I have done everything for this module (the readings, research, blog post writing and supplemental video) through my mobile phone, inspired by Jan in the mobile technology module. While mobile technology provides easy, on-the-fly access to information and our networked world, I feel that it is not completely up to the quality standards of traditional computing technology. It is close, but not perfect. So like a method actor preparing for a role, I fully embraced mobile technology this week for every aspect of the reflection process. So without further ado, I give you: the mobile blogger.
This week, I decided to focus my reflection blog on the mobile technology module for INFO 287. While mobile technology is getting more and more sophisticated, it is our ability to connect with a larger world at any given moment that makes mobile technology especially interesting to me.
While libraries seem to be in constant conflict with alternate avenues of information consumption (I’m looking at you Google!), it is important for us to promote and encourage the use of a technology that makes it even easier for users to access information, despite the fact they may not even enter the library to use it. At our most basic level, libraries are about helping people and mobile technology is helping to keep people connected more than they ever have before.
I think Dr. Stephens says it best in his chapter called Serving users when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries: “Mobile apps expand the process of discovery into virtual worlds, and library collections need to be where the users are exploring” (p. 5). I love the latter part of this quote and agree with it completely. However, I would argue that it goes far beyond just the library collection and should encompass the whole library; its collection, its services and the space. I have included space because of the article written by Matt Enis called “Beacon” Technology Deployed by Two Library App Makers, which explores the use of mobile technology within the physical library space to enhance the user experience.
Mobile technology no longer just means smartphones and tablets. Instead, it also includes wearable technologies like smartwatches, glasses, and bracelets such as FitBit, which record things like heart rate and footsteps. In my opinion these wearable technologies are still far from being utilized to their full potential. One reason for this is the starting price point of wearable technology is too high, making ownership out of reach for many users. Since many people don’t own wearable technology, we run the risk of missing a great opportunity to develop, what I think, is a very important piece of technology. In an article by Jen Quinlan for Wired, she explains that despite her specialization in wearable technology she hasn’t worn her FitBit in months. Other users of wearable technology share her sentiments, adding that in the early stages of development wearable technology came up short (Quinlan, 2015, para. 2). The high entry-level price point may have turned people off wearable technology as many smartwatches are priced between $299-$399 (CAD). I am hesitant to purchase one for myself, despite my strong interest.
Mobile technology is something many of us live with, and I would argue that many of us would probably have a hard time giving it up (although once in awhile it is nice to take a break). If libraries want to reach users where they are, they would be wise to look at mobile technology as a potential service point for their users. I would also encourage people interested in mobile technology to keep a close watch on wearable technology, as it has a great potential for library applications in the future.
Enis, M. (2014). “Beacon” Technology Deployed by Two Library App Makers. (2014).
Quinlan, J. (2015). The future of wearable tech. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2015/02/the-future-of-wearable-tech/
Stephens, M. (in press). Serving users when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries.