Understanding the Mobility Shift From IBM Canada

IBM likes to call our current era in technology “the mobility shift”, a transformative trend from both a business and consumer point of view.

Consider that on a global scale, we’ve reached the inflection point where smartphones and tablets outnumber desktops and laptops/notebooks.

According to an October 18th graph from Silicon Valley Insider, iPad sales have outpaced iPhone sales for six consecutive quarters.

I had an opportunity to sit down with Alon Kronenberg, a Mobile Lead at IBM Canada, so hit the jump if you want to learn something about a few practical uses of the 15-17 senses that mobile devices use to acquire your information.


Kronenberg said that you could use the phone’s camera to take a picture of a pizza and send it back to the pizza store if it was unsatisfactory instead of having to go back in person in order to get a refund or a new pizza delivered, for example. Think about the applications of this in a wide array of customer service fields. Other visual type inputs include augmented reality, QR Codes, panoramas, and more. 


While there are probably more opportunities for semantics on the web from a consumer point of view than on mobile devices due to data sensitivity issues and the Apple location tracking fiasco earlier this year, IBM said that in the enterprise there is a significant opportunity. IBM believes that people are willing to share information if they can something valuable in return. Therefore, IBM is pushing the notion of becoming aware of the mobile device user’s current frame of mind is based on relevant data on their phone and suggesting offers, deals, sending alerts, and other relevant targeted information to help the digitally connected get through days of information overload. Kronenberg was quick to mention that contextual awareness is something that will indeed come with an on/off switch for people that are sensitive to their information being put into context. IBM is suggesting that perhaps contextual awareness will eventually change the digital and mobile advertising space where it’s more about driving customers to an online or offline location rather than for the goal of click-thru revenue.


One example that mobile can use biometrics is in security through fingerprints or facial recognition as Kronenberg and I discussed. However, biometrics can also be used for a variety of other applications such as environmental monitoring. While gauging the temperature outside is nothing new, it will be the ability to monitor various locations in a hyper-connected fashion that will pay dividends for researchers.

Further, IBM argues that the cloud allows for enterprise and personal security matters to be separate. Essentially two different worlds via the same access point to separate our private lives from our personal ones which has always been a challenge on the Internet since the social media revolution.


There are many medical applications that go beyond just record acquiring, gathering and downloading patient information. Doctors, nurses and physicians who have tablets can download images of X-Rays, CAT scans and various other technological medical procedures to more quickly assess patients and reduce waiting times.

Other applications of the 15-17 mobile senses include the mobile wallet and NFC which Kronenberg believes is over-hyped until we reach the day that we can completely replace our wallets. The senses also information about social situations as we’ve seen through popular social apps, physiological measurements such as blood pressure, tone of voice and heart rate, and spatial information like location, orientation, speed and acceleration.

If you consider the possibilities from the latter there are all kinds of applications that are being creatively developed that the mobile senses have allowed smartphones and tablets to accomplish for our personal and working lives.

That’s why this is being labeled as the transformative periods in technology of all time- and it’s not slowing down. If anything, the speed of technological adoption continues to increase at unprecedented levels, according to IBM when considering the history of technology and how many years it took for television, radio and other mediums to become mainstream compared to mobile. 

How will you use the mobility shift to better impact your life and business?