Mobile Lives and Times

Intelligent DialogueAs part of Porter Novelli’s ongoing Intelligent Dialogue series, Mobile Lives and Times explores the opportunities and challenges presented by the changes in mobile technology.  The report tracks mobility’s hottest trends and examines the impact they are making on business, government, health care and media.

As new wireless providers begin to market and implement their services in Canada, it will be interesting to see how consumers react to new technologies and greater choice.

A few highlights include:

The Internet of People will continue to grow apace, but the next wave is the Internet of Things (smart devices that communicate: thermostats, lights, generators, vehicles, environmental monitors, cameras, medical machines). Its as-yet unresolved challenges include competing proprietary standards and a shortage of addresses.

For brick and mortar retailers, location is vital. But mobile marketing via location-based services may help those less-fortunately located bend the rule. Marketers’ challenge: how to utilize the opportunity without becoming intrusive or annoying to consumers? Mobile providers’ challenge: how to monetize effectively? The silver lining: With the right incentives for users and proper data protection safeguards, we have huge potential to learn about customers in real time and increase marketing intelligence. 

Health care is behind the curve when it comes to mobile, though there is incredible potential to use these tools to improve upon deficient systems: speeding up processes and communication; streamlining data storage and sharing; increasing range and power of diagnostic tools; enabling off-site patient monitoring; lowering costs and much more. As it stands, even in developed countries, many front-line health care providers are lagging on basic communications technology, let alone mobile applications.

Mobile and wireless innovations (off-site server connections; online chat; telepresence solutions, etc.) combined with economic and environmental concerns equal ever more growth of the teleworking phenomenon: It’s convenient and cost-effective for both worker and employer; it takes into account the growing number of independent consultants and freelancers; it allows for globe-spanning team interactions; forecasts show it can be a huge carbon emissions reducer (fewer people driving to work); businesses report more productive workers.

“Convergence” is the word of the day when it comes to mobile devices. The hottest so far have been those that combine as much as possible into one gadget—talk, text, e-mail, Web, gaming, video, etc. Who and what will be the next game-changer? The true innovators thus far have been relative outsiders to the telecom game (RIM’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, Amazon’s Kindle, Google’s Android).

Despite our current culture of doing more with less, when it comes to technology, people still want more, better, faster and more flexible. We’ll see battles between competing technologies that will ultimately lead to better infrastructure for wireless data and quality of connections.

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