Tiny Pictures, a San Francisco based company, is moving the social network to your cell phone. This is important to the corporate world for a few reason, some of which are not obvious. With the proliferation of smart phones accessing the Internet, and with almost every cell phone having an embedded camera on board now, the leap to a constantly-connected community is a natural progression. At the consumer level we can see a group of friends who in effect subscribe to each others photo stream on the web. These streams are based upon pictures or video taken from the cell phone camera and then uploaded to the Tiny Pictures site on their Radar application. Friends can view the photos or videos from their desktop or web-enabled phone with a similar experiences. Staying in touch with these images can provide a strong link back to the group of friends while also blogging your day-to-day life in photography.
The Radar application on my Blackberry is quite nice too. I can quickly see photos that others have posted as well as my friends pics. Applications like Radar, along with other mobile apps, like the Facebook application offer more than just a web page on your phone, they offer a very usable experience aimed directly at one tool and interface.
On the corporate IT front I see some large advantages as technology like this makes its way to the consumer. Offering similar technology to the C level in the form of a constant stream of specific images, either from a dashboard application or generated via a reporting tool like Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services, would be a valuable addition. The stream at this level would perhaps be divided into financial, production and marketing numbers, or some other meaningful metric.
Taking this idea of social networking to the corporate level offers more as well. If the management team of a company was in effect a social network unto itself, you can easily see that instead of just relying upon phone calls and email to communicate we might one day use a stream of images or comments to achieve something far more conversational. Giving the CEO a view to the corporation at a glance would need to be tailored to the company of course, but with a little forethought I think this is more than doable. The CFO would naturally want to see information from a different slant, but again, that is really just a matter of perspective; the data doesn’t really change, just how it is delivered. Adding all of the data relationships up would be far more than the sum of the parts.
All of this to say that technology is rapidly changing and soon it will broach the halls of an IT group somewhere near you. Companies that are leading this charge will get a lot wrong, but as long as they are learning along the way and fostering a growing community of developers, it is good for all of us.