This week’s reading assignment went mobile, and the flow of the reading both overwhelmed and amazed me, but also gave me a few things to ponder, as usual. Let’s snowball all the information we got this week. Ready?
I’ve said it before on this blog, and I’ll say it again: my brain and numbers don’t often mix well. Knowing that, you should have seen me slogging my way through Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011-2016. It was a good thing there was fascinating information. 2011 was the fourth year in a row that global mobile usage doubled, the first year mobile traffic exceeded 50 percent, and also the first time mobile video exceeded 50 percent. Mobile access is now as common as its non-mobile computing counterpart.
But here’s the kicker: by the end of the year, it is predicted that the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population. The population of the WORLD, not just the first world, or the tech world. The world world. Think about that, and then say it with me, “Wow!”
Bring that knowledge into the second reading, a primer on QR codes and their use to support causes. Though QR codes have not typically been a very popular subject among my classmates (myself included), how can you argue using QR codes knowing there are so many mobile devices available to link those users to online information for your cause? It cannot hurt to put a QR code on everything you distribute relating to your cause if you’re trying to raise awareness. Numbers may make my head spin, but I’m not sure I can be unclear on this one.
Okay, let’s take both of these lessons into the next article about Apsalar. Apsalar creates and customizes mobile apps, by analyzing and re-targeting the app according to usage of the app. Consider this (keeping in mind the creepiness we’ve been feeling the last several weeks):
An app maker can target users based on how much they spend, their location, their lifetime value, their engagement level, whether they use iOS or Android, or custom events like whether they got past Level 5 or opened a shopping chart.
So we’ve taken these mobile users, directed them toward specific information about our cause (maybe our own app), and can now track and re-target their usage of the app to keep them in our grasp. Now, let’s get really customized and really tracked.
For the final article, we read “How smartphones are changing the face of mobile and participatory healthcare: an overview, with example from eCAALYX” and get another paradigm shift. We keep talking about the creepiness of all this information being used to track us, but now we’re presented with scenarios where it might be a good thing. The article discusses the rise in the use of apps, relating that in 2009 300 million apps were downloaded, but just two years later the number had jumped to 5 billion. This rise in the number of mobile devices and the ways in which people are using apps is creating a significant global cultural shift in communication.
In the field of medicine, mobile device apps are allowing for easier data collection by providing an uninterrupted data stream and availability for remote healthcare in developing nations through portability. So take it a step further, and doctors and patients can benefit from remote monitoring systems. In essence, doctors and other medical experts can track a patient at all times via mobile devices. The implications for diabetes and heart disease patients alone is incredible, but there are hundreds of medical conditions that can be monitored via mobile device – with or without patients inputting data. Also, there may be opportunities for patient health behavior modification through mobile tracking. How amazing is that: a stream of biomedical data, GPS tracking for location in case of emergency, and instant communication with professionals?
Is this sort of data transmission or data gathering too personal (think HIPAA), or do the benefits outweigh the invasion? How about for the customization of apps based on your personal information or usage? How do they compare?