For 52 weeks, Benjamin Robbins ignored every computing platform except for his smartphone.
His yearlong "Living Mobile" experiment taught him a few things about computing and a few things about life.
Robbins, a mobility expert and co-founder of Palador consulting in Seattle, will tell his story in July at the 4th Annual Cloud Identity Summit in Napa, Calif. (Hint: Keyboards and monitors still matter).
"I was always connected and I always had access," he said. "I always had the same capabilities, the same content, no matter where I was." Robbins had a virtual machine and a VPN when he needed a little extra security for his work.
He said some phrases "largely disappeared from my lexicon" such as "When I get back to the office, I'll send you X," or "Later from the hotel, I can get you Y."
But it wasn't all cell towers and bliss.
He learned you can't engineer your way around ergonomics. That anytime/anywhere has a cost, that mobility is not the one in control, and that ditching the phone for human interaction is a must.
He faced challenges at the beginning of his mobile-only year, which he kicked off in March 2012 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (The same place it ended). He found a lot of users who were not on a cloud-based file sharing system. "A lot of people did not have the same capabilities or were not working on the Web," he said.
Robbins, however, found that the pace of evolution around mobile applications and services have largely erased those compatibility issues.
Not surprisingly, he did find security concerns. He thought about how he could protect information so he knew it was getting in the right hands at the right time.
"You don't want to jump through hoops or have to be on the corporate network," he said.
He also discovered screen real estate matters and that there is a direct link between screen size and productivity. Robbins says that fact is born out as more mobile workers opt for tablets.
And it took time for him to re-wire his brain and become a mobile worker rather than one tied to a PC.
In his 52nd and final weekly blog entry on his mobile experiment, Robbins wrote:
"I may have struggled with devices, apps, and operating systems. But it is connecting with people that really categorized mobile-only as a success in the end. Doing my job faster and in a more fun manner is great, but as with the advent of the Internet, mobility is opening up never-before-possible worlds of making connections with others around you."
To hear Robbins tell the story, register for the Cloud Identity Summit, July 8-12 in Napa, Calif.