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Reprinted from a Facebook note, with permission.

by J.A. Bourke

There are interesting developments going on as mobile technology increasingly impacts more and more areas of our personal, professional and everyday lives. Take, for example, this excerpt from an article by Mark Milian at (Samsung and Apple's Next 'Court' Battle: Tablets in the NBA):

As smartphones and tablets change the way companies do business, sports teams are also increasingly tapping mobile devices to get a technological leg-up on the competition. The Suns became the first NBA team this season to outfit both players and coaches with tablet computers for use on and off the court.

The Suns coaches use an app that lets them draw plays, see them in action, review playbooks and pull up game videos. This replaces whiteboards, reams of paper, bulky laptops and "a rack of DirecTV boxes recording other teams, and having a guy making DVDs all night long," said John Brandstetter, president of Flying Tiger Entertainment, whose company developed the software.

That's actually not new. I saw this type of technology evolve, watching as professional hockey coaches pulled game footage direct from the official court media feeds and onto DVDs, then extracted clips for review with players, well over ten years ago.

The technology developed quickly, and wasn't limited to hockey even at that time - nor was it limited to professional sports. Aspects of the technology made it to the minor leagues, and youth programs in the form of coaching software. When I saw the article linked to above, the first thing I thought of was flexxCoach: it's a coaching education tool for youth sports coaches. It was created initially for youth hockey, building upon the strengths of the founding principals, but with the recognition that the system & technology applied to all sports. They've got baseball, football, lacrosse and soccer programs in development.

The advent of tablets and the increasingly advanced capabilities of mobile computing devices is bringing a new, flexible and extremely mobile set of tools to sports at all levels.

The increasingly advanced adoption of rapidly evolving mobile technology didn't start with sports, and it certainly isn't stopping there.

Ubiquitous smart phones & tablets are impacting daily interactions across nearly all aspects of human existence in the modern, connected world. Over the past several years, I've seen smartphones appearing all around hospital ERs, used by people of all ages. The vast majority - young and old - were texting messages to family & friends, alerting them to status & condition of those who were at the ER.1

Just recently, as Moore OK was devastated by a brutal tornado, I caught a news clip where an affected family told of how they received text messages alerting them to the damage, and to the fact that the person sending the message had successfully located another family member and they were both safe.

In business, people are using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to record notes, messages & meetings. They're connecting to internet, to private networks, to cloud services and to each other in ways that were previously unavailable or too costly. The increasing improvements to mobile technology have enabled them to take high quality, high definition photos on an ad hoc basis and given them the capability to transmit those messages and information instantly to others who can act on it, whether for the purpose of studying marketing impact or product improvement, or noting competitors' efforts, or suggesting new ideas.

And these technological improvements are driving the use of broadband internet, increasing the need for higher speeds & capacity, possibly to the point where it may outstrip efforts by the telecom giants to attempt to monetize it - it is, at this point, effectively dominant & critical infrastructure touching upon national security & public safety in a way that makes it roughly on-par with other basic, crucial services.

Perhaps more critical, in some ways.

The growth & pervasiveness of mobile technology, as well as rapidly increasing requisite inter-connected nature of the devices, brings about possibilities for both tremendous benefits as well as stunning challenges. Augmented reality? Sure - populate & augment the real world with virtual markers to tie in aspects of virtual reality and extend available information tied to people, places, and things, but at the potential risk of completely compromising personal privacy...which has impacts not only in the social realm, but also in business and politics.

There's a lot happening, at an increasingly, somewhat frenetic, accelerated rate.

Be sure to take time to step back & take a look at the whole picture - the path we're on, where we've come from, and where we might be going - before being swept along too quickly.

The potential for positive transformation and information-related evolution is vast & promising, but that doesn't mean all aspects & possibilities are good ones. Everyone needs to take a moment to take a breather, and look around to see where things might be going.

Talk about the impact of social media and trends with each other, with your children and your parents. Think about topics coming up for votes on local and national levels - try to find more than one source of information about any legislation and ideally take a few minutes to verify whether a source can be taken at face value or with a grain or two of salt: be sure you get the pros and cons as part of your own due diligence of taking part in the development of your future.

There are major changes happening - I can hardly wait for some of them. Others, I hope, are coming only with the careful consideration they require.


1 This, of course, begs the questions "What of HIPAA?" and "How is privacy impacted?" - good, important questions.

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