Last week we saw Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Clint Eastwood make their pitch to the American people that Mitt Romney should be President and that we should adjust our government more towards a supply side economic model, putting power almost entirely in the hands of businesses and corporations. This week we’ll hear Barack Obama’s argument for his strategy. Unsurprisingly the focus during this election cycle is the economy–which, although it seems to be at the bottom of an uptick, continues to recover very slowly from the ravages of the Depression. Did I say depression? I meant Recession! LOLZ, right folks? Anyway, we’ve heard a lot about the energy industry, too–should we invest in green energy with tax payer dollars or merely further deregulate the Oil, Coal and Natural Gas industries? That’s just one of the questions. And it’s a valid question–a question whose answer we need to be talking about. But you know what they haven’t been talking about in the Republican and Democratic conventions so far though? Mobile technology. Good golly gumdrops! Why not? Mobile technology is among the most important evolving industries in our country and in the world! By making us more connected and opening up the lines of communication between people all over the world, it can lead to collaborations and innovations that will change everything!
You know it’s just like I’ve always said: “Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” But today I would tack on mobile phones onto this statement. ”Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women and/or of the power of mobile phones & mobile technology.”
So why wasn’t mobile technology item no. 1 during both the Republican and Democratic conventions this year? It beats me. But what do I know? I’m just the Ghost of Ronald Reagan. Well, you can be sure we won’t neglect to talk about that important subject in this blog post.
In developed countries, everyone has officially gone crazy for smartphones. According to a recent study by Forrester, the majority of working adults consider smartphones a modern-day necessity. The need for mobile phones – particularly feature phones – is rapidly becoming global. But necessity has a completely different face in developing countries. In the developed world, we use smartphones largely for entertainment and work/life efficiency. Some people don’t even know what word “app” comes from, That’s how important application development has become for the millions of smartphone owners across the globe. In smaller, underdeveloped countries, mobile users are primarily concerned with simple communication (that is: voice, text, some email) and educational purposes.
Global Mobile: The Numbers
· Mobile Usage Growth Since 2000 – The rate at which the global mobile phone market has grown is pretty remarkable. In fact, that’s putting it lightly. Mobile phone technology is the fastest-growing communication technology in history. To put things into context, it took 128 years for regular landlines to reach 1 billion people worldwide. Since the turn of the millennium, worldwide mobile phone use grew from 1 billion to 6 billion. That’s a jump of over 5 billion in less than 15 years. By 2015, international mobile phone market is expected to be closer to 100 percent of the world’s population. Yeah, remarkable is definitely an understatement.
· Usage in Underdeveloped Countries – The misconception surrounding mobile phone usage is that the bulk of these numbers are made up of users in first world countries. This couldn’t be further from the truth. By 2010, there were more mobile phone users in underdeveloped nations, than richer and more stable countries. In fact, roughly 77 percent of the world’s underdeveloped nations have access to mobile phones. Additionally, over 80 percent of Kenyan and Indonesian citizens are sending and receiving text messages, as we speak.
What This Means For the Global Economy
· Economic Growth – In basic terms, mobile technology helps people do their jobs better, and this dramatically affects growth in underdeveloped nations. For instance, mobile technology used by farmers and traders in Niger, India and Uganda produced income growth ranging from 19 percent to roughly 36 percent, according to a recent study by the World Bank.
· Income Distribution – The globalization of mobile apps has done a lot to level the income distribution playing field. A study conducted by The UN Chronicle from 2002 to 2006 showed that mobile phone usage significantly reduced income inequality in regions like Latin America and Southeast Asia.
· Poverty – Mobile technology diffusion on the global level has also proved to fight poverty in Latin America, according to the UN Chronicle. While the poverty shift isn’t as dramatic we’d like it to be, it is significant. The UN Chronicle report detailed that instances of mobile technology-powered poverty reduction could benefit from better networks, and mobile tech stability on an infrastructural level.
When reading information like this about how mobile tech is changing the world, it’s easy to be overly skeptical or overly optimistic. The reality is mobile tech is empowering citizens in third-world countries to work better and enrich their lives. The expanding market is also creating an open space for global developers to build geo-specific apps to meet the needs of local citizens. On the flipside, mobile networks on the global level need a little TLC to reach the largest amount of people in a sustainable way. In other words, the international mobile future is bright, but needs a little help.