Life for homeless persons in the city is not getting easier and funding of their basic needs has gone beyond the capabilities of tax-driven efforts. A perspective that has perhaps not been explored as much is what role smartphones and mobile applications can play in assisting homeless people in urban areas?
Homeless people lack a mail address and their ability to be reached is connected to their mobile phone. Their mobile phone is used as their primary connection point and serves as a valuable tool for staying in touch with providers of temporary shelter, meals and activity centers. With the evolution of marketing and payment applications, their mobile phone could now become even more valuable.
Targeted coupons can be offered in exchange for free meals or free food purchases. The funding can come from participating stores or direct from ‘cityzens’ who want to support the homeless in their city. A digital contribution chain could reduce administration costs and increase the value of contributions reaching the people who need it most.
Proactive monitoring is a high-priority healthcare innovation for the growing elderly population. This technology can be adapted to support remote monitoring of health status for homeless as a step towards enhancing basic care. This is another area where tax-subsidized efforts are unlikely to be sufficient and where crowd-funding through targeted social responsibility campaigns can be created.
Staying social and active is vital for the homeless population. Having universal access to the billboard at the activity center might trigger the extra visit to the workshop, drama, painting, music or meeting opportunity being offered.
Here are my predictions for the importance of smartphones for homeless people in the cities:
– Access to a personal smartphone, and support for keeping it charged, is a vital enabler of a better life for homeless persons in the city.
– Targeted applications supporting the homeless and the poor have become a growing focus for private and company-sponsored social responsibility efforts in cities.
– The platform created by smartphones and mobile applications will mean small but important improvements for vulnerable social groups in cities.
An important part of city life starts and ends with air travel. In the US, 642 million passengers flew on 8.4 million domestic flights during 2012. So how can network technology go from a gate-to gate experience to an enhanced door-to-door experience?
Frequent flyers have embraced electronic boarding passes to make their lives easier. Less frequent travelers might not appreciate this new technology but surcharges by low cost airlines for paper tickets and paper boarding passes have converted both types of travelers. We are now beginning to get more refined flight information on-line: notification of delays, progress on stand-by lists and alternative options. This means less work for the screen at the gate and more information in your palm about your trip.
Wi-Fi is widespread in lounges at airports and in the waiting areas inside the terminals. However, few are accessible without a special access code or even at all in the check-in area. As so much information is collected at the booking and required en route, the addition of effortless airport coverage is the next big thing off the plane. Who wouldn’t like to check the box for “Device connectivity at airports en route” when booking a trip?
The entertainment screen in the chair in front of you has been an integrated part of the flying experience for decades. It’s about to get seriously challenged by the tablets most travelers bring on board. The only aspect missing is network capacity on board to support streaming entertainment services. Investing more in network capacity and less on commercial rights and video/DVD/Blu-ray players on board is a mainstream trend.
Last but not least, the networked flight attendant will be updated in the air about the impact of any weather-related delays, mechanical problems or slot times. Tablets and super-sized smartphones are becoming the new work horse to serve you better as you approach the end of your flight. Will I make my connection? Will I need any support for expedited rush between terminals? How long is the immigration line? Am I re-booked on a new flight already?
My predictions for the future of networked aviation are:
– The journey towards connecting airports, planes and passengers is in its infancy and represents the single most important source of adding values to air travel.
– Our smartphones will remain the key touch point for updates on day of travel, and will take over as the primary booking tools for trips.
– Our tablets will become the new personal entertainment screen as soon as satellite capacity allows for streaming during flights.
– Integrating taxi/bus/metro transport with networked aviation will extend the gate-to-gate experience all the way to a door-to-door experience.
Modern “cityzens” expect mobile coverage and capacity wherever they go. Providing infrastructure for good mobile-data coverage and capacity is as important as public transportation, electricity, water and sewage. The question I want to address in this post is: how do operators leverage the capabilities of small cells to power-up performance in public spaces?
“Cityzens” spend more time travelling to and from work than their rural peers. It’s of great interest to them to turn this time into valuable professional or private time. This is an opportunity to catch up on their mailboxes and is prime time for social media interactions. This is driving demand for an increase in network capacity in the places where we spend time outside of home and work, for example at bus, train and subway stops and along major road and rail routes.
“Cityzens” who spend a significant amount of time in high-rise offices, multi-dwelling homes or hotel buildings are ofter above the normal mobile/cellular coverage levels. These users still expect that their mobile voice, data and video services will work just as well in these locations as on the ground level. To secure coverage in these places, special indoor solutions are needed to bring a vertical coverage dimension into play.
In addition to using time efficiently, “cityzens” are also keen to have coverage and capacity in their favorite relaxation spots. They want to watch a video clip or parts of a drama series or read an e-book in their favorite outdoor plaza; enjoy a relaxing moment under a tree or by a bench in the park together with their device or simply take a stroll through popular part of town. The scenarios are numerous and well known to all of us.
Finally, security and safety of “cityzens” – a priority for city governments – is dependent on high coverage and capacity city wide. Dedicated networks will inevitably fall short on the coverage and capacity expectations or will shoot budgets to exceptionally high levels prompting city administrators to leverage highly-dense mobile data networks.
My predictions of the future of network performance in public city spaces are:
– Mobile “app coverage” and capacity to meet citizen demand is the most import infrastructure development for cities in the near-term.
– “Cityzens” will leverage a mix of 3G/4G/Wi-Fi access to get their needs satisfied, provided there is a common business model across all three technologies.
– Coverage and capacity in public places will distinguish powered-up cities from those that are struggling to meet expectations.
– Access modernization will be done through a combination of macro-grid densification, small-cell introduction and Distributed Antenna System deployments in a variety of deployment scenarios.
Work has forever been a task associated with a distinct location – the workplace. Many professions, dependent on a phone and PC as primary tools, have changed allowing the possibility to work from alternative locations like the home. The service-centric professional life in the city and widespread availability of tablets and smartphones allow for many tasks to be executed wherever you are. So, how prepared are you for the “here-office” reality?
The services and sales sectors have embraced mobile devices extensively. Initially, the applications have been e-mail and interaction-centric. However, the mobilization of existing online service and sales processes is reshaping what “cityzens” will work with – and where they will work – in the future. Remote access to e-mail was a revolution, and now we are about to enter the next one.
The office is becoming more and more mobile. Expensive floor space in urban areas calls for a continued reduction in office space per employee. Many professions require work to be executed at clients’ locations. Lengthy urban commutes represent valuable work or leisure time, which could be used more efficiently. The sum of all these factors is pushing work out of both the office and the home to ever newer locations.
This evolution makes ubiquitous coverage and capacity a central question in the city. The professional applications and evolving use cases represent the largest untapped potential that network enhancements can serve. “Cityzens” will take it for granted. Employees need it to drive productivity, and the urban society cannot develop up to its potential without it.
My predictions for the future of the “here-office” are:
– More and more work tasks will be executed outside the office and home locations.
– The mobile working standard for a globetrotting salesperson today will penetrate more and more service sectors in the city.
– Increased coverage and capacity for a mobile-device-centric working environment will be vital for societal development in the city.
– The combination of HSPA (urban/suburban coverage), LTE (urban capacity) and Wi-Fi (device availability) will shape the future wireless access networks.
Business life in the city has developed around a strong service sector in a variety of enterprise segments. As the global market is reshaping the future of businesses in general, with advanced ecosystems and strong niche players, local city life will also change. So how does and will the cloud, collaboration and connectivity contribute toward creating competitive companies in cities?
The digital or networked economy is thriving on advanced ecosystems, with market makers and contributors all playing key roles. Large global players focus on providing powerful business platforms, to be broadly exploited. Local, niched companies focus on the segment that can be supported over the platform. As we move forward, technology will become essential in a variety of non-tech companies and here cross-company collaborations will be key.
A networked collaboration environment allows the service sector in a city to expand its collaborations beyond companies within or even close to that city. As a city business, you can collaborate with peers in other cities facing the same challenges. You can link up with niche specialists in other cities to address the missing links for your proposition. You can leverage best practices globally from leading niche providers. Last but not least, as a leader in your city, you can expand quickly.
With a complex ecosystem and many niche contributions, you are unlikely to meet many of your business partners in real life. You will instead meet them through networked brainstorming sessions using virtual whiteboards. You will meet them using videoconferencing tools in order to give your partnership a face. With fewer/vaguer borderlines between companies, you will see rapid adoption of video communication/collaboration with integrated project management tools – all enabled and powered by applications in the cloud.
My predictions for the future of cloud collaboration are:
– Cloud-based communication and collaboration will be mission-critical infrastructure for competitive companies in cities.
– Advanced ecosystems and niche players will create the foundation for your company’s expansion of offerings beyond your core skills.
– In addition to niche companies, the collaboration opportunities will open up new opportunities for young “cityzens” to collaborate as individual contributors in early stages of their careers.
– Video and shared whiteboards will move out of conference rooms and become basic tools in any collaboration room/screen.
– The collaboration needs will quickly move beyond rooms to contributors’ personal screens.
Widespread availability of location capabilities has enabled a range of new applications showing where we are. We also have applications allowing us to show which of our friends are in the neighborhood right now, without connecting in advance. The ability to share where we are and letting technology keep track of suggestions on who to connect with in real life here and now is transforming social patterns in the city.
We plan less in advance on what to do and when to do it. We let opportunities and the moment guide what we decide to do. These shorter decision cycles also raise expectations on instant appreciation for what we decide to do. If it is not good, we always have the option to shift to a new place or activity nearby. These social patterns represent a significant new factor for many businesses labeled as social meeting places, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, stores and arenas.
A new lifestyle is emerging around applications that allow us to meet new people based on proximity of interests and locations. Who around me shares my interests and would be an interesting person to meet? Is anyone interested in sharing travel memories over a cup of coffee? Is there anyone else in this hotel who prefers company rather than eating alone tonight? This may not be adopted quickly by the middle-aged population, but it could become a new factor in the social life in the city for the younger generations.
Here are my predictions for the location/phone-enabled social life in the city:
– The planning horizon for social meetings will continue to shrink.
– Spontaneous meetings based on location, interest and mood will continue to grow in importance.
– Connecting first with a URL to meet soon ‘IRL’ will become an increasingly relevant scenario for how to make new social connections.
– Cityzens will be faced by more challenging privacy decisions on how much of their life to expose.