Some examples of what’s happening? Very easy: it’s under everybody’s eyes. Apple just introduced the iPhone, a new phone that is substantially an iPod + a phone. Few days ago Apple relaunched and presented the new iPod touch, that is nothing less that an iPhone – the phone!!!
Funny but very interesting because it is the signal that the long waited CONVERGENCE is now going on. It is happening really. The hardware and software industry is now producing compact transportable devices which SUM UP many different functions all-in-one: phone, agenda, notebook, calculator, music player, video player, voice recorder, radio, web browser, email, etc. Almost everything can be done with a new generation device.
What does this means for us? Many things. Let’s say I imagine two possible scenarios: the first one more advanced and sophisticated and the second one, easier but still very interesting.
- TOTAL use of mobile devices: it is characterized by the full use of the mobile device. Researchers, extensionists, consultants and other people which work for development will be able to have their office, and more than that, their knowledge and their relationships, in their pocket. Always in touch. Are you doing a meeting in the field and you need specific data? Browse the web and get the spreadsheet where you stored them. Need an answer from a colleague? Send an email or use the Instant Messenger. Want to share infos collected during the visit to the field? Upload immediately the images you shot or the interviews you recorded, etc…
- PARTIAL use of mobile devices: Pretty much the same BUT everything will be done in two different moments. Shooting images, recording interviews in the field, taking notes and collecting addresses, etc. will be done in the 1st moment. Then, once back in the office, with a very easy connection between your mobile device and the desktop pc, data will be transferred on the web for the final sharing with the other people involved in the same network.
Easy? I would say yes. So easy that, the second hypothesis is already available with a very minimal investment in equipment, and the first one could be available in a reasonable time.