Earlier this week when I was having dinner with one of my colleagues (@ksiripurapu), he shared this interesting piece of news from CIO. iPod Touch: The iPod of War, an article on CIO.com which talks about the recent item from Newsweek’s report about the U.S. military giving out the iPod Touch to soldiers in war zones in the Middle East.
My first reaction was “wow” and next “but what would the soldiers do with iPods?” I just had to read this article and my mind was all over imagining all the possible future use of it. I sit back and think how much these emerging technologies have changed our present world. Imagine a world without open tools. Most of today’s applications/websites are based on OpenID/OAuth and/or Open Source tools. Every time I think of Apple and its apps store, Facebook and its apps collection and so on, I wonder how life was when we had closed static websites/products. Thanks to Apple, for the wonderful product iPod Touch and for allowing third party developers to develop apps for its iPod, that today we could take the utility of iPods to a level that no one had imagined.
Well, coming back to the topic of my blog; so what we understand from the above article is that soldiers will now be able to stay electronically linked to other troops, tap applications for language translation and cultural information, and access data such as maps, photos, videos and voice recordings. It also means we could expect to see some added accessories for the iPods, such as protective covers, castings, glare and scratch resistant coatings that stick onto the touch-sensitive screen. Well all of this is either already available or could be developed in a quick time, however what’s more important is are we going to see things like aerial video to teleconferencing and the likes? Apparently, as the article quotes, “Snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan now use a ‘ballistics calculator’ called BulletFlight, made by Knight’s Armament for the iPod Touch and iPhone”.
So, there are a couple of views I have around this: One is ofcourse how this whole thing can be replicated inside an enterprise in an industry like ours to foster innovation & drive business and two, how this relates to the various trends that are discussed in Capgemini’s TechnoVision. The obvious trend from it is the iPodification, but there are others that could be related as well.
Here is how I see this going: I am sure we could replicate the same model in our sales warzone. Deploy a sales force with arms such as these $300 weapons (read iPods) and ammunition (read sales systems) based on custom developed apps that integrate & sync with the back-up army (read our enterprise systems). What we are essentially talking about here is “Real time integrated business applications” accessed via “iPodification”. Imagine our sales guys with iPod touches and apps that provide quick access to client credentials, background-info, competitor analysis all at the touch of their finger tips and all available on-demand. This is all about “Composite applications” which are going to be “Role-based”. Imagine a 3D walkthrough loaded into their iPods and the customer can just navigate it like in real. Well, one could argue, we could do most of this in a normal high end phone as well, but folks think about the extra feel and experience that the Touch iPod brings in. It’s all about “You Experience (You-X)”, you see. It would be simply mind-blowing to have these apps “Thriving on data” and present it before a customer for all his fancy on-demand requests. Well I am sure its not just this, but a lot more than what I can think of, at the moment.
Couldn’t we boost up our sales guys who are in a similar warzone during the bids, like the US military forces? Well obviously the intensity and approach is different in both cases but the objective is same (to win). There could be and I am sure there must be already a few apps that are in this race; however I wonder if it would become a norm, a routine for all leading companies in the near future. Will iPod Touch become a de-facto tool for all sales guys in an organization in the near future? Mark Nankman, one of my fellow bloggers on Capping IT Off, also had similar ideas sometime back. Looks like his ideas from last year around the same time to an extent are coming true already.

Nikhil Nulkar is a knowledge management consultant within Capgemini and is passionate about web2.0 and social media. Want to know what he is up to? Follow him on Twitter