I've been interested in mobile learning solutions since 2004, when our VP of Macromedia Solutions Marketing wanted to see if there was market for mobile Flash in education. The short answer to that question was a big N-O. Lots of interest - but the ecosystem wasn't ready. Very different from today, when everywhere you look there is a new development or announcement or app that makes physical location irrelevant. (Sidenote: some of the work we did at the time got boiled down into articles published in 2005 - one in Educause Review, and another one in ASTD T&D. Still relevant).
That market research experience changed my world view about mobile learning solutions from worrying about the tools and tech to being more focused on considering enterprise requirements of mobility. A little more than a year ago I shared some thoughts in a blogpost entitled Mobile Learning and the Internet of Things, about developments in the networked objects arena that seemed to have some fascinating implications for vendors interested in working with the mobile learning community.
Cut to 2010 - I literally just finished reading a GREAT McKinsey Quarterly newsletter article written by Michael Chui, Markus Löffler, and Roger Roberts entitled Internet of Things. If you care about mobile support and services including elearning and performance support you should take a look. There's no point in my summarizing too deeply when you can click on this link. But I do want to provide enough to tease you into wanting to click. So here are a few high points:
"Predictable pathways of information are changing. The physical
world itself is becoming a type of information system. In what’s called
the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical
objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and
wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that
connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data
that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the
environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding
complexity and responding to it swiftly. What’s revolutionary in all
this is that these physical information systems are now beginning to be
deployed, and some of them even work largely without human intervention."
Got you hooked yet? Here's a bit more: The six areas where the Internet of Things is already being put to work:Information and Analysis
- Tracking Behavior
- Enhanced Situational Awareness
- Sensor-driven Decision Making
- Process optimization
- Resource consumption optimization
- Complex autonomous system