Home Phones No More

February 24, 2011

Productivity

phone image | Home Phones No More

I remember a few years ago working with a young sales rep in New York who told me that he didn’t have a home phone. If you needed to reach him just call his cell which was his only phone. I didn’t really get it as everyone, I thought, needed a home phone. A traditional locked down single purpose device with voicemail, call waiting and caller ID.

Times have changed. In just a few short years the cell phone has become the mobile phone, has become the PDA, has become the smartphone, and now considering Apple’s and Google’s improvements in operating systems the phone is so much more. In fact while the phone itself is important the operating systems and available applications are making the difference. My phone now does much more than my laptop. Things are changing fast.

This past week we decided we will do away with our home phone. It gets used less and less and it’s only a phone. We find ourselves communicating differently. Skype at times, social networks, instant messenger, texting, and email have replaced a lot of what was phone calls and in most cases communications that never would have occurred. Communications has to be voice and visual. It has to be instantaneous and reliable.

This got me thinking about the rate of change and specifically about the rate of technology change and the impact on our lives. Not bad considering this has been a pretty difficult economic period with much lower spending. What amazes me more is the nature of the change. There has been a significant amount of change focused on productivity improvements for consumers and businesses. Better integration of both and easier collaboration. This is different than improvements let’s say in a manufacturing facility where the result might be a lower cost to produce a product or a production time improvements.  It used to be businesses would see the improvements first and they would trickle down to consumers later. Today that is not true and we all benefit because of this.

Just think about it. Today any one of us has in our reach (technically, financially, and ubiquitously) the ability to take a high quality photo, save it, and share it as an email, on Facebook within seconds and within minutes of that receive responses and feedback. While we are all getting use to the technology that drives this it’s the result and the benefits of the technology that make the difference. There is more “enabling” technology entering the market today at a pace that is dizzying. My Motorola Droid that I purchased when it came out in December of 2009 now seems old. In the last 3 months new phones from HTC and Apple have made the Motorola seem a little slow and out of step. While I feel a little cheated the significant improvements in technology over a short period of time is fantastic and will drive many other secondary benefits.

Another interesting aspect driving these seamless incremental improvements is the fact that technology that improves how we do work and run our businesses is being introduced through the consumer channel. Just a few years ago this wasn’t the case. A result of this is that typical IT trends and useful life cycles don’t apply. As the consumer market is larger and more emotional in buying companies are more accepting of introducing the latest and greatest as soon as its ready. Hold on for the ride!

About Frank Picarello

Frank is a well-respected leader in providing technology services to small and medium-sized businesses. He is currently COO for TeamLogic IT, Chairperson for CompTIA's Small Business Owner's Group, and a member of CompTIA's Unified Communication Committee.

View all posts by Frank Picarello

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