1. A transformation, as by magic or sorcery.
Havana has given us much more than cigars. It was there, in 1848, that Antonio Meucci filed and was awarded patent (caveat #3335) for his invention of the telephone. Meucci never commercialized his vision. He lost his patent because he was not able to pay renewal fees. Though Meucci died in poverty, his vision, some 160 years, has so transformed how human beings work, play, learn, and earn, that it truly must be described as a metamorphosis.
How else but by some magic or sorcery could the original idea of point to point wired voice communications have evolved to our current world of wireless, ubiquitous, and mobile connectivity? Today, there are several nations which have more cell phones than citizens. Some two billion people today have subscriptions for mobile services. These devices, and the applications, services, content, and community they embody, are themselves platforms for the idea of convergence in all its forms – technological, commercial, cultural, and educational.
Their potential for human advancement and engagement are only just being conceived. Most obviously, our mobile devices have become more than mere telephones, they are also game consoles, computers, cameras. But the limits of their uses are only just being explored. Imaginative communities, entrepreneurs, and individuals have put mobile and wireless technologies to use as vital agents of public health, as tools for encouraging civic engagement, as hubs for social and cultural connectivity and networking, as critical infrastructure of emergency planning and preparedness, as broadcasting devices, as catalysts of commerce and banking, as educational and instructional aids, and even as fashion accessories.
Their implications for the global economy can not yet be fully imagined. Beyond the core industries, engineers, product developers and scientists who have been designing the algorithms, software, hardware and infrastructure for mobile telephony, there are now also countless individuals, communities, and companies collaborating, innovating, and instigating new applications, services, and content.
Like so much else in the increasingly networked learning and innovation environments we now inhabit, the mobile phone has become a platform for enormously imaginative collaboration by citizens at their laptops in their living rooms, as well as by coders in their labs.
We at the newly formed Mobile Future Coalition are excited by these developments, and inspired by the implications of mobile technology for our nation, our communities, and our families. We believe that innovation in mobile and wireless technology will only accelerate, and in so doing serve the greater good. We believe that we are still in the very early days of our era of mobile technology. And to ensure its continued evolution and innovation as a force for economic, cultural, scientific and community advancement, all stakeholders who care about mobile technologies – industry, communities, governments, the academy, the media, and individual innovators – will benefit by learning from each other, by listening to each other, and by collaborating with each other.
That is what Mobile Future is about. Our aim is to be an open, accessible and value-added educational platform for bringing all those who care about the mobile technologies together in common cause to discuss and learn about key issues that will impact the continued metamorphosis of the mobile and wireless technologies as a key engine for economic and social growth and innovation in the United States and around the world. We especially hope to serve as a useful and sturdy bridge between those who innovate and those who regulate to ensure the greatest possible transparency, openness and mutual education.
Join us. Collaborate with us. Though we are 160 years on from Antonio Meucci’s remarkable innovation, in the grander scheme of things, we have only just begun. Let us know what you are thinking.