I have the iPhone 4S and I recently installed the software upgrade iOS6. So this is some of what my phone can now do:

  • Make phone calls
  • Send SMS’s (which I can choose to write or dictate with a microphone)
  • Send whatsapp (which I can also choose to dictate rather than write out)
  • Take photographs
  • Send photographs
  • Allow me to receive, read and send emails
  • Access and use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer, YouTube
  • Use HootSuite to schedule tweets
  • Read all my RSS feeds and so stay up to date with current affairs
  • Give me regular updates on global exchange rates
  • Show me how my shares are performing
  • Pay all my bills via mobile banking
  • Give me the time
  • Show me the date
  • Remind me of appointments
  • Wake me up in the morning
  • Keep track of my diary
  • Tell me the weather conditions every hour for any city in the world that I choose to ask it about
  • Find addresses all over the world and talk me through getting there
  • Give me access to Google (and I can ask it to show me any information in written or picture format)
  • Entertain me by providing me access to whatever games I want to play
  • Plays music for me
  • Allow me to calculate complicated mathematical problems
  • Take notes
  • And I haven’t even attempted to unpack the extent of the App store

And all this from anywhere, anytime, because it’s mobile… and, I can dress my iPhone up in all sorts of ways to make it look just how I want it. I choose pink.

So what does all this mean? If I just consider the limited list I have outlined above, consider the potential impact on, or even replacement value of, just this one instrument:

  • The telephone (landline, I mean)
  • The camera (the old fashioned, push button one I mean)
  • The desktop computer
  • Snail-mail post office
  • A bank
  • Newspapers and other print media
  • Call centers for certain information
  • Alarm clocks
  • Old fashioned paper calendars and diaries
  • The weather man
  • Maps
  • GPS’s
  • Board games, computer games, TV games
  • Possibly television and maybe even cinema
  • A Dictaphone
  • A CD player
  • A calculator
  • Note pads
  • The Yellow Pages

Just to name a few. This is huge. That one tiny, mobile device is able to fulfill the functions over 20 things listed above; and that’s just off the top of my head. Those 20 products and/ or services that required people to make, manufacture, produce things or perform functions that are now potentially redundant or possibly going to become extinct. Talk about convergence, convenience and cost-effectiveness, so why not? And this one little mobile device will become so normal, so standard, so ordinary, that the long list of other things will very likely become obsolete for the majority of people.

Now think about your business. Are there any ways in which it could become obsolete? Ways that you would never have thought of. Not through competitors, or predictable trends. But in hidden ways. For example, do you think the bosses at the Yellow Pages would have considered the impact Google would have on their business? Probably not, because nobody knew what Google did, or what potential Google might have, until it was too late.

What are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

How are you thinking differently?


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