If you’re not thinking about mobile, you’re a relic.

Ahonen "Once technology becomes ubiquitous," the saying goes, "it also becomes invisible."

The risk, of course, is that we'll end up ignoring it at the same time.

Think about it: We all have mobile phones, but how many of us look at those devices and think, "Here's something that's changing the world?"

Right ... none of us. Instead, we're thinking, "Here's my phone." And that's if we're thinking of them at all.

What we're missing is downright revolutionary, says Tomi Ahonen.

Consider this: There are 5.2 billion mobile devices out there right now. That's more than the number of televisions, PCs and Internet users combined. Heck, it's more than the total number of toothbrushes being used today.

"But it's not just the size. It is also how addicted we are to this technology," says Ahonen, one of the world's top thought leaders on mobile trends and strategies and the keynote speaker at the 2011 DigitalNow Conference in Orlando. "The average person looks at his mobile phone 150 times per day. That means for every waking hour, you are looking at that phone once every six and a half minutes. It's not just a wide reaching technology. It is now a completely immersive technology that we cannot live without."

What keeps us glued to these devices?

  • Try 350,000 iPhone apps and 250,000 Android apps.
  • Try text messages. Texting is the most popular form of communication among teen-agers today, with the average teen sending more than 100 texts each day.
  • Try e-mail, video, music, podcasts, and just about everything else the mobile web offers.
  • Try GPS, the most reliable way of getting where you need to go today.
  • Try mobile payment options, which are replacing cash, checks and credit cards.

Yet so many of us don't really see mobile as the life-altering resource that it is. Why? It's ubiquitous -- and therefore, invisible.

It's time to see mobile devices for what they are -- revolutionary.

Think about what the world will look like in 10 years. According to Ahonen, today's most expensive, cutting-edge smartphones will cost about $10 to make in 2020. Logically, then, in fewer than 10 years, everyone will have a smartphone. That means everything we've traditionally done on a PC or laptop will soon be done on mobile devices.

Is your business ready for that movement?

"What happens (with mobile technology) in the next five years?" Ahonen asks. "We'll see something as big as the social networking revolution. Something similar will come in this decade that no futurist could have imagined, and it will shake up the world at least as much as Facebook and Twitter and YouTube have.

"Sitting in the middle of it all, though, will be that mobile device in our pocket. It will be eating the lion's share of that opportunity."

Watch my post-DigitalNow interview with Ahonen in its entirety, then tell us: How prepared are you to ride the mobile wave?


Bill Sheridan