* * *
Portable devices in almost any context have become ubiquitous. They are everywhere and everybody has them. So it stands to reason that the most sought after technology right now is an AC outlet to charge up your portable device.
But no matter where you go, every AC outlet is occupied with a charger or a portable computing device being used for a variety of purposes, and in some cases, there is line of people waiting!
“Where is the power?” and, “Are you leaving soon?” are the questions of the day. It is an interesting twist that AC power is harder to get than Wi-Fi.
An emerging product is a kinetic power generator that slips into your backpack or briefcase. Just hook it up to your phone and as you walk around, the device charges your phone. Another product is a back-up power source. This device connects to your laptop using a USB port to charge a micro battery from the laptop’s battery. The device also has a micro-USB connection that fits most Verizon Droid phones. When you need power, just plug in your micro battery and you have about an hour of battery life, which is not a bad solution. Last year solar panels were released as a portable charging product for small hand-held devices (convenient but slow).
Opposite of power generation and battery life is power consumption. The greater gain would be to design devices that operated efficiently and consume less power without sacrificing function or features. Ultimately, devices should be designed and delivered with a 24 hour power window as the operating range, not three hours or less.
Where do financial institutions take this concept? The first implication is to consider portable computing and communication devices as tools to be used by institution staff. Battery life and power alternatives should also be considered. Another question: where are these devices going to be used and for how long? Should back-up power sources be supplied with the device?
Portability is an increasing requirement, but regardless of how flexible, powerful, or user friendly the device is… it is all about power!
Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of BancWest), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website, www.copperwombat.com