One of my favourite workshop questions around Web 2.0 is to ask when people first used email – at work, where they were educated, or at home? With the right mix of people in the room, its a good way to highlight how we are in the middle of both a generational and technology change.
From some recent conversations with clients about Web 2.0 and related topics, it occurred to me that mobile Internet access is now following a similar consumerisation path – more people have or will soon have access to mobile Internet through the mobile phone they own than the people with a mobile computing device provided by their employer. Admittedly there are some anomalies, like the Canadian oil field worker who used his mobile as a wireless modem and ran up a huge bills, but for the purposes of an always on, always connected social media lifestyle I would say that consumer mobile Internet access is a generally affordable option right now for early adopters.
However, and more like the impact of Web-based email than email alone, mobile consumer Internet access is an interesting disrupter in the workplace because if an employer chooses not to allow Internet access to certain sites, well for the first time employees have the option to access it themselves using their own technology from within the workplace.