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One Word: "Mobile"

Plastics In the movie "The Graduate", the character played by Dustin Hoffman, Benjamin Braddock, is asked about his future and a successful friend of the family takes him out by the pool to tell him in secret about something revolutionary he must consider: "plastics" is what he's told with incredible seriousness (scene is here).

Played out today, this movie probably would've been set in Silicon Valley and the executive family friend would likely have been a venture capitalist pulling young Braddock aside to confide in him using this one word: "mobile".

Yes, mobile. With most phones quickly morphing in to computers in your pocket or purse with ubiquitous internet access to what's running in "the cloud", tens of thousands of useful applications connecting to a dizzying array of services, built-in GPS so your location (and whether you're 'on') can be leveraged for telling you things like what's the closest restaurant or movie theater, and that we can use voice (and soon Voice over Internet Protocol like Skype on 3G networks instead of just Wifi) means three things:

1) These devices will get more and more capable

2) The mobile internet will become increasingly core to our online experiences and intrinsic to our communication (and mobile networks will strain under the accelerating demand for data access)

3) The impact on access to information, on-demand learning and human connection and communication will continue to grow and our ability to foresee consequences of this impact are still emerging.

MarymeekerEarlier today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Morgan Stanley Managing Director, Mary Meeker, gave her eagerly anticipated annual presentation on the state of the global economy while being focused on the impact of internet-centric software and hardware technologies and the companies that supply them. 

Overall, Ms. Meeker points out that Morgan Stanley has identified several positive signs that the economy is recovering. There are many risks that impact all of us, and her overall presentation is worth going through slide-by-slide and pondering (it's available here for download or embedded below).

With respect to that huge trend in mobile, one that is key to this blog and one for you to consider deeply, her presentation was enlightening on several fronts, especially regarding the mobile market, social media use and growth rates.  

In the mobile section (starting at slide 28 in the embedded full slide deck), Meeker started out with this slide about the next major computing cycle:


Maryme29
 

Next key slide was this one about the "sweet spot" being hit in 2010 but the acceleration of users connected globally online with fast, 3G networks is estimated to be 3.4 billion people or 43% of the world's population:

Maryme33
 

The last slide I'll embed is one that should illustrate accelerating change in mobile more so than anything I could write and/or say. It's one that shows the adoption of the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, neither of which existed in the market just over two years ago and 58 million of them are already in the market:

Maryme36



COMMUNICATING TO MOBILE DEVICES

Make it easy for your site and blog visitors. No question you need to determine ways in which you can incorporate mobility and mobile access in to your communications and yes, in to your curriculum.

Wptouch A third party for the open source Wordpress platform, for example, has a plugin I use on several sites called WPTouch (which, by the way, was just adopted by the free Wordpress hosted Wordpress.com platform). 

With this plugin, it's trivial to make your Wordpress-driven website or blog mobile ready for the iPhone, iPod Touch or Google Android-driven mobile phones. Simply installing this plugin, tweaking a few modifications with some nice interface customizations if you so desire, and your Wordpress site/blog is mobile friendly. 

Since these are not the only mobile devices with modern browsers, there are other plugins with different approaches that can tap in to a wider array of device types. 

One thing is clear: The capability to make your communications mobile friendly has just begun and is changing by the week so there is little excuse to not deliver mobile accessible and pleasing communications.



ECONOMY AND INTERNET TRENDS

Since Ms. Meeker's presentation covered so much ground and is worth more than a cursory examination, I encourage you to go through the embedded presentation slide-by-slide and understand some of the implications with the data she presented this morning. One thing is certain: the negative connotations Benjamin Braddock obviously felt when he was encouraged to align his future with plastics doesn't exist in mobile...and the effects of nearly half the world's population connected to fast, mobile and ubiquitous networks by 2014 means that today's Benjamins will likely be impacted by mobile in ways no one can predict.

Mary Meeker's Internet Presentation 2009

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Accelerating Change are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.