I recently spoke at an event about the role of mobile and big data. The two most useful examples related to health. The first was how the movement of mobile phones in Kenya helps to identify the movement of mosquitos and thus the spread of Malaria. The second was how Swedish and US researchers used mobile movements track people in the Haiti disaster area, and the number who had left subsequently. From this they could identify the number of missing people.
Could the same approach be made to manage the spread of Ebola? If health organisations could use location from the mobile operators it would be possible to see where people from infected areas have moved to (including overseas). From this they could spot where the virus might appear next. That could deliver a much faster response and to isolate the outbreaks more quickly. Just a thought. Or maybe it’s already being done?
And by that title, I mean, what is this blog all about?
I read somewhere that 70% of people don’t believe business blogs. In other words, most blogging for business is simply a form of low-grade spam to push the company’s products and site PR.
That’s not what I’m aiming to do with this. Of course, like anyone trying to earn a living, I would like this blog to help generate traffic for our sites and products, but what I want to do is provide real incite, opinions and debate. If that can add to the value of what we do as a company then great. If it doesn’t then that’s also fine.
The incite, opinions and debate that I am blogging here is about mobile phones, our relationship with these highly personal devices and what the network operators and other companies are trying to do with them.
The mobile phone is very interesting (but I would say that) because it is the most successful technology ever. Actually I’ll rephrase that. The wheel is the most successful techonolgy ever. The mobile phone is the most successful INFORMATION technology ever. There are 3 billion of them world wide. That’s more than PC’s or televisions. In developed countries pretty much everyone has one. Those that don’t have a phone have specifically chosen not to have one. Or they dropped it down the toilet and haven’t got round to getting a replacement yet.
The point is that with the mobile being such a ubiquitous yet personal technology, the impact that it can have is massive. And on the one hand, we are told by corporates and networks that we must have the latest smartphone, internet, face book app etc, most of us use our phones in spite of the networks, not because of them. SMS was never intended to be so important, yet in some countries such as the UK we send more texts than make voice calls. We are told that we will all have email on our phones, yet only 20% of people in the UK have that. And even with email, we still send SMS. Why?
These are the kinds of issues that this blog will look at. Please feel free to comment and participate as this is intended to be a place of genuine debate.