Mobile devices are going worldwide. A study by the World Bank and infoDev found here estimates that three fourths of the world’s population has access to mobile devices. That hasn’t stopped the number of mobile subscriptions from coming close to passing the world’s population in numbers. We have moved from 4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2000 to 72 per 100 in 2010. That is a massive 1,500% increase. The world is changing, and from the farmers to the mobile developers, we are all going to feel it.
What does this all mean?
As mobile devices penetrate the population, it increases access to voice and text communication. That however is neither the most important nor has the highest impact. Access to mobile applications is changing lives all over the world. The ability to make cash payments without traveling and most importantly, basic mHealth apps that offer basic information on illnesses and symptoms as well as advice on their treatment. These basic things we take for granted every day are massive in underdeveloped countries.
Impact on Agriculture
All over the world, agricultural traders are increasing their profit margins for their products and it’s all because of mobile applications. Farmers all over are getting texts with information on current prices for goods and crops to give them the ability to sell at proper prices. Not only that, but farmers are getting weather information and alerts to keep them up to date to better plan and care for their crops. These are both huge when it comes to the welfare of these traders and farmers. India is seeing a 19% increase the margins of its potato farmers and Uganda is seeing a phenomenal 36% increase for its banana farmers. These numbers are a great example of the good mobile can do.
The availability of basic health information will have a long lasting impact. In countries where doctors training may be lacking now have access to mobile databases that are constantly updated with current symptoms, ailments, and treatments. This will save lives all over the world. Having the ability to find a treatment that even tells you what to give the patient and the recommended doses for size is a staggering improvement.
There are medical facilities that use phones and tablets to take pictures of patients for diagnosis advice from across the world. Improving correct diagnosis and treatment is a wonderful thing.
Another large benefit that is a little more obvious is an increase in communication. Two years ago at an earthquake in Haiti, the large phone company in the area provided phone data and use to help coordinate relief efforts and quicken the process to helping those that needed it. The ability to instantaneously contact loved ones is a huge benefit. Text messaging has even taken over as the most used method of communication.
What did we learn?
From all of this, what is important to take away is the fact that mobile is paving the way for many benefits. They are capable of improving income, reduce waste, improve welfare, and improve the efficiency of markets. There is an opportunity to do great things that go beyond just helping people. If local areas can start to learn and create mobile applications that are needed it is just one more step towards a bright future.
With an increase in phones around the world comes the increase in mobile marketing. Businesses are able to communicate with clients and potential customers like never before. People carry phones on the where ever they go, making mobile devices a prime target for advertisements. Mobile has even changed the way we interact with each other through the use of social media. We are more connected with each other despite not being together.
I feel that Mobile devices are just the beginning to the future. There is no telling where this will all lead however; there is a benefit to getting there.
Mobile devices are officially all around the world. They are connecting us like never before. We are seeing the first step towards a connected and informed populace all over the world. Mobile is pushing the medical field in a great way and is helping agriculture in underdeveloped countries to flourish. Mobile will do many things before it’s done, but that’s the exciting part. The mobile development world is every changing and shows no signs of stopping.