6310i). 9.5 years ago I got my first smartphone, with colour screen, HTML browser, camera and the ability to download and install native applications (Nokia 7650). So almost 10 years ago on a weekend away I would indeed take a smartphone with me. What’s taken the rest of you so long to catch up? 🙂

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