I knew I had a good reason for using both – I had been on a plane for 7 hours crossing the Atlantic and finally had an inexpensive way to check and respond to mail and download information. I imagined most of the other mobile phone use was for similar tasks: performing work activities, checking sports scores or weather, chatting and banking among many others. Of the three who weren’t operating a device directly, two were looking at the handheld device of their travel companion and one was quietly reading a newspaper (you remember those, text printed on paper?).
I was returning from a week in Lisbon at the ACI Exchange EMEA Conference customer event. Having spent the week with a group of banking and payment professionals waxing poetic about the competitive opportunity that disruption in the market is bringing, I thought to myself “has the evolutionary speed and disruptive nature of technology limited our ability to interact with one another and, if so, could that possibly hinder our ability to truly take advantage of it and be more competitive?” While this idea was formulated looking at consumer behavior, I thought the same could hold true in the business world.
One of the keynotes at ACI Exchange spoke of disruption as a deliverer of chance and articulated that technology leads and markets follow. This makes a lot of sense to me and never has this been truer than in the area of mobile – even beyond banking and payments. But it is possible that our reliance on and desire for new technology could also stifle our ability to focus long enough to let markets catch up? I guess it’s all perspective. Someone from an emerging market whose first experience in banking or payments started with a mobile device will not have the same perspective as someone who has gone from branch banking to online to mobile. They don’t have the history of interacting with someone in an office or in a call center, so the idea of a loss of interaction doesn’t exist.
I sat there for a while wondering what lay ahead as I watched the zombie-like expressions on my fellow travelers immersed in their small screens. Maybe I was just having a thoughtful moment from a long week of travel. That feeling quickly left me the next day as I found myself back to my usual habits with my cell phone, tablet and laptop all within reach.