Today, Cisco announced its intent to acquire PostPath, a provider of email solutions. Interesting news. As parts of the collaboration stack become increasingly commoditized, the lure of moving the functionality up to the cloud and letting someone else take on the day to day responsibility becomes increasingly attractive. Cisco is at the center of this trend with its WebEx brand. Web conferencing has yet to gain widespread adoption in the corporate data center. It's almost as if the market just decided that as cool as web conferencing may be, I don't want to bother with installing servers and running them. Let someone else do that.
Is broad based collaboration the next big app to move to the cloud? Could be. Microsoft thinks so. They have moved quickly and decisively into cloud based collaboration, first with the acquisition of WebEx's chief competitor, PlaceWare (now LiveMeeting), and more recently with their announcement of Microsoft On-line Services. Google thinks so, too. They have been morphing their consumer collaboration offerings like G-Mail and Google Apps into business ready offerings for the last couple of years. IBM, too, with their evolving vision for Project Bluehouse and its focus on enterprise ready social computing in the cloud.
Let me begin by saying that I believe it's time for Information & Knowledge Management (I&KM) professionals to get into the enterprise smartphone debate. After all, the killer application for smartphones is email, calendars, and contacts -- all collaboration apps. And the future of collaboration is pervasive -- anytime, anywhere, any device. Your information workers need them. You should help define the strategy.
So here we go with Part 1 of a multipart blog post on my experience with these two devices.
I recently took a two-week family vacation to Oregon and funky Northern California. Nothing like eating Humboldt Fog cheese on the beach in the Humboldt fog. The four of us camped some and stayed in some lovely B&Bs. As badly as I wanted to be off the grid, I decided that it was best to have a cell phone to take care of essentials.
So it was a prime opportunity to compare a two-year old BlackBerry Pearl against an iPhone 3G to see which one best handled the common collaboration issues that come up on a vacation: email, directions, schedule, contacts, and "rapid research." Oh yeah, both devices use AT&T's network.
I have some particular attitudes towards my cell phone.
First, it has to fit into my pocket.
Second, I don't suffer lousy interfaces; if it doesn't work the first time, I usually give up.