Keeping Us Mobile

When people complain about mobile technology, they’re often referring to classic “first world” problems. The avalanche of communication tools available on smartphones can seem overwhelming. A glance at a mobile screen can be a colourful assault on the senses, making it difficult to decide which app to seek or share information on first. 

Smartphones themselves aren’t the issue, though. The issue is our ability to make smart use of them. When we do that, mobile technology can be a social and economic equaliser, opening the door to prosperity for people who would otherwise be stranded on the wrong side of it. Research by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee reveals that approximately 80% of Brazilians over the age of ten now own mobile phones. This adds up to 145 million users. In Brazil and many other emerging economies, consumers who hadn’t previously been computer literate have made the leap to ownership of smartphones and constant use of mobile apps. In more developed Western economies usage increases have been slower and more incremental, and it might surprise some Western consumers to learn that their counterparts in Latin America, Asia or Africa are now just as tech-savvy as they are, if not more so.

Social distancing measures introduced over the past year have left tens of millions of Brazilians even more reliant on mobile access for work, education and household shopping, as well as vital tasks such as accessing emergency financial aid, with more than half (58%) of Brazilians accessing online support through mobile phones. Among less affluent communities that percentage soars to 85%.

In a nutshell, the people who need support the most are getting it via their smartphones. We’re not talking about Facebook updates here. We’re not talking about first world problems. We’re talking about healthcare. We’re talking about quality and preservation of life.

World Health Organisation (WHO) projects in sub-Saharan Africa provide sanitation for millions and give children that most basic of human rights; the right to drink clean water. By embracing mobile technology to improve data collection for these projects, as well as improving communication between its healthcare workers, the WHO is connecting people with information for the best possible cause.

In developed economies, it’s interesting to see the impact of “mobile mothers” on economic activity, notably in the United States. US consumers spent $860 billion online in 2020, and mothers have been identified as key drivers of most buying decisions. During the past decade this group turned, en masse, to smartphones. Nine out of ten American mothers are  smartphone users, and on average, mobile mothers are spending 10 hours per day online. Organisational apps are seen as invaluable tools to help to keep busy mothers multitasking, coping and spending, and the market hasn‘t been slow to recognise the group’s influence and preferences.

So it’s no surprise to read today that the popularity of iPhone 12 has fuelled a surge in Apple product sales over the past quarter. $47 billion in iPhone sales accounted for over half of Apple’s record Q1 sales of $89.6 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed that the standard iPhone 12 was the most popular item sold over the quarter, with the Pro model also popular. It’s notable that in a market where used devices often have about as much kudos as used teabags, iPhones hold their resale value far more strongly than competing smartphones. For Apple, developing economies may present an opportunity to introduce high quality nearly-new devices, bringing in a host of new users in the years ahead.

XTM Mobile, equally accessible to iOS and Android users, is driving sales too. Sales of language services for XTM International customers. Localisation managers are dedicated people, but they shouldn’t have to be chained to a desk. The language service professionals we deal with are gifted multitaskers. Forget about Facebook updates and Instagram posts; these people coordinate urgent, high-profile projects in multiple languages via a six inch screen. When you have the talent and agility of mind to manage a project while on the go, you deserve translation management software to match. How many times will a busy Project Manager be sent an additional source file while away from their desk? XTM Mobile 2.3 enables them to update source files via their smartphones and allocate new tasks to suitable linguists instantly. With Project Managers keeping a keen eye on costs, we’ve enabled them to generate financial bulletins direct from the XTM Mobile app. They can instantly view costs and set out a project process to suit their budget. And user problems can be resolved via mobile through an interactive user guide. The message to language service professionals is clear; here’s a mobile app that’s as smart and agile as you are. Enjoy.

Yes, the range of communication options available on smartphones can seem overwhelming. As I write this I’m simultaneously updating my relationship status on Facebook (it’s complicated), archiving an email, replying to a tweet, and accidentally posting a picture of the inside of my pocket on both Instagram and Pinterest. But while many of us will be juggling first world problems on our iOS and Android phones today, that technology is also simplifying project management, driving profitability, creating jobs and, in some corners of the world, saving lives.

It’s keeping us connected. It’s keeping us competitive. It’s keeping us mobile.