I’ve written before about how enterprise applications are changing. Trends such as gamification, which have nothing to do with playing around, are influencing business apps. John Cox, on his Network World blog, recently penned “What enterprise mobile apps can learn from mobile games,” and his perspectives add some gravity to the idea that convergence isn’t just about bringing wireline and wireless together, or deskphones and mobile phones together, it’s about creating a seamless application experience for all applications of technology. That includes making them fun, easy to learn, and intuitive.
John shared his recent conversation with Alex Caccia of Marmalade, which sells a cross-platform SDK (software development kit) for high-performance mobile applications, ranging from games to sophisticated enterprise apps. Caccia said that Amazon is a good example of a company that understood that game mechanics should be central to its customer interaction paradigm. Amazon realized that the responsiveness of its website was critical to the pleasure of shopping. It’s not just a question of latency, it’s actually about engagement and pleasure.
I have often stressed latency as a key focus area when planning next-generation networks. In the context of Cox’s discussion with Caccia, low-latency should be seen as a prerequisite to successfully engaging a user, but it won’t guarantee engagement. While high latency can discourage users from adopting even the most flashy of applications, low latency by itself will do very little to accelerate adoption of an app if it is not highly engaging. Network convergence needs a business driver, and one of the biggest drivers will be “killer apps” that are both highly responsive and highly engaging.