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What is Mobility

By Technology - Posted on 24 December 2010

Mobile PhoneThis is a technology blog. Therefore, in our posts on mobility, we are not going to talk about all things that make people acquire the ability to move around . We will rather focus on wireless mobility technology here and focus on how this technology provides people greater ability to be productive while they are moving around and therefore are able to lead a more balanced life. We are talking about wireless mobility in the context of Information Technology.

Let us say you are in a shop. A product in display looks attractive. You want to buy it. However, you do not remember if there is enough money to spare in the bank account. You would like to check first. It is already 8pm in the evening and the bank will be closed.

From the above example we can understand that all of us need information to make decisions. In the past, you would have come back from the store empty handed. At home, you would have either checked your passbook for your account balance or would have scheduled a trip to the bank the next day. Once you ascertain that you have enough money to spare, you will need to go back to the store again to make the purchase. This purchase required two trips to the store and one trip to the bank in the worst case, along with your time away from other things you had originally planned to do. Imagine the extra cost, time and effort that was spent just because critical information was not available at finger tips to make a decision. The next day when you go back to the store, it is completely possible that the product you liked is already sold out. Imagine the disappointment at the end of spending all that time, effort and money.

Imagine the modern day situation. Now most people have mobile phones. Let us say your mobile phone number is registered with your bank. By sending a short text (SMS) from your phone to your bank, if the bank can text your bank balance back to you, the information you need for your purchase decision is now at your finger tips when you need it and where you need it. Your productivity (ability to do something faster, better, and cheaper) skyrockets. Your quality of life improves significantly. The banking application that texts you your bank balance is an example of a typical simple mobility application.

If we are tethered to a wire (telephone or home computer) or to a location (e.g., bank) to obtain information that supports decision making, it curtails productivity. Also we cannot carry around all the information we might need when moving around. What mobility technology attempts is to move information close to a user at the exact time and location where such information is required.

In life we come across a lot of mobile workers. Simplest examples are the mailman, the utility company agent who measures the energy meter readings, technicians who repair telephone and cable TV or the doorstep sales people of product/service companies. Much of repetitive and unproductive work by these mobile workers are eliminated today by the use of mobility applications. People who do life saving work (e.g., a heart surgeon) are able to have a life and move around because of mobility applications. We will see more about this technology in future posts.

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