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July 11th, 2012

Ride the mobile wave

Karl-Heinz Land, chief evangelist and senior vice president social iCommerce at MicroStrategy

Products are dematerialising. Books, music, cameras, services –  all are becoming software that can be shared, updated and used more flexibly.

Take paper for example, which has been around for millennia. Today it has been replaced with mobile screens that can transform at the touch of a finger.

These are more dynamic – zoomable, searchable, sendable and connected to the biggest library there ever was, the internet. Words and images are no longer bound to their physical form and can travel at the speed of light.

Entertainment too has changed. Gone are the days when you would purchase a DVD set or rent one from the video store. We are no longer captive to broadcasters’ agendas. Vast volumes of entertainment – films, music, books, television, sports – are at our fingertips and on our schedule, accessible from any device in any location.

The way we use money is also changing and now fits on your phone. Cash is already a digital commodity and through mobile phones we can begin setting parameters for when it can be used and by whom. In the not-so distant future you will be able to give your children money and limit a timeframe or location for them to spend it.

Mobile technology may also make us physically healthier. One day soon we may speak to a doctor in a different country for a fraction of the cost of a local doctor’s visit. Today’s phones can become monitors and sensors – checking temperature, heart rate, blood pressure – sending this information directly to a remote physician for diagnosis. Mobile technology can make access to a doctor a reality for all, especially in areas where healthcare is not a given.

Finally, education is mobilising. Virtual classrooms are already common but in the near future they will become standard practice. In developing nations, where approximately one-fourth of children never finish primary school and one billion people remain illiterate, mobile computing could spread education where it has never gone before.

I am optimistic about the way mobile technology can shape our world. Mobile technology and data together are very powerful. Using technology to add detail about what is happening today and combining that with analysis of what we have experienced yesterday will I’m sure bring us a very different world with very different products and services.

Mobility is certainly a wave heading towards us at enormous speed but with it comes amazing opportunity to improve and enrich the lives of the citizens of this planet we call Earth.

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