Thursday, February 15, 2007

Found My First Great Use Case for the UMPC

So today I had my weekly Skype conference call (for those of you who don't know, Skype is one of the best free voice chat programs out there). Normally, I would sit at my desk like everyone else and conduct the call. Today however, I used my Q1 and my bluetooth headset to connect in.

Before the call, I used OneNote 2007 to collect my thoughts and prepare an agenda. I inserted attendees from Outlook and OneNote automatically added all their contact information into the meeting notes. Important agenda items were tagged and highlighted.

The first order of business: review some print materials that were sent via email. I accessed the email through the Q1, opened the PDF and copied the relevant logos to OneNote where I could annotate and review them.

Next, review some websites. I loaded up IE7 and went to the requested URLs. OneNote provides for a button in IE7 that allows me to quickly capture a page or any portion of a page. I captured some pages and they were automatically sent to OneNote with appropriate reference links and date/time stamps. In OneNote, I annotated my comments with ink, circling things I liked and X'ing out things I thought we should change.

The call was drawing to a close and action items were reviewed. I highlighted my action items and tagged them as Outlook to-do tasks. OneNote automatically sent them to Outlook and created a live link between the two.

At the end of the meeting, I send the meeting notes to everyone. OneNote composes an HTML message including the web clippings and my ink annotations and sends it out to the group.

This is all absolutely real and worked just the way I described it here. The real power of all this is that I was not at my desk during the call. I was up and about, sometimes gesticulating wildly; sometimes at the window contemplating. I believe there is a time and a place to be at a desk. I also know that some of my most creative moments didn't occur behind the desk. I believe the Q1 will improve my creativity quotient. It will enable me with the power of a desktop without having to be behind the desk or even in my office.

This use case combines some of the unique features of the UMPC to create a better user experience:

  • Mobility and communication. Skype on a UMPC is like talking on your mobile. You're free to move about, doing what you're doing or going where you're going.
  • Handwriting recognition. The keyboard and mouse are optional to take notes. Not needing a keyboard means you don't have to be at your desk or seated. Note-taking can be done while standing or walking or at a stoplight. This may seem strange but think about how many people are actually out and about during a typical workday: realtors, inspectors, sales people.
  • Full office mobility. UMPCs run all the same productivity software that you have at your office: Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, IE7 on a 1.7lbs. device.
  • Wireless synchronization. Notes, documents, contacts, emails, tasks and calendar events are automatically synced with your office whenever the UMPC is within range. This means that the UMPC is a full extension of your desktop or notebook computer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Neil! Its Fawn Lerner-Gilli, your Pearl Street School friend from Marion, Ohio. What have you been doing all of these years? My family and I have lived in Tampa, Florida since 1998.