Mobile phones have become so much more that their primary function i.e. calls and texting are often not the most used features of these devices. People surf the internet, access information, use the camera, listen to music and do much more. With powerful cameras which can take amazing pictures & videos, everyone around the world is a journalist. Whether its the Hudson plane crash, the Middle East revolution or more events worldwide, a lot of footage and real news came from the people present there with their mobile phones. CNN has a dedicated portal where citizen journalism stories are accepted and broadcasted to the world. More news publishing and media houses have also experimented with the idea and joined in this phenomenon. There are apps like Meporter, Periscope, Meerkat, and more available which even allow live streaming from mobile phones thus helping the world with news. Whether it’s natural disasters like floods, earthquakes or accidents or any protests. all of it can be shared from mobile phones and people can help each other.
Supporting Complex Research for the world
Mobile phones have become so powerful that they have more computing power than the computers which handled the 1st moon landing. They have more computing powers than even most desktop computers these days and thus they are the most inexpensive way for research which requires a lot of computing power. They have been sent to space to collect data and bigger companies like HTC and Samsung have had their own projects where you can contribute the computing power of your phone while it is lying idle. Even major universities in the world like Berkley have similar apps for “volunteer computing”. These projects allow individuals around the world to donate the computing power of their mobile phones to scientists around the world doing research in many areas as they require a lot of computing power.
From bigger companies like Google to smaller projects all around the world, there is no dearth of apps which allow mobile users to help people and find better alternatives to give, help or buy, where a part of money goes to upliftment of weaker sections of the society. These apps help non-profit and NGOs to collect money for a cause by doing simple activities on the part of the mobile user and thus contributing to the social good through their mobile devices.
It is an important step for the citizens of a country to have their say in choosing their leaders. Most of them can go vote because most countries do have a holiday on the voting days to make sure this right is exercised but there are issues setting up polling booths and in remote areas, specially in developing countries it can be a challenge for people to reach to polling booths. Mobile phones can allow such people to vote through the use of SMS or other applications installed on them.
Governments around the world, municipalities, local governance centres have apps to make it easier for residents of a city or state to interact with Government agencies through the use of mobile phones. This saves people a lot of time and makes the whole process very convenient for them and even for Government as they have to employ lesser people ate centres and do less paperwork. Electronic filing of papers, taxation, government documents even saves the environment by reducing the usage of paper and results in less expenses for the Government agencies.
Essential Government Broadcasts
The Governments around the world have always used mobile phones for broadcasting emergency messages or messages of national importance through the use of mobile phones through SMS. These can be vastly useful in natural calamities and life threatening situations thus minimizing damages and saving lives.
Providing health care facilities
Most african countries where internet is not that easily accessible, mobile phones have revolutionized health care system. There are mHealth apps and initiatives where people in these countries can send and receive texts from their GPs and medical centres about their health records, ask questions about any diseases like HIV/AIDS or get information about the nearest testing units.
Connecting Rural Areas with the world
There are a lot of places in several countries of the world which are rural areas and not much connected to modern amenities like internet. Developing countries might not even have electricity or other basic needs available in such areas. People living in such locations are connected to the world through only their mobile phones and can transact, exchange and receive information through these devices only.
Another huge area which has seen innovative solutions created for mobile phones is Education sector. The developing countries do not have enough infrastructure for schools and teachers even though the children want to study. In those remote areas, mobile phones have become the only source of accessing education and is being used highly for providing unique solutions for these problems. If these mobile phones are internet enabled students can read, share, learn and acquire knowledge without the need of a proper classroom.
Banking facilities accessible to society
Most of these initiatives are on in Africa and it has changed the way people live in those countries. A lot of these people have never been to a bank nor do they have a bank account but they send and receive money through their mobile phones. It is now even used to pay school fees to taxis to a lot more and has become a mobile wallet for the African people.
It is amazing and heartening to see how innovative techniques are leveraged to use mobile phones for more than just calling and texting. Even more incredible is the fact that this is mostly happening in not the developed countries but especially in developing countries like Africa and most Asian countries through some innovative solutions and initiatives already in existence.