This article originally appeared on the Ministry of Research and Innovation blog
Imagine capturing our own personal biography as we live it or being able to monitor your aging parents health from anywhere, or standing on any street corner anywhere in the world and having instant access to its history.
How will mobile change our lives. This is a huge question and one that we didn’t really know to ask just a few short years ago. The biggest fundamental technology and personal mashup our world has ever seen is not slowing down. Mobile is poised to become the largest, most influential and far-reaching innovation wave we’ve ever seen – far out-innovating and out-pacing the PC and internet eras combined.
The problem with mobile is that it is everywhere and on everyone’s mind – even the term “mobile” is vague and means many different things to many people. The question is when do we start to feel its impact in a really beneficial way. We often forget that the ability to call anyone from anywhere is relatively new and what we are seeing today in the industry is being built on shifting tectonic plates. Innovation is happening and adoption is happening – both faster than anything before it – so a little understanding of where things are heading may be in order.
The obvious one is the way we communicate. Our circle of influence – the people we reach out to for answers – will grow exponentially and not just locally. We now have the ability to see, experience and reach global cultures wherever and whenever the need arises. Mobile has played an incredible communications role in some of the most monumental shifts in history and has been used as a tool to assist in disaster recovery over the past few years. Look for this type of reliance as a real-time conversation to escalate.
Education will also forever be changed by the ease of access to any information in real time. Right now we have access to the mobile web – something that most of us understand so the shift from desktop to mobile should be seamless – but the real change happens when context and location makes for frictionless learning. In essence, you could be standing on any street corner in any city anywhere in the world and be able to learn about your surroundings in the way that suits you best – video, text, audio or even comments left from other visitors to that exact spot. Think about every piece of history about every place on the planet accessible to you at your discretion.
One of the more interesting changes to be brought on by mobile is the realization of a true mobile wallet. There will be a time in the not-so-distant future where we only carry our smartphone and leave the wallet behind. This means it becomes our sole piece of identification, our passport, our credit card, our bank card, our “cash”, our transit pass, our loyalty card, our car key and our house key. The technology is nascent, sure, but these devices are more personal and used more than anything else we carry in our pockets or purse so the shift is not that far off.
There are many applications available that help meter medication or remind you when to take your pills but mobile gets really interesting when you combine the always on nature of a smartphone with the ability to take simple body readings. Bringing self-diagnosis into the home in the form of pulse/ox, blood pressure, heart rate, breathalyzer tests and any other simple health diagnostics that need to be done regularly could remove some of the strain on our health system. Longer term there is a burgeoning medical device business that uses mobile devices to read ingested chips for real-time medical monitoring from a distance. This would change the way we keep our medical records and how insurance is issued.
Certainly the biggest impact that mobile will bring to us is our ability to document and store our own life. The phones we carry have already replaced cameras and camcorders for many of us and we end up taking more pictures and videos that we have ever done before. Writing our own documentary or biography as we live it is a great piece of what mobile enables us to do. Our great grandchildren will be able to visit locations that we’ve been to and captured/documented and geo-tagged and they will be able to call up our experiences and thoughts through video, audio or still photographs while they are doing the same thing. This is far reaching and creates a brand new genealogical and history documentation process.
Today, mobile is filling in the nooks and crannies of our lives – making things that we already do today easier while removing some of the friction along the way. What happens in the future when the word “mobile” is as generic as the word “electricity” is up for debate but for mobile to work, it must be as seamless as electricity in our lives in order to make an impact.