Things I Can't Carry: The True Value of a Smartphone
LinkedIn has an interesting theme running with a few posts titled “Things I carry”. Still, the pockets, briefcases, and purses of today hold many of the same classic “contents” of the past. But where are the differences? The answer is simple: the cell phone. We don’t need to marvel at the cellular telephone as though it’s the 8th wonder of the world, but we’ll admit that smartphones are quite amazing nonetheless. They’re so amazing, in fact, that virtually every one of us carries a smartphone to work, to the gym, to the corner store, and even to the restroom. Fact is, these little boxes are windows, windows that gaze into our lives at every possible angle. From social networks to bank accounts, we can peer into our highly interconnected world.
The focus on “Things I Carry” can be juxtaposed with “Things I don’t carry”. We don’t carry our bank accounts in our pocket; we carry a window into our account details and status. We don’t carry our social networks in hand; we carry a lens into our friendship circles and connections. The concrete device interacts with these abstract connections, our precious bank accounts and social networks, and gives us peace of mind about our connectivity and awareness. In short, we have access to important details and information (about our lives) at the touch of an app.
With that in mind, a carried smartphone is a safety net for the things that cannot be carried. Take a server room for example. You cannot carry your server racks to work or to the gym. The things we carry give us peace of mind, but how can we have peace of mind about a server rack that is immobile? How can we gain awareness of the critical information (for a failure or overheating rack for instance) without the server in our briefcase or pocket? If you have any critical piece of infrastructure how is ‘peace of mind’ even possible while the equipment sits alone in an office or warehouse? If it cannot be carried, how can it be monitored?
Herein lies the hidden value of a smartphone and the “Things it carries”. While the smartphone does not enable (or encourage) me to physically carry my server rack in my briefcase, I am able to tap into the information and status reports from the actual source. By carrying my smartphone, in essence, I can remotely “carry” my infrastructure and be alerted to faults, failures, and other issues by means of a notification. Our iPhone and Android applications for Sensor Cloud follow the same theme; by carrying a smartphone application tied to a stationary system, customers can have peace of mind about their mission critical systems. From commercial freezers, to vaccine storage units, to even a home temperature monitor, a carried smartphone brings status updates and critical events that were only historically available on-site.The mobile device (tablet, smartphone, etc) monitors the immobile devices that we consider crucial to our businesses. The age of remote access is truly upon us, and as a result, alert waves and information streams are as efficient as ever.