Business: The Mobile Wave is Coming to South Carolina (and the World)

No, this isn’t another Hurricane Hugo. Yet it is disruptive and transformational. It’s the mobile wave. And, it’s bringing radical changes.

The Agricultural Revolution took place over thousands of years. The Industrial Revolution took centuries. Now the Information Revolution is expected to achieve huge changes in our lives and businesses in a matter of decades.

Michael Saylor’s recent book, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence will Change Everything presents an excellent overview of the evolution of mobile computing and what the future may hold. Main frames, minicomputers, personal computers, the Internet PC have led to the fifth wave, mobile computing which features:

  • Multi-touch with an interface that is fun and easy and the use of shapes not symbols
  • Widely affordable
  • Longer battery life
  • Instant-on to for immediate information and communication
  • Apps that inexpensively perform a range of tasks easily and quickly
  • Sensing the world around us through GPS, voice commands, scanning and cameras
  • Easy to carry and available anywhere, anytime.

Is it any surprise that as a result of the mobile wave traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses are being upended, and a huge global digital economy is being created? Paper, credit cards, cash, doctor’s office visits and perhaps classrooms may be obsolete soon.

Two weeks ago, the Charleston area Chamber of Commerce hosted an event featuring ten start-ups focused on “riding the mobile wave.” They were the winners of a competition sponsored by Greenville’s Iron Yard, an organization dedicated to providing innovation, education, mentoring and capital to create a thriving start-up community and develop young entrepreneurs. There were 321 applicants this year from 19 countries.   

Companies included web or mobile products for targeting grocery ads, safe ride-sharing, highlighting athletic accomplishments for non-professional athletes, and others. These energetic, bright (many have Masters or Doctorates in computer science) entrepreneurs have plans to be part of the huge, growing mobile wave. It was exciting to meet these young leaders and to hear their plans and enthusiasm. They get it.

We’ve already seen this year the impact that mobile devices and social networks have had on politics in Europe, The United States, the Middle East and around the world. Mr. Saylor believes that the combined forces of mobile and social software may transform 50% of the world’s GDP in the coming decade. This would remake businesses, industries and economies. By 2025, we may see an almost universal use of mobile computers as our primary means of navigating through modern society.

The Mobile Wave is happening, bringing radical change. We’re right in the midst of this third major revolution, undoubtedly one of the most exciting periods in history.