The Benefits of Mobile Technology on Society, Business, Medicine, and Education Research has suggested that mobile technology has created many positive changes and benefits for developing nations as well as advanced countries. It has promoted sociological and economic benefits in society by changing how people interact in both personal and business settings, as well as creates new office conditions. Additionally, advancements in mobile medical technology has allowed for better treatment and monitoring of patients in previously more difficult geographic locations. Lastly, with the advent of mobile applications and increased cellular coverage, a progressive educational standard in developing nations has begun to emerge. Social and business communication is constantly evolving with the times. This impacts how people work together as well as how they do business. With the advancements in mobile technology, there have been many positive benefits to economic and social growth.
In Sub-Sahara Africa, cellular towers are being built at a rapid pace. According to a study, nearly 60% of the population lives with mobile phone coverage, and the subscription rate between the years 2002 and 2007 increased by 49% (Aker & Mbiti, 2010). With such a large growth, subscribers were able to communicate more effectively with family and business partners. In times of unrest or ecological disasters, people with mobile phones were able to contact their families and were more aware of potential hazards. From an economic stand-point, this allowed farmers or investors to make more effective plans to reduce financial loss. As a result, the study noted a reduction of the dispersion of grain prices throughout the market by 10%. This was due to mobile phones allowing farmers to find the best prices based on the information they were able to get. In Niger, mobile phones aide laborers that would have to travel into the closest city to find daily work; however, with cell phones they were able to save money on travel costs by having the ability to call acquaintances to find out about job opportunities. With the increase of mobile coverage in technologically disadvantaged regions, small businesses are able to “leap-frog” the digital divide, effectively making them competitive with high-tech industries (Dholakia & Kshetri, 2005). A study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited found that 74% of American teenagers used text messaging as their primary source for exchanging information privately, and as many as 80% of mobile phone subscribers stated that their mobile was very important for setting up family and business arrangements.
With so many people depending on mobile technology, there have been changes with how businesses operate. During 2012, the Australian mobile sector saw an increase of 2.2% employment, with a 4.3% GDP overall gain (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, 2013). Another study found that M-Commerce (mobile) saw $4.7 billion in sales during one business quarter within the US, a 24% increase in one year (ComScore, 2013). Such large boosts in mobile retail are driven by the ease of access coupled with the desire to use mobile technology. Additionally, mobile technology has promoted telecommuting for many businesses. In a study on the impacts of team telecommuting, researchers found that work output was increased, while there was a monetary decrease on the business due to a reduction in workspace needed (Dutcher & Saral, 2013). The usage of mobile devices, such as laptops and cell phones, allows employee to work from any location, day and night, creating 24-hour business and increasing their overall productivity. Mobile technology is not just cell phones or laptops, but is mobile device that connects users or products. Another common mobile technology that is changing how businesses operate is RFID chips, or Radio Frequency Identification. RFID can be found in many aspects of our daily lives, including credit cards, computers, or warehouse inventory. Businesses that utilize RFID chips have been found to have “Reduced shrinkage in the supply chain, due to reductions in: theft, spoilage and product diversion”, and “Improved sales, due to lower out of stocks” (Subirana, Eckes, Herman, Sarma, & Barrett, 2003, pg. 20). More so, with the usage of RFID chips, there was heightened efficiency between interdependent departments due to improved accuracy of inventory. The medical field is often closely connected to technology.
With advancements in technology, medicine gains newer, more sophisticated ways to diagnose and treat patients. In one such case, psychologists were able to use mobile technology to treat patients suffering from mental health disorders. The patient receives a cell phone, which would send them an SMS (text messages) reminder when it was time to complete their modules for cognitive behavioral therapy (Norris & Schwarts, 2013). The patient would send feedback messages on their overall mood, allowing them to receive additional support when depressive episodes were detected. Doctors noted that the usage of SMS increased the sociological connection between themselves and their patients. This produced better results and encouraged the patient to continue treatment. Therapists also used MMS (multimedia messaging) and mobile cameras for sessions that required facial expression and body language recognition. This allowed direct communication with the patient, producing positive results. There was evidence that mobile video therapy is equally as effective as face-to-face treatment (Norris & Schwartz, 2013). In another situation, HIV/AIDS patients in Malawi receive daily SMS messages to remind them to take their medication (Aker & Mbiti, 2010). Mobile technology is allowing developing nations to gain a better grasp on their patient treatment and communication. Within the US, the Nation Institute of Health is actively promoting the advancement of mobile technology. In an effort to provide better access to health information, new mobile websites and applications have been created for mobile phone users, which would allow them to search for resources available to This includes access to a full medical encyclopedia, drug information, and images.
Furthermore, real time chemical sensors have been created utilizing mobile technology. The sensors are able to monitor for exposure to life-threatening environments and send data to laboratories for immediate analysis (NIH MedLine Plus, 2011). Other possibly devices are being developed, further connecting medicine with mobile technology. An educational standard is often the focus in many countries, many that do not have the means to reach all of their citizens. In some countries, the illiteracy rate is a massive detriment to the population. However, with the implementation of mobile technology, great strides have been accomplished. In a study conducted in Niger, two groups were given mobile phones in order to work on literacy and numeracy. As of 2010, Niger reported a 71.3% illiteracy rate, while the region of the study was at a staggering 90% illiteracy rate (Aker, Ksoll, & Lybbert, 2010). Using the mobile phones to teach reading and math, after one year, test results had improved.
SMS was also used for communication, further encouraging reading improvement. A global study found that younger generations are gaining access to mobile devices at earlier ages and are able to learn how to use them quicker. This is giving them a competitive edge in the workplace as they grow up and are adapting to newer technologies faster (Bracey & Culver, 2005). In an effort to take advantage of younger netizens access to different mobile technologies and to appeal to their interests while promoting education, new applications have been created.
Mobile Assisted Language Learning is software designed to engage people with foreign languages, using either voice or SMS, and native speakers. It is able to be downloaded to an iPod or mobile phones, giving users immediate access to the application, as well has being able to utilize the internet functions for additional support (Chinnery, 2006). With immediate access to this and similar learning applications, people are able to increase their knowledge from any location. Utilizing mobile technology with a generation that is adapting quickly will help close the digital divide between modern technology and education.
Mobile technology takes on different forms beyond the basic cell phone, yet even the simplest of these has created benefits that simplify life. Often it is able to do more than that by connecting people from difficult terrain or impoverished regions. Mobile technology can give people access to required information that can protect their livelihood or give them a business advantage. The medical field benefits from the advancing of mobile technology, allowing a more wide-spread ability to aid those in need while maintaining the necessary communication with their patients. While education can capitalize on the ease of mobile technology to bring literacy and numeracy to those who need it most in third-world countries, or engaging the progressive youth in high-tech countries with increased opportunities to learn. Without being able to adapt quickly and gain access to information immediately, you lose the ability to remain competitive. Mobile technology is not only our future, but it is our present as it continues to advance and benefit each aspect of our lives.
Aker, Jenny C., & Mbiti, Isaac M. (June 1, 2010). Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa. Washington D.C. Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 211. Aker, Jenny C., Ksoll, Christopher, & Lybbert, Travis J. (September 13, 2010). ABC, 123: The Impact of a Mobile Phone Literacy Program on Educational Outcomes. Washington D.C. Social Science Research Network Collins, Francis S. (2011). Mobile Technology and Health Care. NIH Medline Plus. Retrieved September 3, 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter11/articles/winter11pg2-3.html Subirana, Brian, Eckes, Chad C., Herman, George, Sarma, Sanjay, &