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Sunday, 24, 2021 - 11:05am Vancouver Time
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News & Info: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

We planned for this past week to be a very exciting one, with two major announcements by our company. But with the horrible events surrounding the terrorist actions this past week, we decided to put the announcements off for a week and we also gave our staff a lot of free time and reduced duties so they could share time with their family and friends during these troubling times.

A few days have passed, and while I don't feel much like "getting down to business just yet", to do anything else would be like giving into the terrorists and their whims. So with that said,

During September, two major announcments were made by my company. One was about our new software division for mobile products, which you can read about here. The other is about our increased focus on the Mobile Internet.

This ain't a catch phrase for us. I firmly believe that the Mobile Internet and mobile devices will be huge. HUGE. Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft happens to agree with me - the whole crux of Microsoft's .Net strategy is the mobile wireless Internet. I really believe that mobile computing will explode much like how the Internet itself showed unprecedented growth between 1995 and 1999. Was it really that long ago? :-)

The entire company's staff had a major strategy meeting at the end of August to talk about future business and plans, and the keyword during that meeting was mobile. Almost all of the WebMotif team owns a PDA. Wayne, Barry and myself, we own Compaq iPaqs. Jeanette and Mike own Palms, Mike being a very recent addition to the "PDA crowd". We're still working on the other guys and gals, but it seems like they'll go PDA if I buy it for them... maybe. Just maybe.

Personally, my PDA is changing how I manage my life. It also changes how I do business. I can walk into a meeting today looking as if I'm completely unprepared - no paper, no pens, no briefcase, no nada. But after introductions and sipping on my Americano at the table, I casually wip out the iPaq and my folding stowaway keyboard, and I'm ready to take notes. I can show clients web demonstrations via a compact flash enabled VGA converter plugged into a projector, and I can even log onto the Net via 802.11b compact flash cards.

When it comes time to do demonstrations, that's covered as well. I use the rather excellent Conduits Pocket Slides which is a full featured PowerPoint application for the PPC platform (sidenote - Jason Patterson, the head of Conduits, is one helluva nice guy, and really committed to his products. He's an email buddy of mine, and we share two passions - PDAs and quality espresso).

When I take my afternoon strolls to the local cafe, I take my work with me - I have a web editor program for my PPC device, I have Pocket Word, I have my email, and I have the keyboard. I have my schedule and well, I guess you could say I have the proverbial chain around my neck that leads my life, but I don't mind - these products rock.

This product is great because of the mobility. It's going to change our lives, just as the Internet itself did. And we want to be on the forefront of this, as a company. Several things came out of our strategy meeting - a new software products division, and a greater focus on mobility products on the web development side. Prior to our meeting we did have a mobility strategy, but it moved to the top of the plate after the meeting.

Our plans are a 100% port of our WIPS content management system to mobile devices, two ways. This means that with the next version of WIPS, which is in Alpha right now, we'll be giving our clients the ability to create custom channels for mobile devices on the fly with very little effort. Create the content for your standard website, and you also get content formatted and delivered to mobile channels, including AvantGo and HTML 3.2, Pocket IE optimized content. The mobile channels created by WIPS go even further - they allow interactivity with the viewer using delayed form feedback (as well as live forms feedback). This covers the gamut of forms from log ins to discussion board participation and even purchasing via mobile devices.

But that isn't the "two ways" I was talking about. The newest version of WIPS will also have its own mobile gateway, optimized for Pocket Internet Explorer. This means that a WIPS enabled client will be able to manage and maintain their website from their PDA, anywhere! Imagine this scenario: Joe Corporate, the marketing director of Corporates R Us is at a convention for Corporate Types. He's attending the meetings, seeing new products, cutting deals, the works. Joe buys a few products for sale on his site, and signs a marketing deal with a new client. Right from the convention floor, Joe can access his website and issue press releases or bulletins announcing these things. Heck, with the use of a digital camera and capable image editing software for his PDA (Conduit's Pocket Artist is one such app), he can even add the new products to his website's store, right there, right now.

This is exciting stuff, and as far as I know, no one is doing this yet. I can't wait till we launch it. And the name? WIPMobile, of course.

Thanks for reading, and till next time...

-- Mark Prince, Creative Director and resident WebMotif Rant and Raver.

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