In the book The Birth of Plenty, the author William J. Bernstein proposes that prosperity is based on the following four tenets:
1. Property Rights – Creators must have proper incentives to create.
2. Scientific Rationalism – Innovators must possess the proper intellectual tools in order to innovate and must be able to do so without fear of retribution.
3. Capital Markets – Entrepreneurs must have access to sufficient capital to pursue their visions.
4. Transportation/Communications – Society must be able to rapidly and efficiently move information and finished products.
Bernstein says that the presence of, or lack of, these four items determines the level of prosperity of a people or country.
When I read item four on the list I thought about enterprise mobility. I have worked on, seen and heard about many mobile enterprise applications that have enabled economic development and a higher quality of life. Let me share a few of them.
Case No. 1 - The highest bidder for an iron works project was in a distant land on the other side of the world from USA. If the American company accepted the bid, they would save millions of dollars, but fears over the products manufacturing quality nearly eliminated it from consideration. My team developed a mobile quality inspection application that was integrated with a central quality review database in the US, which permitted the bid to be accepted and the distant company and country to receive the economic benefits of this project.
Case No. 2 – Countries from around the world donated money and medicine to be distributed to areas in Africa that needed it. However, in order to continue donating, these nations needed visibility into the supply chain and distribution of the medicine. They wanted accountability and assurance that their donations were being used for their intended purposes. My team developed a chain-of-custody application that monitored and reported the status of all medicine inventories and deliveries from this program in Africa. This information was synchronized back to a central database in Washington DC where all donor nations could monitor it. Without this mobile application, potentially billions of dollars worth of medicine would not have been delivered through this program.ï»¿
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Case No. 3 – A large global appliance company monitors their day-to-day retail sales via mobile devices with text message support. Each retail location, often in a corner of a larger marketplace, reports the products sold at the end of each day via text message. This SMS application feeds a system that allocates additional inventory and delivery schedules. This simple solution enables relatively sophisticated supply chains and logistics.
From these three cases, I can understand the role that mobile enterprise solutions (communications) can play in economic development around the world.
Kevin Benedict offers onsite workshops on the topic of mobile enterprise strategies. For more information click here
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