The ability to communicate easily with little incremental cost has also increased the interactions we have. A decade ago, it would have been difficult keeping up with the hundreds of people that are now there in our address books. Mailing lists also ensure that we can belong to various special interest communities. It does not matter where people are, or in which time zone they are – communications is near-real-time with most of them.
This trend will get accelerated in the future with the availability of always-on wireless data devices. We are already seeing the first signs of this in the popularity of SMS (Short Message Service) on cellphones. The cellphone is a personal device which is with us all the time. The next generation of cellphones will integrate better with the Internet, creating services that are location-aware (where we are), time-aware and personalised.
Mobile data access in developing and emerging technologies is driven by a fundamental need for basic communication services while that need isn’t as urgent in developed countries, according to a report by Telecompetition, Inc.
“Developing and emerging economies are highly motivated to build an infrastructure as quickly as possible,” stated Eileen Healy, president of Telecompetition. “Adequate communications infrastructure is widely recognized as a key success factor for emerging economies. Mobile networks can often be built more quickly than a traditional wireline infrastructure, and the new IP-based mobile technologies will provide a more cost-effective way for developing countries to expand both voice and data communications.”
In essence, wireless data capabilities make the Net-ready phone an affordable data terminal in poor countries, the report says.
The compression of time and distance can open up many opportunities. We have seen the Indian software industry use the 9-12 hour time zone difference with the US to its advantage (“we work while you sleep”). A similar trend is now starting to happen with call/contact centres based in India. Communications technologies bridge distances and open up opportunities for Remote Services out of India. This is perhaps India’s single largest opportunity to boost exports and earn foreign exchange in the next decade.