I propose that mobility is just the beginning. Mobility is part of a historic time-space compression shift that is impacting all people and industries. It is important for us to understand the impact this shift will have on each of our companies.
Paul Virilio wrote a great deal about time and speed, and time-space compression. He calls the science of speed dromology, and strategies around time chronostrategy. He proposed that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature. His argument is - that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower. The bottom line, is companies that can see faster, analyze faster, communicate faster, produce faster, decide faster and act faster will have enormous competitive advantages. Mobility is an essential element of all of this.
Time-space compression often occurs as a result of technologies that seem to accelerate speed and reduce distances. These technologies today include the Internet, Skype, mobile communications, SMS, sensors, satellites etc. In transportation they are things like trains, jets, rockets, overnight delivery systems etc. In business, they are ultra-fast market trading systems, globalization, online sales, currency markets, faster production cycles, mobile banking and payments, etc.
All of these components play a role in compressing time and space. I can operate a global business, across all time zones from my Boise, Idaho backyard patio. Speed changes things as Virilio proposed. The very nature of a business or industry is transformed as time-space compression happens.
Is your company researching this topic? Should it be? Virilio suggests that there is a shift toward the emergence and dominance of chronostrategies (time strategies). We can see this reflected in just-in-time manufacturing, overnight shipping, e-Readers, streaming video, mobile marketing, location based services, social networking sites etc. All of these are about time and space compression.
I see chronostrategies as a key focus in the field services space. Companies are constantly seeking ways to improve and optimize their scheduling to be more productive. They are using their knowledge of location to reduce travel times and optimize routing.
The bottom line is the world is changing and so are your industries and markets. Mobility is a supporting technology that will enable your company to compress time and space. The debate should shift from whether mobility has value for your company, to whether your company can transform itself to keep up with the time-space compression that is happening all around it.
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for SMAC, CognizantRead The Future of Work
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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.