January 10, 2010
The future for mobile phone companies and telecoms industries lies in leveraging HD-audio and HD-video as the new primary media for knowledge work. The implementation of high-definition voice and high-definition video utilizing mobile broadband and mobile handsets is going to make the mobile phone a useful alternative in contexts that presently require getting together in a meeting room. I believe that voice and video derivatives for many to many communication are going to be the main ingredients of the office suites of tomorrow. The computing power of a modern high-end mobile phone makes it a viable alternative to a laptop as the primary tool of a knowledge worker. A mobile phones is no longer a phone. It’s now a mobile, internet-enabled device that also (occasionally) works as a phone.
There is a change going on at the moment from document centric thinking to communications centric thinking. It is only one of the results of the newer findings derived from the sciences of complexity. Organizations are about complex, wide-area interactions. The scientific modeling of these interactions demonstrates the possibility that efficient local communication between large numbers of people, with each participant responding to others on the basis of her own local goals and organizing principles, can produce coherent patterns on the global, organizational level.
The process of richly connected interaction has the capacity to produce coherence in itself, without organization-level goals and process maps. This suggests that high-quality interaction is sufficient to create coherent actions and development. The approach sees the organization as a process of ongoing organizing and construction of the future with the potential for both continuity and transformation at the same time. More interaction and more divergent and richer local interaction increase the potential for novelty just as repetitive, narrow communication keeps people stuck.
The criticism of mediated interaction has been based on the fact that people communicate with each other not only with words, but through a conversation of gestures: movement, tone of voice and visual representation. This can be achieved through HD-video utilizing mobile devices in a much more efficient and faster manner than through high transaction cost office practices and document-centricity. The knowledge-based organization is a responsive, temporal process of iterations in continuous cycles of interaction. To enable this, IT today should not stand for information technologies but interaction technologies.
All conversations involve more than information; communication is full of feelings. When we communicate we share feelings much more than we share information. With the new HD and mobile approaches to communication these feelings can be as alive in mediated communication as in face-to-face interaction.