Ubiquitous, intimate computing: That is what a 4G network means to local software developer Carl Erickson, the president of Atomic Object.
Erickson was one of five mobile technology experts on a panel to discuss the implications of a 4G network at the first Mobile Monday Grand Rapids meeting at the JW Marriot.
About 100 people, with cell phones appropriately in hand, attended the event and tweeted questions and thoughts as the speakers discussed a "paradigm-shift in technology."
The event provides a space for mobile-technology lovers to hash out ideas and network in Grand Rapids.
"Hopefully more people are inspired to do something useful," said Doug Lang, of Red Pigeon. "We want MoMoGR to be about the progress of useful and meaningful mobile technology."
Lang organized the free event and admits the new Grand Rapids chapter, following Ann Arbor and Detroit, is looking for "geeks and gurus" but welcomes anyone who has a flair for technology.
As for the people who should be tapping into these meetings? Lang and Erickson said small business owners are missing out if they aren't realizing the potential of mobile devices.
"As a business person, mobile is lifeblood for us," Erickson said. "The most exciting market for us is entrepreneurs because businesses are now thinking: Is my application better on the web or mobile?"
"In 2009 the amount of revenue coming from mobile at Atomic Object was immeasurable but in 2010 it was 25 percent."
Other panelists included Jason Joseph of Spectrum Health, Joe Johnston of Universal Mind, Jonathan Engelsma of Grand Valley State University and Michael Weiden of Verizon Wireless, the sponsor of the event.
From the panelists rose some interesting questions about the nature of technology and the velocity at which it is changing: How long will broadband be relevant when "hotspots" are more useful? Should businesses be focusing on websites or mobile sites? Are next generation developers thinking ethically about privacy? How fast do our standards of connectivity change?
"The question of going to web or mobile is a very real question right now," Joseph, of Spectrum Health, said. "4G means health care delivery possibilities and access to physicians and patients."
Joseph described the barriers that hospitals face in the wake of new technology and the costs of deciding how to connect.
"Infrastructure in hospitals usually includes thick walls, old buildings and sometimes lead protection shields for MRI machines, which means in the basement I don't have service. Physicians who need life-saving emergency messages need data."
Johnston, of Universal Mind, supplied presentation graphs displaying how mobile technology is predicted to surpass the desktop in the future.
"Eighty percent of the Fortune 100 companies are deploying or testing the iPad," he said.
Mobile Monday events will take place once a month and the next event is slated for August 8. The focus will be how to pitch a mobile application service as a business venture.
For those who want to follow the virtual conversation, attendants are encouraged to tweet what they think at the meetings with #MoMoGR on Twitter.
"I came because I want to hear what people are saying about the mobile space," said David Valko.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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