One of my favorite strategic planning quotes is from Wayne Gretzky. He said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” A recent Morgan Stanley report on Internet trends, gives us a lot of data on where the puck will be and the direction in which we should be skating: mobile.
Mobile will be bigger than
desktop Internet in five years.
The Morgan Stanley report challenges us to look at statistics and where the future is headed.
- Mobile Internet use is being adopted by users much faster than the adoption of desktop Internet.
- The number of mobile users will likely surpass desktop Internet users in 2013.
- Technology cycles tend to last ten years, and we’re about two years into a mobile Internet cycle.
- The expectation is now 24 x 7 access to everything from the palm of your hand.
Since my days at MIT, I’ve been an avid reader of Technology Review. One of their ten emerging technologies for 2010 is mobile 3-D. Seemingly futuristic technology is now closer than ever to being in the palm of your hand.
What do these trends mean for the National Archives and Records Administration?
The cornerstone of the work we do every day is the belief that citizens have the right to see, examine, and learn from the records that document the actions of their Government. We need to fully understand and leverage the power of the Internet in the palm of our hands. Mobile Internet can exponentially expand access to our records, provide access to online information to understand our records, as well as enable collaboration with citizen archivists on projects to achieve our mission.
Where should we be investing our energies, resources, and thinking?
I’m challenging my staff to think about where the puck is going. I’ve asked my staff to explore:
- Mobile apps – I want our information and records to be available in the palm of your hand. What apps would you like to see?
- Apps for Archives – A competition for developers to innovate with our datasets on Data.gov and elsewhere. One possible mashup could be Archival Research Catalog (ARC) descriptions and public tags and comments on Flickr.
- Archives Wiki – A platform for researchers, historians, archivists, and citizen archivists to create pages on records or themes.
- Making Wi-Fi available in our facilities – This is essential for us to move in the direction of mobile Internet. I know that researchers have been asking for this for a long time, and it’s about time we make it happen.
- A social networking application for staff – A Facebook-like tool that will help us do our jobs in a collaborative way.
These are not side projects. These are important ways of accomplishing our mission.
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