Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Musings About Mobile Monday

Yesterday was a long day but, fortunately, it didn’t feel like a case of the Mondays. It wasn’t about what had to be done at the office it was simply being out of the apartment for so long and all for business purposes. A day that began at the office ended at a Mobile Monday Conference in Philadelphia (right next to 30th Street Station at the Cira Centre).

With the exception of running around like a mad man right before leaving the office, testing the limitations of the speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and having my patience tested when I missed the earlier train from Wynnewood by a matter of seconds, it was a great night that offered a lot of insight into the future of mobile in retail. Having recently delved into this space head first with my clothes on last month it really is a fascinating field and one that was interesting to hear multiple perspectives on during this event. It’s always fun to wade around in a pool of ideas.

During the evening it was also nice to simply get out and talk to people whom I may not have had the chance to meet during the usual course of my day. Of course, it was also an opportunity to run into a few people that I normally don’t run into during business hours including a fellow Rotarian whom I have met on a few other occasions at Rotary events along the main line. I guess if you get out and meet enough people you are bound to have some overlap here and there.

While meeting people is a great part of any gathering, the event really is only as good as the subject matter and speakers. The speakers may have seemed a bit dry to some but I found the discussion and audience interaction fascinating and the statistics definitely give you something to think about. Of course, leave it to me to be distracted by the fact that the panel moderator looked a lot like Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson from the television show House).

The idea of mobile in retail was not just something that got me thinking about the current applications and future implications (especially with the recent death null of Blockbuster) but it all got me thinking about how much things have changed in the short span of my own life. What once was advanced to play Oregon Trail on a green screen is not HD and 3D televisions and virtual gaming; what once involved taking an imprint of your charge card at the register is not a simple app that allows you to order ahead of time and pay with your phone.

It really is an amazing transformation that we have gone through in the last 20-30 year. Heck, even over the past 5-10 years. It makes me wonder what could be around the corner; what could be the next big breakthrough in technology. But, I think the main questions to be considered are whether the current technology (mobile retail included) is making our lives better/easier and whether the next step forward will, effectively building on the current innovations, will improve our lives or exacerbate our problems?