Today's mobile technology breakthroughs will become systems, not devices and gadgets. Systems that work will carry us forward and allow consumers, businesses and governments to achieve efficiency and seamlessness.
Systems integration is still on my mind the second day at Mobile World Congress (MWC). This conference is saturated with the big and small companies offering new phones and businesses asking you to adopt their monetization plan or a myriad of other secondary services. Major companies are vying for attention and relevancy.
I am trying to ignore much of it except for one thing: technology, specifically mobile technology, that makes systems work smoothly. We have plenty of examples of systems that don't work well. I gave one in my previous post "Playing Catchup: Are We Even Really Ready for the Current Mobile Tech? In that example I highlight how inefficient technology is when boarding a plane in the United States.
After my failed attempt to go paperless flying to Barcelona I was hesitant to try it at the MWC registration. I wanted to prove the point that we really are at a place in technical evolution where we are device saturated and systems deficient. My lizard brain told me I was crazy. I had flown to a foreign country without a printed registration. Wasn't I asking for trouble? I like to push past and test things.
As my colleague and I approached registration we saw long lines forming but noticed the express check-in area we had been informed would allow us to use our QR codes. We moved into one of the lanes and were quickly directed to one of the desks. The attendant took my passport and my iPhone. Within seconds she had printed our badges and directed us to the exit. The whole process took less than three minutes. It was the fastest by far that I have ever completed a registration at a major conference.
The efficiency I believe comes down to this. Obviously GSMA, the organizers of MWC, had a clear goal in place. They knew that of all places MWC needed to show the attendees and the world that mobile digital registration could be efficient and painless. They put in place a well-trained staff that could guide attendees through a well-designed system. Last every link in the technology chain was in place. The registration communication was easy to read and the process was easy to follow. The devices and hardware on the employee side were fully equipped for the task and the staff was well-trained. In contrast to my early post examples, those designing the registration had the whole experience in mind, not just a single touch point. No one single step along the way broke the system. The customer was rewarded, not abused for using the latest technology.
I'd like to say that everything I have seen at Mobile World Congress reflected the initial smooth system of the registration process. As my fellow tech blogger Sascha Pallenberg pointed out to me, there is no reason that the most modern of conferences should offer archaic wireless broadcast to attendees. Also lunch lines were horribly long due to slow and often faulty credit card machines or the horribly burdened Internet service. Anyone that did not have cash on hand was seen as inconsiderate. Really they were just trying to use a simple technologically advanced form of a transaction. That system is nowhere near being rid of broken links though.
So as we move forward: May we hope for integrated systems in our theaters, airports, doctors offices, and restaurants just to name a few. Systems and devices that not only utilize the amazing technology being showcased at MWC, but also fit together all the other pieces and in the end offer a seamless experience of efficiency and ease.