Mod5: Mobile Technologies

5.1 Market Opportunity Statement

Do you know more than 2 or 3 people that don’t have a mobile phone? In every part of the world, especially developing nations, far more people are “connected” by mobile phones than by traditional computers or televisions. And, now that more than half the population of our planet has moved into cities, those cities are being transformed into ubiquitous media environments through the implementation of broadband wireless and WIFI network infrastructures. The impact of this transformation is apparent in global companies like Nokia, if you work there you’re explicitly not allowed to call your handheld device a “phone” anymore – they are “multimedia mobile computers”. In North America it’s taken the iPhone to open people’s imaginations to the broader media potentials of mobile technologies.

  • Have a peek at the Mobile MUSE Network, David Vogt’s applied research project into the social and cultural potentials of emerging mobile technologies.

The concepts and companies involving mobile learning (often called mLearning) are various and often conflicting. For example, calculators and personal digital assistants (PDAs) have been in classrooms for a long time, but in most schools globally cellular phones are banned outright for their socially disruptive characteristics. Apple has invested heavily and somewhat successfully in iPods and podcasting for learning – will they break through the social stigma of the “phone” for learning with the iPhone?

Campuses and classrooms everywhere are just beginning to understand how students with laptops in wireless environments can break out of the traditional architectures of learning environments. The unsurpassed reach and anytime/anywhere accessibility of mobile technologies make them an ideal emerging market for learning.

  • One of the MUSE incubator early-stage companies, Linguacomm, has developed patented technologies to provide ESL via mobile phone within a product called English 2 Go.