Telephones are not new technology, as we have discussed before. In fact, phones are so widely used in Canada that they are ubiquitous in every office and home: humdrum, old news.
What is revolutionary is that these ubiquitous landlines and basic cell phones are now being replaced by smart phones and tablets with internet access.
As a testament to how commonplace they are, smart phones now account for just under 40% of all internet usage. This might change to 50%, or even 60%, by next year, which represents a huge increase in the importance of mobile technology.
It also means that internet usage is more mobile and imbedded in Canadians’ lives than ever before. As a result, who has phones, and where they are, is increasingly important, too.
For instance, in the largely youth-lead protests of the Arab Spring, social media and on-the-ground updates were incredibly important. Closer to home, Idle No More also relies on social media and mobile technology. This is relevant to the dynamics of the protest as well as its success. Aboriginal youths have smart phones – as do non-aboriginal Canadians – while older and more remotely located aboriginals don’t.
Public servant use of mobile technology at work is also an issue. Increasingly, employees use their own devices on the job (have a look at this article on BYOD), and this has become a risk management dilemma because of file-sharing and cloud interference. In other words, are government documents being properly secured?
The Atlantic rightly points out that the internet is not free, and many have argued that Canada has the highest cell phone rates in the world (although this is debatable). This should be a huge concern for Canadians, as more government services are being placed online and citizens will increasingly be paying indirectly for access.
How do you think that mobile technology is changing life in Canada today? Tell us in the comments!