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How Mobile Computing is Changing the World

October 20, 2014 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Thanks to humanities penchant for invention and constantly tinkering with things, the world is constantly developing and evolving. New technologies are constantly revolutionizing and improving all aspects of life, from business, to personal communication, to medicine and education. Out of all the developments in technology, mobile computing has been one of the most advanced. Mobile computing, whether in the form of smartphones or as tablets, has taken the world by storm over the past decade or so. While mobile computing hasn’t replaced everything in any particular field yet, it is well on its way to doing so across most aspects of life. Tablets can be found in businesses, hospitals, schools, homes, and anywhere else humans work. But how exactly have those slim devices with their slick touch screens changed various aspects of life?

Business

In the business world, mobile computing, in both tablet and smartphone varieties, has started to take over a number of different functions. For one, the mobility and flexibility provided by tablets means it’s incredibly easy for you and your employees to stay in touch via video conferencing programs like Skype and Blue Jeans no matter how far apart everyone is.

Another massive shift in the business world is the increasing prevalence of online procedures and content. While the Internet has been around for a number of decades already, mobile computing is putting more emphasis on businesses shifting some, or all (depending on the business), of their services and products online. SAP Business Innovation stresses the importance of businesses making their websites mobile friendly considering the increasing number of users connected on mobile devices.

Education

Looking at one school can be assumed to be like looking at any other. At least, in the past it could. The stereotypical view of schools having ordered rows of desks in the classroom with students opening textbooks and notebooks is beginning to change, thanks to tablets. One of the major changes is in what can be found in a student’s backpack. Before mobile technology shook things up, you could pick up any high school student’s backpack and let out a grunt with the weight of all the textbooks. Calculus, English Literature, Biology, History, Geography, and every other class had one or more textbooks that the student had to carry. That added up in weight and in books to deal with. Thanks to tablets, all that content can be stored and accessed from a single, light-weight device.

The Journal provides an interesting report on a few different ways teachers have used tablets to completely change how their classroom works. At Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA, for instance, an 11th grade physics and astronomy teacher has used tablets to open up his classroom to far more student creativity. Instead of dryly lecturing every day, he sets students up into small lab groups that then work with tablets and each other to control their own learning via routes the students choose. The teacher gives a goal at the beginning of class, say, investigating mirrors and lenses, and lets the students create their own presentations about it while providing support and feedback when needed. This approach allows students to collaborate with each other, provide feedback and critique to each other, and present more in-depth, creative reports and presentations about what they’ve learned.

Retail and Commercial

The retail and commercial world of stores and shopping has remained largely the same for most of history. Shoppers enter the store, look for the product they want, go to a cashier and check out. The only major difference over the centuries is the size of the store and the number of cashiers you might see. Tablets are changing the way check-out and customer service is working. With mobile Point of Sale systems on tablets allowing employees to cut their leash to a register, the entire shopping experience is beginning to change.

Business News Daily discusses how, in some locations, tablets are actually beginning to replace staff. Instead of a customer walking up to a cashier, they just check out their own purchase on a tablet POS set up by the door. But tablets help customer service with employees as well. An employee with a tablet-based POS system can wander the store providing customers immediate assistance and check-out services without needing to retreat to a booth or register location.

Medicine

Out of the fields mentioned here, medicine is one of the most fluid in that it’s pretty constantly changing. Or at least, it’s changed the most dramatically over the years. Unsurprisingly, tablets have begun to make their way into hospitals now as well to provide doctors and physicians with new ways to expedite a number of daily processes. Outpatient Surgery lists patient communication as one of the top benefits for mobile computing being used in a medical environment. There are apps out there that can drastically help a patient understand what they need to do before hospital visits or surgery. The specific one mentioned in the article is the SmartClinic app. It’s a free download for patients that will give them reminders and place notifications on their device about important appointments while also giving video instructions for pre-op preparation.

Tablets like Samsung Nook and Kindle are changing the world in almost every aspect. Mobility and flexibility is the name of the new game, and tablets can provide that across the board.