Mobile technology is poised to radically change the global economy by eliminating many jobs and entire industries. But this shift to virtual tools, documents and services will also create a host of new opportunities that will literally be at users’ fingertips.
This brave new wireless world will have a profound impact on public and private sector organizations, said Michael Saylor, chief executive officer of Microstrategy and author of “The Mobile Wave-How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything.”
Speaking at this week’s Government Information and Analytics Summit in Washington, D.C., Saylor said he predicts that mobile devices will cause half the global economy to become obsolete or to change by “dematerializing” into virtual services. Brick and mortar facilities such as public libraries, some industries and service jobs may disappear entirely as they are replaced by virtual services that anyone can access from a smart phone or tablet.
“More people have access to mobile telephony than running water,” Saylor said, noting that mobile devices are already saturated across developed and developing countries.
Saylor offered some specific examples of how his prediction could become real.
Mobile devices will soon allow patients to take certain types of medical data, such as images from magnetic resonance scanners, and have it processed in minutes by a doctor anywhere in the world, at a fraction of the cost that it would take to do it locally. Whether or not governments allow this type of care shopping is another question, but the technology is swiftly making these kind of service markets a reality, he said.
As handhelds get more sophisticated and share information with each other and appliances such as the latest smart flat screen televisions, an environment of billions of interconnected devices will be created.
There will be several effects caused by the upcoming mobile wave, Saylor said. The first will see many products and services becoming “liquid” or virtual. Car keys, cash and passports will become virtual and secure. Even if a device is stolen, advanced access and personal identification technologies will make it very hard to forge or compromise personal virtual identification and identity credentials, he said.
Mobility will allow products to redefine themselves. For example, mobility will allow virtual credit cards to automatically change their passwords every few seconds, which coupled with sophisticated authentication, will make business transactions both easier and more secure, Saylor said.
When products can redefine themselves, so will entire markets. The formation of the European Union has created a single continental trading bloc. More importantly, this block meshes with North America, and parts of Asia into a large economic trading network that uses English as its primary language and follows U.S. business laws and standards.
All of these influences will be accelerated through the use of mobile technology Saylor noted that a six year old girl in Pakistan can learn dozens of languages through a tablet computer, but the language that she will most probably learn will be English.