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Europe Trip 2010: Day 1 London Swimming in Mobile Technology

After only 2 hours sleep on the trans-Atlantic flight (I should never have watched that in-flight movie “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll”), I finally arrived at my sister’s house in London only to find nobody in.  With two suitcases and a backpack, I parked myself on her doorstep and phoned her. My brother-in-law was supposed to be home straight after his swimming workout, she told me.  “If he’s not back in 5 minutes, call me and I will come home to let you in and kill him when I see him!”

My brother-in-law is a “larger than life” person who loves to eat, drink and socialize and I had a good idea he was probably not swimming – well not in water at least! Not wanting to get him murdered (and my sister is lethal), I decided to just keep quiet and wait a little longer than 5 minutes. I turned on my PC and connected to my sister’s wireless internet from outside her front door to catch up on my email – isn’t technology wonderful!

Apart from a few strange looks from passers-by, I contentedly tapped away on my keyboard. After about 25 minutes, my bother-in-law appeared with a big fat grin on his face that told me he had obviously had a good (and long) lunch. He gave me his infamous bear hug greeting which always ends with a big wet kiss on the cheek. Then reality hit him and he looked at me with a worried expression as he remembered “she who must be obeyed”. I told him not to worry and I quickly called my sister and said I was in the house and “hubby” was late because he did an extra few laps at the pool. I know she did not believe me and my bother-in-law figured this also so he grabbed his swim suit and goggles, ran them under the cold water tap and hung them out on the clothes horse for my sister to see when she got home. For good measure, he also set the table and unloaded the dishwasher!

The lack of sleep started to hit me so I decided to go for a run to wake myself up. As I ran around St. James Park and Green Park, I noticed quite a few other runners with backpacks strapped to their backs. At first I thought they might be on some orienteering exercise but then I realized (and I later verified this with my sister) these were people jogging home from work and they were carrying their work clothes in their backpacks. One of them was actually talking on a Bluetooth headset as he was running. Both parks were full of people talking on mobile phones or looking at or listening to PDA devices.

It occurred to me how mobile communication devices have become so significant to so many of us. They are no longer just novelty or entertainment devices; they are essential extensions to our work life that allow us to multi-task in an ever increasing number of ways. As the Apple iTunes store adds more applications every day, an even larger number are being developed by both software companies and the I.T. departments of regular businesses.  A few years ago laptops and cell phones were considered essential equipment for the mobile and remote workforce. Now it has moved to PDA’s like iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and the new iPads. These devices do not just combine the capabilities of a laptop and cell phone together; they have incredible new ways of interacting with data and can store an enormous amount of data locally on the device. This makes them ideal for Business Intelligence.

As I get back to my sister’s house from my refreshing run, I grab my Blackberry to check my email before jumping into the shower. I see a message that RoamBi, the Business Intelligence solution to graphically render Web Intelligence and Crystal reports on the iPhone, is now available for the iPad. I see another message about an SAP Explorer demo on the iPhone and another message to discuss SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI offering. Yes, the world of both personal and business communication has changed a lot.

My sister walks in the door as my brother-in-law cowers in the corner expecting the worst.  She goes light on him because she’s happy to see me (I think).  It suddenly occurs to me how an iPhone might have saved my brother-in-law from this situation but just as quickly, I wipe the thought from my mind. The swim suit and goggles was so much more creative! 

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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