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26 March 2007

Mobile consumers

The increasing prevalence of real-time handheld mobile email solutions of the crackberry variety is certainly a well entrenched fact of life in the Beltway and other highly urban areas. The following item highlights interesting factors that impact decision-makers who receive information via such channels, versus more conventional communications methods (the political aspects of the specific situation aside, and frankly entirely irrelevant to our discussion).

Within selected organizations, the use of the crackberry to handle almost all material (at lower handling levels) is legendary. Just as community best practices changed to reflect the differing production requirements embodied in web-based dissemination, so to one would think changes are due in the face of these new changes. However, few shops have given any serious consideration to these issues, in no small part due to the fact that Blackberries and their ilk are “just another email option”.

Ironically, it is the homeland security organizations – particularly those at the state and local level – which are leading the way in changing both products and consumer expectations to embrace the mobile intelligence consumer. They face similar, if not sometimes more severe issues of security, handling, and control; but the lack of structure and technological support which has so plagued them in other areas for once appears to be working in their favour.

It remains to be seen what lessons might be learned from such dynamics elsewhere in the community. There is a serious gap of real and systematic research into the effects of new technologies on consumers, and the solutions intelligence producers are finding to help meet their clients’ needs in this new environment.

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