Frances West

Mobilizing the Human Experience

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Mobile is the lifeline to the world we live in today. We wake up in the morning and addictively check our devices. Before falling asleep, we cuddle up next to them. When experiencing some uncomfortable moment or loneliness during the day, we find solace in our mobile surrogate.

By 2020, 70 percent of the world will have access to a mobile device for checking email; updating social media accounts; taking “selfies”; reading the news; watching sports and movies; playing games; listening to music; shopping, and much, much more.

Mobile isn’t just a device, it’s “your” device. Customer expectations are shifting from simply having access to information to an insistence for contextually-driven mobile concierges that speed them delightfully to the right action. Devices and apps should be designed to be reflective of our different lifestyles, habits, preferences, and personalities, and also instantly recognize when physical, cognitive or “situational” abilities might change.Group of people standing in the street holding up their mobile devices.

The mobile world is compelling organizations in different industries to rapidly transform their business models to deliver a transparent human experience. After all, mobile might be the primary point of access and customer transaction, and possibly the entire relationship an organization has with customers.

With less time to create mobile apps, thinking about accessibility and usability as early considerations, even in an agile development environment, can have cost and resource benefits later. It’s expected that IT organizations will dedicate at least 25% of their software budget to mobile application development, deployment and management by 2017. Therefore getting it right the first time is paramount, especially as worldwide app downloads are expected to reach 268 billion by the same year.

It is IBM’s goal to equip organizations with accessibility guidance for mobile, web and native iOS and Android application development so designers and developers can automate the testing process in order to strengthen the accessibility of mobile apps before deployment.

Also, accessibility helps us add contextual, human experiences into mobile solutions and move us toward a world where the Internet of Things will proactively offer better insights to the hands or wrists of individuals.

For instance, IBM is leveraging data flowing to and from mobile devices via sensors to provide contextual understanding about a person’s location. University of Massachusetts Boston is creating an accessible campus using IBM Accessibility’s location-based services technology. Students with disabilities will soon be able to navigate through the busy mazes of activity and humanity using their mobile device to get from class to class, to the nearest transportation, or to a bathroom or dining hall.

For the world’s aging population, as abilities deteriorate, reliance on mobile may become the best connection to the world – to securely access a bank account, communicate with a doctor, schedule food delivery, turn on the television or adjust the temperature in the house. In Japan, where the aging population is 25 percent of its total, IBM has been working with Japan Post Group and Apple to leverage mobile as a way to easily connect these seniors with services, healthcare, community and their families.

Finally, mobile devices, combined with cognitive computing, will soon become hubs for the Internet of Things, being able to capture data from sensors and wearable devices and transform the way information is delivered to make more personalized and nuanced decisions about our health and well-being.

We are at the beginning of this journey but know that factors around mobile, accessibility and usability are converging… and fast. By getting out ahead of these concerns, organizations can be better equipped to enhance the human experience so all users can take advantage of their own personal mobile concierge.

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