Monday, March 30, 2015

Dr. Faulkner: Economic Impact of Mobile Devices

I continue to reflect on how mobile devices have changed society and have changed my life.  I can’t remember anyone’s phone number anymore because I just select their name from my contact list and touch the screen.  On the other hand, I had not given much thought to the economic impact until I received the March issue of The Rotarian.  Here are some thought provoking statistics from their article:

-Mobile device users downloaded more than 30 billion apps in 2011 creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the app industry.  (Kudos to Dan Arena for teaching app creation in his Intro to Programming class.)

-Among small businesses in the U.S., 94% said mobile devices improve efficiency, 67 % said their companies would lose competitive ground without this technology.

-Around the world, there are 3.4 billion subscribers to mobile phone services.  The mobile phone industry generated more than $2.4 trillion or 3.6% or of the world-wide gross domestic product.

-Less than half of Nigeria’s population has access to electricity and clean water but people are signing up for mobile services at a rate of almost one every second.  (Perhaps that widow of a Nigerian government official that wants to send me $100,000 should invest it in mobile services.)
The global market for mobile wallet systems (like Apple Pay) is expected to hit $127.5 billion by 2020.

-The cell phone has been the most quickly adopted consumer technology in history.  Ninety-seven percent of U.S. households have mobile phones; 40 percent of them are mobile phone only households.

-Mobile phones contain valuable reusable materials, but less than 10 percent are recycled in the U.S.   The other 90 percent are worth $5 billion.  (Anyone want to start-up a mobile phone recycling business?)

The question for us then is: “Are our programs taking full advantage of the sea change in society and the economy?”

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