As the United States, and other countries, are embracing smart phone technology, a new 4G network system being developed which will allow data transfers over smart phones at a much faster rate. What will these mean for smart phone users?
For one thing, video conferencing will become easier, as will the transfer and watching of video files on so-called high resolution “retina screens” which provide high definition pictures at even close range. No doubt a variety of applications will be developed which will take advantage of this speed.
However, with increased data abilities will ever shrinking phone be able to hold a lot of data? The answer is most probably no, at least not the thousands of hours of video of lectures that some college students might want to store on their phone, in addition to movies and YouTube clips made by friends.
Perhaps this is where cloud computing can find a niche for the average consumer. Cloud computing allows users to store, in theory, reams of data at a data storage facility where it can later be accessed. However, there are concerns that off site data storage facilities aren’t fool proof and could be vulnerable to power outages, in addition to attempt to steal personal data. Perhaps this is where the laptop, or that ancient machine called a desktop computer, can come into play.
Laptops and desktop computers could be connected to the 4G networks being built, and accessed by authorized users only using good encryption protocols via smart mobile devices. Users of the future would be able to use their smart phones and iPads to watch media stored on their laptop or hard drive at home. Such storage of media would not be constrained based on the average size of smart phones, but could potentially fill a much larger space at home where it need not be mobile. Such a form of personal cloud computing could perhaps also allow groups of friends to share media that wouldn’t be readily accessible on the internet, and to do it more easily.
As Facebook and MySpace have exploded in popularity, so to have privacy concerns as, depending on your privacy settings, anyone on the internet is able to learn a lot about you. A social, but more personalized use of social networking might be through do-it-yourself ad hoc file sharing networks set up in a user friendly fashion and accessed via smart phones and other mobile devices.
Such easy access to large personal files could also revolutionize how medical records are accessed. Patients could carry access to, or their personal records, on their smart phone, and these records could be updated automatically via a Wi-Fi network when the patient visits his or her doctor’s office. In the event of an emergency, doctors could gain access to a patient’s medical records stored on their smart phone. This could be especially helpful in certain populations of patients, such as those with severe mental illness, as well as in the emergency setting.
Though smart phones have only been around for a relatively short amount of time they are already changing how Americans communicate and work.