“It is the obligation of those of us in the field to resist the temptation to rest on our laurels. For our clients, customers, and partners to truly realize the benefits of these technological advancements we need to commit ourselves to ongoing experimentation and development so that we can ride the curve of this advancement. If we do not, we risk having the next chapter of ODR written by those who do not understand the ethical underpinnings of quality dispute resolution practice and who may co-opt the legitimacy of ODR systems for their own purposes. By staying on top of this curve ourselves we can best ensure that ODR delivers on the promise it has offered and help to resolve the greatest number of disputes possible.”
Colin Rule’s post here fits in wonderfully with my own thoughts on Web 2.0 and ODR that I posted on this blog a while ago. Colin is one of those greats who published one of the first serious books on ODR and yet has an uncanny ability to grasp the nettle of web and internet technology developments that will shape the future generation of ODR services and systems.
For instance, Colin concurs with me that ODR through mobile phones is the logical evolution of ODR services:
“Cell phones in 2000 and 2001 were pretty much for voice only. Cell phones today are mini computers, with full access to the internet, cameras, operating systems, and keyboards. For many people in the world the cell phone is their entry point to the internet, and the internet is changing to better fit the constraints of cell phone use. While some focus on the shortcomings of the web on cell phones (small screens make text hard to read, and tiny keyboards make data entry tedious), cell phones bring their own powerful set of advantages to the table, including portability, ubiquity, and easy integration with audio services. Data access speeds on cell phones have improved significantly over the past several years, with some cell phone data plans rivaling speeds available over wires. Some ODR platforms have offered great features but have failed because for many people it is just too inconvenient to have to sit down at the computer a dozen times a day to see if the other party has responded. Mobile technology provides an answer to that challenge, as you can carry your ability to stay in touch right in your pocket. This will address a serious challenge for the ODR field.”
In Mediation from the palm of your hand: Forgining the next generation ODR systems, I’ve explored in detail the possibilities of using mobile phones for ODR. The pace of evolution is mindblowing – we are already talking about mobile phones that operate seamlessly on WiFi and mobile networks.
Will the heady pace of technological evolution necessarily mean the development of better ODR systems? I think not. As ever, the devil lies in the adaptation of new and emerging technologies to best fit the needs of ODR. It is here that early visionaries of ODR like Colin Rule can help us define what technologies are used, how, when and in what manner.
ODR’s future looks terribly exciting and what a wonderful time to be involved in this evolving field of study and practice !