Portable devices, there is a change in the air and a picture of tomorrow…

I am going to slip out of my inter-generational knowledge transfer stuff for a day or so and instead talk about the reality of mobility. First off, just because there are campaigns that offer interesting things please do not jump into Indiegogo or Kickstarter if you expect instant gratification. The concept of creation and innovation means you are doing things that are new and unique. That means you are creating something that doesn’t exist. So take a breath before you bid. The average project so far that I have backed (more than 300 overall) is 4 months late. Nothing untoward in that, just that it takes longer sometimes to build a dream.

That said the world of mobility is evolving. Many years ago I started as a traveling consultant. I went to many cities and as I have shared in the past, I would assemble the pieces I needed to arrive where I was going. For a long time, I used a portable GPS and a portable Satellite radio so when I landed and got a rental car, I had directions and my music. I carried a leather pouch that had a stapler, ruler and other office supplies so I never had to worry about finding them. I also carried an external hard drive to back up my computer, USB keys to move information, a network hub so I could share the one Ethernet jack provided at most hotels and a personal media device. That device was originally a RIOs, then a Zune, then an Archos and finally an IPod and now simply an iPad or iPhone. I continue to carry a portable speaker but that is more for musical enjoyment than it is for a requirement. There is something to be said for quality streamed music.

I can honestly say that I had over the course of 200 flights (what I normally flew in the course of 18 months) I collected more than 200 of the tags from TSA. “We opened your bag when we scanned it because of all the electronics in the bag.”

The evolution is that I am down to two devices. Sometimes I carry a third device (Kindle) but for the most part it is just the iPad and the iPhone. What a change that is. My bag doesn’t get opened by TSA anymore, other than them occasionally leaving comment cards about it being time for me to update my wardrobe. Or maybe that’s my wife doing that not the TSA.

The impact of this change is reality of traveling. Where I was lugging a 50-pound suitcase through the airport (I started in the days when wheels went one way, and didn’t last very long frankly.) now you can easily navigate the airport with less wear and tear on you.

I’ve argued for the past three years that cellular devices should not replace digital cameras. They are, and frankly you can tell (the quality of pictures shared is going down not up). That trend will slowly come to a halt. The other side of taking more pictures is once you take more, share more and look at more you start to realize that quality matters. Meanwhile just like that travel world cameras are evolving as well. In fact, the digital world is evolving faster than I suspect the market was ready for. I see pundits arguing about the digital economy all the time now.

So where do things go in the mobility space? What markets are going to change over the next two- years? Glad you asked, here are my thoughts.

1. Digital cameras, now moving more and more to specialties will slowly come back (not as far as they were in the past, but the market will grow) as more and more people take more and more pictures quality of image is going to matter. The 360 camera is the most interesting functionality and when you play with one you will see that cellular 360 cameras are a bad idea. You get motion sick very quickly with a shake 360 view of the world!

2. Portable GPS’s will slowly fade into non-existence. You carry your cellular device anyway, why carry a portable GPS. I know for example that my iPhone locks onto a GPS signal about 10-20 seconds faster than my Delorme portable GPS does.

3. Portable weather gear – the non-connected portable weather market is going to shrink. The connected (plug into or connect via Bluetooth) market is going to explode.

4. Smart watches will slowly but surely become a larger market segment.

5. Add on functionality that makes your office anywhere will continue to expand its market. Portable 360 video conference cameras will grow quickly as they hit the market.


Peeling the onion skin of tomorrow and peaking inside…