Mobile technology: The amazing impact on our lives

Summary:When we think of mobile technology we usually think of processors, apps, and gadgets. That's fun to do, but it's more important we stop and think how profoundly it impacts our lives.

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iPad used to enable communication for patients otherwise unable

I've been passionately following mobile technology for decades. In the beginning, the mobile devices weren't very mobile and a strong back and arms were required to lug them around. They always had to be next to a power outlet, as there was no such thing as batteries.

The technology that drives mobile devices has improved a lot since those days, and especially in the last ten years. Mobile gadgets have gotten smaller, more powerful, and very useful. They are everywhere and play increasingly greater roles in the lives of most everyone. Availability of mobile devices is rapidly spreading throughout the world and making significant improvements in many lives.

It's worth taking a break from our obsession with how thin, light, and adaptable the hardware of mobile gadgets might be. While wondering what the next great phone or tablet may be is fun, it's not everything. What is important is how profoundly it's improving our lives, and the major roles these gadgets are assuming.

Mobile technology, in the form of phones, tablets, and notebooks, is making our lives better than ever before. It does this in many ways, not the least of which is making communications routine. We can be in touch with those we need to reach, whether work-related or personal in nature. 

We can send important files almost anywhere in the world in seconds so business is addressed when it is critical. We can collaborate with co-workers in real-time no matter how spread out they may be. We can get confirmation or approval of vital decisions on the spot. Mobile technology has changed the way we do business for the better.

Villagers in third world countries who have no local healthcare can be diagnosed and have treatment prescribed by distant healthcare providers.

Communication is wonderfully impacting our ability to stay close to friends and family. We can talk to them anytime to find out how they are doing. We can have video chats to not only stay in touch, but to reach out and touch with a nearly physical presence. Loved ones can share in special occassions from great distances as if they are in the same room. We can make funny faces for our kids when we can't be there with them, which is far more important than it sounds.

Brave soldiers who are valiantly serving our country in distant lands can see their newborn child thousands of miles away.

Never have we been able to share so much with friends and family than we can today, and that is in great part due to mobile technology. Without mobile devices and the technology behind them, participation in social networking would never have grown as much as it has. Sharing seemingly trivial information like where we are, what we are doing, and what that looks like significantly impacts our relationships with friends and loved ones.

Mobile technology has given a voice to those otherwise cut off from the world during cataclysmic events. That voice can reach out for help when local tragedy strikes, and for the first time these people are not alone. They can share their plight using mobile communication through text, voice, and, most importantly, images, and bring about real change.

On a less profound note, we can do simple things like pay for parking at meters with our phones. We can find out which bus we need to take and where to find it. We can accurately find places we need to be even when we have no idea where they are. We can explore new places and find new things that interest us with little effort.

We have more information in our hand than at any time in history. It has become second nature to quickly look up helpful resources for whatever activity we need to do. Our gadgets can even anticipate what information we need and present it to us when it is most useful.

These daily uses of mobile technology, frivolous though they might seem, have transformed us into a society more tightly connected with each other. We have true friends through such connections even though we may have never met them in person. We can converse with like-minded individuals all over the globe, and debate those with different views just as easily. This stimulates conversations never before possible, and the resultant friendships are just as strong as those in "real life." They have become real life, as a matter of fact.

While mobile technology has improved our daily lives on many levels, it has profoundly raised the quality of life for many. Healthcare is an area that has embraced mobile technology, and while it's still in the infancy of adoption of this technology, it is already making profound improvements for many.

Healthcare providers can review home medical tests from anywhere and make crucial changes to the patient's care. Medical staff members can receive pacemaker tests remotely using a phone and change the programming of the device to address changes in the patient's condition. Doctors can see intricate diagnostic images on phones and find conditions that need immediate treatment, all while the patient is comfortable at home.

Villagers in third world countries who have no local healthcare can be diagnosed and have treatment prescribed by distant healthcare providers. Patients in areas experiencing significant problems with counterfeit medications can use a phone at the point of purchase to confirm if a medication is legitimate. This is saving lives and improving healthcare every day for those affected.

Children with ailments such as autism are using tablets to help them focus and communicate with those around them. Patients recovering from strokes and brain injuries are using tablets to great effect in their recoveries. Patients of all ages are using mobile devices to communicate with healthcare providers and loved ones as they never could before.

People born without hearing are having implants that can be programmed by wireless technology that allows them to hear their children speak for the very first time. Text messaging on phones has made a tremendous impact on communication for the deaf. 

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Glucose meter and insulin pump

Diabetics can monitor their glucose level and have it wirelessly transferred to a small insulin pump that injects just the right amount to keep them where they need to be.

Blind individuals can use smartphones to not only improve their lives but also help achieve an incredible level of independence. Not only do these phones speak to the blind so they know what is displayed on the screen, they have software that can safely guide them out in busy cities. Mobile technology can help the blind pick out clothes for the day that match. The technology on smartphones can scan change received from a purchase and tell them how much was given.

This article just scratches the surface describing the benefits that mobile technology provides today. The technology is rapidly evolving and will help even more as time passes. We are in a fantastic era of mobile technology, and it is positively exciting to watch it unfold. When I stop and think of all the amazing benefits we are getting from this technology, I get goose bumps.

It's fun to wonder what the next tablet or phone might be like and what capabilities it might have, but that's just the little stuff. The improvements that are appearing in our daily lives, and society in general, is what really matters.

Mobile technology is enriching our lives. It is giving a voice to those without, either due to circumstance or medical conditions. It is making communication possible for those who live in a void. It is keeping distant loved ones close, and building friendships no matter the location of those involved. It is saving lives, and making healthcare possible for those otherwise without. It is bringing the world closer together — a truly amazing situation.

It's an exciting time to be watching mobile technology. There's no telling how far we will go with the technology of the not-too-distant future, but it will be a fantastic ride.

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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