“Mobile First” Is An Obsolete Strategy
I don’t completely agree with Eugene Lederman’s main point in Why We Need an M-government Movement. It’s not because I’m not convinced of the value of mobile technology. I’m already a big fan and often write about mobile tech. I frequently carry a tablet, a smartphone, and a small touchscreen computer with keyboard. I also regularly email web-based articles to my Kindle since the tablet reading experience is more pleasant than the barnacle-encrusted webpages I see on the regular web.
Thinking beyond mobile
Government agencies need to think through how their services will be used before becoming too dependent on today’s model of mobile computing. Mobile devices are changing rapidly. They are proliferating in size, form, function, and interactive potential. Some are better at conserving energy, some are better as consumption devices than at creation, and some are better at handling secure and reliable connections.
Most important, I think, is that we are poised at the launch of a host of interactive, portable, and wearable services that eventually will blur the lines that separate computers, applications, and the network services that support them. Five years from now the mobile devices we hold in our hands now will look positively primitive. Continued proliferation of communicating devices and media and how they are embedded throughout the physical world (the “internet of things”) could make the very concept of “mobile devices” obsolete.
Why carry increasingly powerful devices if we are constantly walking or driving through a sea of networked sensors that know we’re coming, are ready to present us not just with data but with actions and purchasing options?
Services require connection
The implications for government services are profound. Service delivery will require the citizen to be connected.
Health, financial, educational, environmental, legal, and other services will all require an increasing integration of government and private sector resources that can be connected with at any time and any place via what ever service is available and relevant to the citizen.
Strategy beyond devices
Government “mobile strategy” must evolve beyond a device focus to a user focus. What we refer to as “mobile devices” today are just the tip of the iceberg as we contemplate our movement through an increasingly interconnected world.
“Mobile first” as a strategy is dead. It should be replaced with a “citizen first” strategy that looks beyond device dependence.