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Mobile Telephony

Situational Contexts of Mobile Internet Use

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Veronika Karnowski, whose focus is on the ubiquitous nature of Internet access in contemporary society. Prior to this, households may have had different mediators as determined by the location of connection plugs; later, patchy wireless availability made Internet use nomadic as we moved between islands of connectivity. Today, use is truly ubiquitous.

Mobile Internet Use in Armenia

The final (!) session of AoIR 2015 is on the mobile Internet, and starts with Katy Pearce. Her interest is in the experiences of mobile-only Internet users: a phenomenon which is especially prevalent in developing countries. Here, resource constraints make it more likely that users will buy multi-purpose devices such as feature phones or smartphones with direct network access rather than desktop, laptop, or tablet devices that require a wifi connection.

Do Smartphones Result in iTime?

The next speaker in this AoIR 2015 session is Veronika Kalmus, whose interest is in the idea of iTime, or the impact of smartphones on our perceptions of social time (and space). There is a sense of the acceleration of social time and social life, partly due to the impact of digital technologies. What are the social, political, and psychological implications of such a speeding-up?

Mobile Technologies of Social Mediation

It's Wednesday, probably, and I've arrived in Colorado for the 2013 Association of Internet Researchers conference in Denver. Today, though, I've made my way to Boulder to meet with the fabulous Project EPIC research group around Leysia Palen, who have done a great deal of leading-edge research into the use of social media in crisis communication.

Real Social Innovation to Help HIV Sufferers

The next Challenge Social Innovation 2011 speaker is Maurice Biriotti, who’s moved from the academy into private business; he still thinks that the humanities are the richest source of problem-solving of all the areas he’s worked with. Humanities scholars are genuinely innovative, most of the time, and the humanities can be used to drive the process of innovation.

He describes this through a practical example: some years ago, when his company did some corporate work in Mexico, he became interested in the nature of conversations in rural Mexico; there, there are many people who are HIV-positive, but this is a taboo topic, and sufferers tend not to tell anyone about their condition (even their partners). Sufferers would benefit significantly from taking available medication, and people are more likely to continue to do so if they have a strong support network – but that network was not available in rural Mexico.

Negotiating Situational Constraints in Mobile ICT Use

The last Transforming Audiences session for today (that went fast!) starts with Geoffroy Patriarche, who focusses on mobile communication and its impact on transforming everyday mobility. Media and ICT use is itself also dependent on the logic of situations, of course. Geoffroy approached this topic by examining the ICT practices of young adults (25-25 years) in Brussels, especially while using public transport.

Media and ICTs take up travel time, and accompany the user every day; for some, they are also taken along because they will be needed upon arrival. There are immediate distinctions between different ICTs in the way they are stored during travel (e.g. mobiles vs. laptops); this is also influenced by security and usability considerations (some devices are locked, securely fastened to clothes or bags, or hidden, to prevent theft or accidental activation, while others - such as iPods - are prepared beforehand for easy use during travel). Use is also influenced by time concerns - in public transport, there is usually not enough time for laptop or Internet use or the reading of books, while there is no such constraint experienced in newspaper reading, music listening, or mobile phone use.

Birdwatching 2.0

Eva Törnqvist is the next speaker at COST298, who highlights a specific form of user-led, bottom-up innovation in the use of mobile phones: by birdwatchers in Sweden. Traditionally, this community has used other tools to disseminate information about where to see rare birds: for example sticking paper signs on the back of a road sign, later on using answering machine and pager messages (to the point where they clogged the phone lines in small Swedish towns to breaking point).

Today, a community called Club 300 (as in, at least 300 recorded sightings of rare birds) uses mobile phones to share their knowledge. The switch to mobile phones also allows for the transmission of substantially more information (bird pictures and sounds), and connection with other services (such as road directions). Similarly, the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management now also share their wildlife and hunting pictures and videos on the Web, as well as through mobile phone services.

What's Next for the Mobile Internet?

From Andrew Keen's rant we move on to a next09 panel on mobile telephony. What will the mobile environment look like in 2020? We begin with a brief video from the open think tank, showing where we've come from, and where we may be going (a 'sensorconomy' based on digital device sensors, new mobile services and mobile broadband offerings, major takeup in India, Africa, and other developing regions, miniaturisation and embedding of mobile devices, a shift of newspapers from print to mobile delivery, instant translation tools, location tracking, and substantial privacy and security concerns).

Chinese Mobile News, Australian Bloggers, and Youdecide2007: Publications Roundup

Time to catch up with a few publications - my recent work is featured in a number of new collections:

Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media, edited by Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth, collects some of the best papers from the Mobile Media 2007 conference (which I blogged about at the time) in Sydney. Looks like a fabulous collection, and I'm delighted that an article by former QUT Visiting Scholar Liu Cheng and me about SMS news in China has been included. We're looking especially at the experience at Yunnan Daily Press, where Cheng led the roll-out of SMS news functionality, and we're including some staggering statistics about the growth of Internet and mobile use in China as well (I wonder how they'll be affected by the global financial crisis...).

Building Bridges through Mobile Marketing

Rachel de Sain is the next speaker at the Australasian Media & Broadcasting Congress; she is Strategy and Commercial Manager for Mobile at Sensis. Her focus is on mobile advertising and marketing. Sensis operates brands such as Yellow Pages, WhereIs, TradingPost and Citysearch, and has recently come around to placing this content in Google and Google Maps as well - in this, mobile has become one of the most fundamental parts of the business.

Sensis gets around 2.5 million searches from mobile devices per month, and this doubles around every four months. Mobiles now have a 101% penetration rate in Australia, but over 49% of Australians have owned a phone for over 7 years, so it's not a new technology any more, even though technological features keep changing. Benefits for consumers are that mobiles are always on, that they choose whom to communicate with, that communication is personalised, and that it is relevant on the fly - if therefore provides confidence for consumers. For advertisers, the always-on nature is also attractive, and customers using mobile phones to connect are genuine customers, not windowshoppers. Also, the return on investment is measurable. Overall, though, the mobile is about building bridges, it takes users from one platform to another, and this is crucial.


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