The era of the nomadic or wireless web is already upon us. Access to the World Wide Web through wireless devices, such as a cellular telephones or personal digital assistants (PDA), has arrived already. Its popularity has increased rapidly as service providers have expanded bandwidth, lowered usage charges (or cost per MB), and improved input/output devices such as smart phones that boast bigger screens, better touch pads, more processing power and greater storage capacity.
Wireless Web is already a dominant means of accessing from anytime and anywhere applications such as e-mail, bank accounts, instant messaging, weather and travel information, websites and other services, particularly by users 35-years-old and younger. Three big clusters of companies—mobile-network operators, operating-systems companies, and device makers—control most of the activity in the Internet today. But the state of the Web is still in constant flux and one never knows when the next innovation or paradigm shift will make current state-of-the-art technology obsolete.
As an early adopter of technology, the MAHCC has embraced the Wireless Web and, therefore, it is committed to providing to our members and visitors services in a format that is suitable for display on small mobile devices, even if it means for instance, developing duplicate content that is low bandwidth and contains a limited number of images. As a result, it has started to launch made-for-mobile versions of its Websites with the ultimate goal of being 100% wireless by 2012.
It has been reported that the percentage of adult cell phone owners who download apps nearly doubles in two years, but just 46% of downloaders have paid for an app. According to Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research, Pew Internet Project, the growth in apps downloading is a reflection of the broader trend toward mobile devices that Americans have embraced in the form of laptops, smartphones, tablet computers, and e-readers, while desktop computers have become less popular over time." (November 2, 2011) Smartphone data usage is up 89% as cost per MB has gone down 46%.
As a result of this pervasive use, the number of wireless subscriber connections (327.6 million) has surpassed the U.S. population (315.5 million), which means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. is 103.9 percent. A recent Pew Research study on college students and technology (July 19, 2011) shows that "when it comes to general Internet access, young adults are much more likely than the general population to go online. Fully 92% of 18-24 year-old youth who do not attend college are Internet users, comparable to the rate for community college students and just slightly lower than the rate for undergraduate and graduate students, nearly 100% of whom access the Internet. And American adults are making just as many calls, but text less often than teens.
Also, texting has become one of the prevailing means of communication in emergency situations. The ubiquity of relatively new technologies allows electronic alerts to reach more people faster than ever before. In the aftermath of several recent natural disasters in the Mid-Atlantic region, a growing number of governments, communities, and educational systems have started to use automated electronic-alert systems that can send voice, email or text messages to residents and students, in addition to traditional broadcast emergency messages. It means, therefore, that as situations evolve people no longer need to be listening to radio, watching TV, or be logged on to their email or near a home or office phone to be warned of potential trouble and new developments.
The Chamber will continue to research technology and consumer trends such as Social Media, and implement solutions that will allow us to communicate with the business community in general, and our members in particular, in a better, faster, safer and more reliable way.