What Glastonbury can teach us about smart phones

By: John McGarvey

Date: 16 July 2013

Glastonbury Festival - smart phones anywhere?

A couple of weeks ago I went to Glastonbury Festival. In recent years, one of the most notable changes there has been the explosion in people you see tapping away at their smart phones, posting photos to Facebook or filming video clips rather than actually watching the band on stage.

Of course, not everyone takes their smart phone to festivals. Many people switch to a basic handset.

Shorn of everything except call and text functions, these 'dumb phones' have batteries that last for days and days, yet still let you stay in touch in a festival environment.

Duplicate computing power

And this all got me thinking: how many of us really need a smart phone in our professional lives?

I'm not saying for a moment that smart phones aren't useful. I refer to mine frequently - checking Twitter, firing off emails, finding the best public transport options and even occasionally making a call.

The thing is, many of us cart unneccesary computing power around with us. The £500 smart phone in your pocket is more powerful than the computer you were using for work a few years back.

If you work on the go, you almost certainly have a laptop in your bag too. That's another £500 - probably more, if you've chosen a super-portable model. And do you have an iPaf? That's a smart phone, just bigger. Chalk up another £500.

That's a lot of money to have spent on different gadgets that can all be used for very similar things. Multiplied up across your business, you could be blowing serious cash on what almost amounts to duplicate hardware.

Why not get a dumb phone?

It's not just the money. If your 'dumb phone' gets lost or stolen, you don't have to worry that it might contain your entire customer database, or grant hackers access to your company servers.

And - as I mentioned before - if you're on a business trip, you don't have to find a power point every day to boost your juice.

Does it feel like you're paying twice for devices that do the same things? Would you consider switching to a 'dumb phone'?

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