The mobile blogger: a mobile technology reflection blog

The mobile blogger: a mobile technology reflection blog


Disclaimer:

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.

Smartphone shown in close proximity to beacon technology
Phones can pick up data transmitted from a beacon

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.

Supplemental Video

References

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.

Cover photo: Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

 

16 thoughts on “The mobile blogger: a mobile technology reflection blog

  1. Hi Ryan.
    Thank you for your delightful video and sharing your mobile technology ideas. I agree with you that mobile technology as service points is where libraries need to consider redirecting their focus, or at least pay close attention. It is kind of creepy though to think that the “library” has the potential to know what is going on inside of their patrons (heart-rates via Fit-Bit)- it’s definitely getting private and personal. The video is a nice personal touch. Thanks so much.

    1. @lschwoerer I agree that FitBit does seem invasive but it is worth pointing out that people are already putting this information out there for people to see, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Facebook is a really interesting example, even when you don’t publish a post, it remembers what you have written in the status box (almost like a key log)! http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/facebook-self-censorship-study-records-when-you-dont-post-to-find-more-ways-to-share-9010801.html Just an interesting article I read awhile back.

      Privacy is something libraries need to take very seriously and need to protect any data we get from the user.

      1. @ryantucci Very interesting article to ponder! It made me wonder if Google also records our gmail drafts and what we delete and decide not to send, or what we reword within our draft because we chose to say it in a “different” or “kinder” way. Are they watching every single keystroke? Is that even possible?

        1. @lschwoerer I imagine that they could do that (it is possible) but I am not sure if they do. I know that they “hyper target” advertisements based on the emails we write. I remember my girlfriend was in a wedding party a few years ago and we were corresponding through email about her dress and I started getting wedding store advertisements on my Google searches because of the email I wrote.

          If you get a chance, I recommend checking out this podcast. It is really quite good and it talks about hyper targeting in advertising.
          http://www.cbc.ca/radio/undertheinfluence/hyper-targeting-br-how-brands-track-you-online-1.2801857

  2. @ryantucci, I continue to enjoy your written and video posts. You’re right about the price point of wearable tech being high. Perhaps that’s the cost early adopters must pay? I’ve noticed that prices and choices do eventually fall and rise, respectively, but it certainly does take time. The risk there is that too much time might result in canceled/postponed or abandoned/orphaned projects, like Google Glass (not to mention cutting edge open source projects that just don’t get enough critical mass or big enough an audience).

    I also agree about the privacy issues. A big problem there (imho) is that privacy and security has a long history of being obfuscating. Bringing great UX to the privacy/security settings is crucial in mobile apps, social media, Internet of Things, wearable tech, and so on.

    Some related links:

    http://alistapart.com/article/privacy-is-ux — Aimed at web development, but applicable to any technology, really.

    http://fusion.net/story/215403/ikettle-smart-kettle-easily-hacked/?hootPostID=915d30333d7a13be114f800e81602a89 — When the IoT breaks, just use a regular kettle. 🙂

    1. @sairuh my fear is that some really valuable technology is going to stall out before it can really get started. Putting technology in the hands of the users will allow us to see how people use it. I guarantee there are ways people could use this stuff that the developers haven’t even thought of.

      🙂

  3. Wow! You took the ball and ran far with this week’s topic. Love, love, love that you put yourself out there and did a supplemental video. I have to admit, I have been reluctant to use my phone for much besides calls, text, and the occasional web surfing and take tons of pics of my kid. You have inspired (shamed?) me into writing this reply in my phone though. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it has it’s advantages for sure. I can not, though, imagine doing your whole blog post, including posting video, through the phone. THAT is amazing. I am learning so much in this class. Your post -and disclaimer- was a real eye opener. Thanks so much. As for wearable tech have you seen the new smart rings? I’ll splurge on the wearable tech when FaceTime allows those Star Wars type holographic videos. It’ll be here soon enough at the rate things are going! 👍😀

    1. @julieherring Thank you for your response Julie! It was definitely more difficult to do everything on a mobile device but I guess that is the price you pay for portability 🙂 I do a lot of reading for class week to week on the mobile device and it is really handy. I can get in a quick read on my lunch break, etc.

      I haven’t seen the smart rings! I’ll have to check them out.

      Something I wanted to mention in my post but I just didn’t get into it, is how mobile technology is using augmented reality. I have never been into the whole Pokemon craze but a friend of mine asked me if I’d heard of Pokemon Go. I recommend checking it out, whether you are a gamer or not, what they are doing with mobile technology is really incredible.

      Here is the teaser trailer for the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sj2iQyBTQs

      The fact that a gaming company that was traditionally in the console market is getting into the mobile gaming market shows how much value they are putting in mobile technology.

      It is just mind blowing what they are doing with augmented reality.

  4. @ryantucci This was wonderfully done! I loved your video and how you ran with Jan’s idea to show us what you can do with mobile technology. I find it creepy how I go and look a shoes on the web and then those same shoes appear over and over on any site I visit for weeks. Then I get coupons at Target for something i bought once months ago. I don’t want them to track me that much. But I do like certain mobile technology and am thrilled they are constantly evolving and expanding my world. Wonderful job!

    1. @gnichols6816 thank you for your comment! I think it is both creepy as well as really interesting how advertisers can hyper target advertisements to users. Advertisers are always thinking up new ways to push products to the user.

      Just a few days ago I searched for snow tires for our vehicle. Now I get ads for tires 🙂

  5. Thank you Ryan.
    I really like your video and I agree that mobile technology is a great way to meet people where they are. It is also a field where we can have high ambitions on behalf of non-information professionals. We can have an impact on their way of using technology in a way that is helping them lead “information rich” lives – when it comes to searching for information and find good sources to grow knowledge. Because we are the professionals on what lies beneath the surface of the screen.
    Best wishes from Denmark
    Jan

    1. Well said Jan! Thank you for your comment! I really like that, “we are the professionals on what lies beneath the surface of the screen”.

      I thought it was really great in your video series that you talk about curiosity being the most important quality when dealing with technology, and not necessarily having to be the expertise in the use of the technology. There are new technological innovations that are being developed, what seems like almost daily. We can’t be expected to know each technology inside and out. The ability for us to see the potential of each technology, or at least who could use it effectively is really important. Getting the technology in the hands of users will give us further ideas how ‘people’ use each device and could inspire us to implement new programs and services as well.

      Thank you again for your comment Jan.

      -Ryan

  6. Thanks to Jan for commenting here!

    @ryantucci thanks much for experimenting and taking the show on the road as Jan did.

    The example you shared – the vision of what could be – of the library sending a message about heart rate is incredibly interesting. I would flip for that – even sitting here at my desk, if the fitbit could remind me to get up, or stretch, walk etc.

    I don’t know how huge the privacy issue could be if done as you describe… needs to be pondered.

    1. @michael just a gentle reminder to get up, stretch, and maybe grab a snack. It isn’t going to be a service that revolutionizes the library but instead it just humanizes the building a little bit. Our services are here for you…

      🙂 Thank you for your comment!

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