For a couple of months I'm proud owner of a Android-based smartphone. Only once I actually held such a device in my hands and played around with applications like Google Goggles, Layar, Shazam, Google Sky Map I noticed that a phone with an internet connection is not just a phone in which you can browse the web, but an entirely new beast. It is also a great example of something that is way more than the sum of its parts (an internet connection, location/acceleration/GPS/light/.. sensors, a camera, a microphone). I'm convinced that these devices will revolutionize IT like the Web did 20 years ago, and I whole-heartedly agree with Steve's blog entry on Goin Mobile...
But the big question is: where's the revolutionary app for "mobile product configuration"? Just porting e.g. IPC's web UI to the iPad is the trivial answer. Such an application is not a big leap forward, not more than a browser app in a mobile device, not more than the sum of its parts.
I don't know what the real answer to this question is. However, I'm convinced that the question is not only a question to SAP, but a question to the SAP configuration community, and that we find the most interesting use cases, the coolest applications if we exchange our thoughts and ideas and talk about challenges we're facing.
When Harald Vogel first mentioned his idea of having a CWG developer challenge about mobile configuration apps, I knew that this is the right thing to do.
So why should you participate?
- If a customer has an idea about what they want to do with configuration on their iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry, Win 7 Mobile phone, then telling the community would be a great way to getting this done by SAP or by our partners.
- Partners can come up with innovative tools fast, show their ability to implement innovations, show the special capabilities of their own configurators, and strengthen their reputation as the right partner for SAP implementations.
- SAP can find out what the mobile tools are that our customers really need and invest into the right software.
Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas in Harald's CWG forum thread.
ps. here's short descriptions of the ground-breaking applications for smartphones mentioned above:
- Google goggles: show something to your phone by pointing the camera to it, and find out what it is (e.g. a poster of this painting by Kandinsky, a bar code of that product) together with the usual internet information on it. Right now works only for some things, and not for others, but the potential is amazing.
- Layar: an augmented reality app - will show what the camera sees and insert information about it at the right point. E.g. hold your phone so that the camera sees a restaurant and the phone shows reviews of that restaurant. Hard to describe, you have to see it in action to understand why this will fundamentally change the way we'll be working with computers.
- Shazam: Hold your phone to a speaker playing a song to find out which song this is.
- Google Sky Map: augmented reality sky map: Point at a star and you'll see an in-place description of the star and more.