My experiment of using mobile as a primary device

At a recent company conference I wanted to try and work as much as possible just using my mobile devices (iPhone and iPad). I wanted to test if consumer apps and work related apps can provide the experience we desire. i.e. Can I do most tasks from my mobile as efficiently as traditional method. This would include all aspects of the travel — booking & managing logistics, communicating, finding my way around, taking notes and continuing regular work.

Flight checkin: One day before travel, I checked in using the SouthWest app from my iPhone. I got my boarding pass on the phone and added it to the Passbook. No need to print or use emails. Passbook is really good because the boarding pass shows up at the right time and even stays on the locked screen. Of course did the same on the way back.

Uber: Day of travel, I decided to use Uber to get to the airport and ditch my previous method of pre-booking a cab for airport. I am glad I did. I just requested an Uber cab 5 minutes before I had to leave. Cab showed up on time and I was off to the airport. I am sure Lyft or other providers would work the same way. Payment to the cab was part of the Uber app, and I didn’t need a credit card.

Once I reached my hotel in Vegas (Venetian), I did wish they had an app for people to check into rooms. I don’t think anyone enjoys standing in checkin queue. Hotels can easily geo detect if you are already at the hotel and allow you to checkin. This can greatly enhance and personalize customer experience. And hotels can up-sell addon more effectively to the customers (thin of pushing spa, restaurant, room upgrade offers).

Conference navigation: Our conference had a really good app to manage all the sessions, and events. It was pretty handy through out the conference.

Communication: I used iMessage and WhatsApp to stay connected to colleagues, even more than emails. I don’t like to do too much email from my phone — ipad perhaps. This actually made me more efficient, because I attended to most important emails only and was laser sharped on emails when I used my laptop in short spurts.

Phone for media capture: Of course my phone also served as the camera and video recorder for various events. I also recorded parts of talks instead of taking notes. But there is no good app to manage the voice notes and then allow searching them.

Overall, I saw big opportunities that can be developed on mobile :

  1. The way hotels can improve interaction with customers using apps
  2. Mobile payments. I don’t want to lug my wallet around
  3. Hold a valid identification to get into bars
  4. Apps that can personalize my experience based on my interests and location
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