Hello…hello…is anyone there? Yes, there are 6 BILLION people there.
The U.N. telecom agency just said that by the end of 2011 there were that many cell phone subscriptions globally, which means that 86% of the people on the face of the earth can now connect and talk or text directly with each other.
By comparison there are only 2.3 billion internet users and by ancient landline telephone standards, the penetration rate of landline use never got over 20% globally. More people in India now have mobile phones, than have indoor plumbing. Alexander Graham Bell would be proud, telephony in the form of the cell phone has finally connected the world for the first time in history…that's like...ever.
Mr. Spock Was Right
That's him, above, calling me on his tin can phone. However, in The Wrath of Khan the Vulcan Mr. Spock said:
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few."
What will the world do with this level of unprecedented connectivity? What does it mean for business? The tools and techniques of emerging social technologies coupled with the power of mobile (SoMo) is changing how we connect, communicate, create and support our communities and collaborate.
Connection, Communication And Then What?
With smartphones, connection and communication turns into collaboration. Growth in smartphone sales in 2011 were zooming along at over 60%, and 2012 penetration rates are starting to exceed 50% in some countries. Globally, around 20% of the 6 billion of us using mobile devices now have a smartphone.
Smartphones bring an unprecedented level of intimacy and immediacy to their users. These tools can and are changing the way that people buy, learn, work, act, team, share, teach, engage, consume etc.
Human behavior is changing because of these tools, and when it does, business changes. It has to, there is no choice for companies as they need to stay relevant. Companies need to move to where their markets are heading, and SoMo is the destination.
Social Technology Has A Long, Long History
Social technology is as old as the hills. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he invented a major social technology. SoMo is reinventing social technology all over again, and the world with it. The global population is now connected and collaborating for the first time. What are the collective needs and wants of the global community that will be exploited through these incredible tools?
Mr. Spock was indeed right. But, the needs of the many now has weight -- the weight of 6 billion people. The unprecedented level of connectivity and potential for collaboration that SoMo brings to the table changes the rules of business as we've come to learn and know them.
But business is evolutionary, it always has been. However, some are much better than others at seeing and acting on these types of disruptive challenges. The needs of the many are now the tail wagging the corporate dog for many businesses.
Mr. Spock knew this long before we did…or maybe he just needs to go outside. Mr. Spock…come here...