Vertical and Horizontal Mobility

As far back as I can remember I've been fascinated by the ability to move from location to location to get my work done as well as being able to move from device to device. Horizontal mobility (the ability to move across geography) via virtually ubiquitous wireless Internet access is a reality.

This blog post originated in my house, continued between programming sessions at the Highlands Ranch Public Library and then over lunch at The Corner Bakery with only periodic "sleep" modes on my laptop disrupting the work. Horizontal mobility and the ability to work and communicate from anywhere in the country (and often overseas) is so effective, our customers, peers and even our management hierarchies in many industries may not even know where you are geographically located day to day. Have you ever had a conversation start with "Where are you working from?".

Horizontal Mobility shouldn't be news to anyone, I even carry a 3G modem with me so I can work in the infrequent times that I can't find a wireless network. But that is getting more and more rare, consider I had two "Facebook Friends" update their status from an airplane this week.

While horizontal mobility is in our lives to stay, what about Vertical Mobility ... what I would call the ability to move from device to device to achieve a task or handle content? I should be careful to note, when I say device to device, I mean wildly different classes of devices, such as a phone and a laptop, or an Amazon Kindle, a phone and a laptop, or a TV and a computer and a phone. My assumption several years ago, almost a decade now, was that we would move away from the desktop computers and at some point our kids would simply have purpose-built devices giving access to appropriate content for the device ... I jokingly called this a "Fully Integrated Lifestyle" to a few friends the other week but the more I think about it, that is truly what Vertical Mobility is all about.

Are we there yet?

Absolutely. Over the past few weeks I bought an Amazon Kindle and an iPhone so I could revisit the mobile lifestyle. I last visited it about 3 years ago as I architected a Sun Storage Management Portal. At that time, I was playing with re-rendering portlets from HTML / XML to WML. Basically, I would create alternate views of information based on the device being used to view the information (MVC, Model View Controller).

Today, our devices are so powerful and usability of the devices has hit such a high level that alternate views of information are often not required (though I would argue that good vertical mobility does take into account the device). The image above is a fully dynamic view of our Sun Storage 7000 Appliance taken from my iPhone VPN'd to work.

Horizontal and Vertical Mobility

What other devices can be combined? My favorite for vacation is taking TV shows from my Tivo (like Spongebob Squarepants) and moving them to the iPod so my son can watch them while we are stuck in an airport.

The Amazon Kindle has even joined the party. I purchase books on my Kindle and can read them on my iPhone via the Amazon Kindle downloadable iPhone application.

It is truly an amazing world we live in. What's the infrastructure at work here? The cloud is here, the network continues to be built out through our carriers and most of all, content providers that are becoming more aware of the opportunities that abound in content delivery to these devices and, of course, standards around content structure, authentication and authorization, and every other technology that gives us Horizontal and Vertical Mobility and the amazing ability to live a Fully Integrated Lifestyle.

Ok, times up ... back to my design document ... I'll work on it from my Mac today :-)

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