When Steve Jobs first took to the stage at the annual Macworld conference back on January 9th, 2007, surely even he—with his seeming prescient wisdom—could not have predicted just how much Apple’s then ground-breaking iPhone would change the world.
Up until the launch of the iPhone, mobile computing devices were largely limited to rather cumbersome machines, with the majority of internet use being conducted on fixed-line connections and desktop units. The launch of the iPhone changed all that—putting computers more powerful than those that took man to the moon squarely in the palm of a new generation of internet users.
The iPhone effect
It would be hard to over-emphasize just how much the iPhone changed the internet and our modern world. Where once internet use was very much dominated by desktops and, to a degree, laptops, the iPhone changed both how and where we could access internet services. Moreover, with a burgeoning app development industry a direct result of the iPhone, users could draw on the considerable native processing power of their phone (including camera, microphone, processors, etc.) to give a fundamentally more rewarding and immersive internet experience.
The iPhone forced faster mobile connection speeds and helped create an entirely new branch of mobile computing, including the development of tablets, smartwatches, and other wearable tech.
The cloud, collaborative working, and changing operational practices
Depending on which statistics you believe, it’s now estimated that anywhere between 50% and 70% of all internet use is now made on mobile devices. Whether it be users checking their social feeds or employees using enterprise-level apps to augment their working day and stay in touch with colleagues, mobile tech is changing how we use the web in both a business and personal sense.
Today’s more forward-thinking, innovative firms are embracing mobile devices and software to transform both how and where their employees can perform their roles. Coupled with quicker connection speeds (for example, 5G mobile), more powerful devices, and the burgeoning cloud services provision market, firms can now operate a fully functional mobile workforce with employees able to work in any location where they can find an internet connection.
Modern cloud-based collaboration apps are making it easier than ever for employees to work together in virtual offices—each logging in and working together in real-time on files with live updates. Moreover, using these applications, HR professionals can keep a closer handle on how workers are performing to help streamline production and reduce potential employee downtime.
Location-based services—one of the key game changers of mobile services and apps
Of course, mobile internet access isn’t just massively convenient—it can also bring another entirely different level to the usefulness and specificity of internet services. Mobile web use has increased exponentially in recent years, and one of the main reasons for this growth has been the fact that mobile connections also know exactly where you are, meaning internet providers can provide you with a far more tailored, location-dependent service.
In particular, Google has been quick to embrace the power of on-the-go technologies and now offers dedicated mobile search functions, based purely on location and user proximity. Indeed, Google has been quick to push all aspects of its mobile services—prioritizing sites that are optimized for quick and easy use on devices using a so-called responsive format.
SMS services can also use geo location targeting
It’s not just web services and apps that can make use of geo information on our devices—SMS and messaging channels have also been quick to jump on the geographical bandwagon. With SMS geo targeting, marketing specialists and their clients can contact potential customers at specific times if the user’s device happens to fall within a predetermined geofencing area. So, for example, a food outlet could check for users near their store and send details of special offers at that particular time of day.
This mobile marketing revolution is empowering firms to send intelligent product and service recommendations, all targeted to those users most likely to take advantage of the deal i.e. those closest to the store. In very real terms, this can give companies a significant competitive advantage over their rivals by running direct, bespoke, highly targeted promotions.
It’s worth remembering that the modern internet only recently turned 30, so it could very easily be argued the web is only now reaching any kind of maturity. When you consider just how far the internet has come in such a relatively short time (anyone remember those fixed-line, tethered, dial-up connections of just 15 or so years ago?), it’s clear to see that today’s online world is constantly changing and evolving. Certainly, it seems beyond question that mobile web use will play an increasingly significant role in the net of the future—likely compounded by emerging tech such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality, to name just a few.