Technology

Christian Borrman, technologist

I am, by day, a technologist, mostly working in the mobile space, but also in IT, Broadcast and wider telecoms. This has been from helping everybody from marketing agencies to telcos and even mobile operators and mobile handset manufacturers themselves deliver complex mobile products, mostly in the following spaces:

Mobile apps

I have been working extensively in the app space, from designing and roll-out the first mass distributed apps for Nokia, to porting major titles to new platforms and commissioning apps for handset launch showcases.

Mobile App stores

When I first did apps, there were no stores, so we built an OTA system to send apps and the data settings to handsets, we still run the most advanced OTA data setting platform at Virtuser and I have built and worked on numerous app stores

Mobile Virtual Operators (MVNO)

I have worked on some of the first, biggest, newest, most expansive and diverse MVNOs and have been chairing the main MVNO conferences for the last few years. In general, there is not an element of designing, specifying, building or marketing an MVNO that I have not worked on.

Technology thoughts and posts

Technologists generally come in a few flavours:
  • software, 
  • hardware or 
  • design 
So the products they create and buy,  rather than a napolitan ice-cream 33/33/33 blend usually come in a pie chart with a strong bias, way or another, like the diagram below using laptops as the ubiquitous case in hand.
Focus of purchase decision (and Product development effort??) in different laptop flavours

Good technology comes just how I like it: in a cocktail, shaken or stirred, with or without a twist, but most important is that these ingredients are blended to the appropriate amount, usually with some other ingredients, depending on time, place, and what else is going on at the time. That is, many great designs, software and hardware were the right tech at the wrong time or just the wrong ingredients, or sometimes just tried to be a dry martini when all that everybody wanted was a beer.

This directly translates from my other passion and page of blog: Innovation. Generally innovation is driven by design, software or hardware (people) who generally do not blend, step back, look at other ingredients or the appropriateness of the time, place and moment. This means even great technology often comes with important features like social networking just bolted on the side, like a spoiler on a car.

Most technologies we adpot because we have to, if we are lucky we adopt them out of choice, and this will depend on who we are and what we do with technology and can change over time. For example, a laptop for me has always represented freedom, the freedom to write this blog, to document a new business, search for and share information with peers and create new products and services. My choice of laptop is presently Windows, but that is more down to the industry I work than anything else and that may well and is changing. For others it represents the bind they have with the job they hate. Either way, my choice of laptop has generally been a compromise, whichever of the above I chose, as the blend is just not napolitan!

So assuming that napolitan is a Nirvana seldom accomplished, for technology to succeed in long term uptake over its pain of adoption, or level of change needs to be softer than than the benefits derived, and this needs to continue being so over time, where all the above factors come into play. I earn a living from my laptop, so no matter how much of a pain windows and specification based on performance / price ratio, the risk and pain of changing will need a huge catalysts to change, but this is decreasing by the month: witness the shift from other OSs to iOS and then to Android in the mobile space.

We also have to take into account the time and place and other factors: apple had to compete and select a niche, which was design, Linux the same, windows is a throwback from the business move to the digital age via windows

Good technology affects us, has the best chance of surviving external factors, or ingredients to continue the cocktail analogy, and I believe usually does so on one of the following three ways that I will be exploring further in this blog in coming weeks, looking at examples in other technologies and areas:
  • Lifestyle technology: from music players to coffee machines...
  • General purpose technology: Mobiles, tablets...
  • Specific use technology: Heart rate monitors, GPS
Its interesting times, I shall be updating this article as more interactions with clients and colleagues provide more scenarios, and will post changes here at my Google+ and/or my company, Virtuser's Google+