Applications are only for teenagers, right? Smartphones are only for techie geeks, right? Social media via mobile broadband is only for digital natives, right? Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Modern telecoms technology is helping to tumble walls that once divided generations. The connected world means having access to everything. Just ask mother-of-six Maria Bivesjö, who manages her life by mobile phone.
One of the certainties of growing up used to be that you were interested in things that your parents weren't – especially technology. One of the certainties of getting older used to be that your children were interested in technology that you didn’t really understand – or even care about.
The mobile phone, internet and mobile broadband – and all associated functionalities and applications – have created a world where parents and children use, and are proficient in, the same technology.
While Maria has always been interested in technology, it was her son's diagnosis of a chronic illness that resulted in her making the mobile phone an essential tool in her everyday life. Quite simply, she needed to be instantly reachable.
But Stockholm-based Maria soon realized that she could use the device for much more and literally manage her life via the mobile phone. As a busy mother, full-time school teacher and boxing enthusiast, that’s a lot of management. This approach soon evolved into trying new functionalities and applications.
"With six children living at home, my days are disrupted," she says. "I want to be efficient all the time. Thanks to my mobile phone, I can keep track of everything from parents' meetings to where the children are.
"Many think that the information flow causes greater stress, but for me it's the opposite. I’m calmer in the knowledge that I have a tool to help me. But I use my smartphone at least as much for the entertainment value; I play games, test fun mobile apps, and log in to sites like Facebook and Spotify."
Maria is hungry for more apps, as long as they are affordable.
"I'd like to see an application for booking and ordering services, such as a library app that could tell you when the book you are looking for becomes available; or a drugstore app that allows you to order medicine and collect it at the store or distribution point.
"I like finding my way through the app jungle, but I’d never buy one for more than SEK 35 (about USD 5). I want them to be cheap because then you can afford to test them and discard them."
Stories like Maria's show why applications are important to Ericsson. Embracing the connected world is central to Ericsson's prediction of an all-communicating world of more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Almost everyone and everything can potentially be connected, whether it is machine-to-machine (M2M), person-to-machine or person-to-person.
Applications are now a crucial element in the traditional telecoms industry. Ericsson's applications store, eStore, was launched in late 2009. It is an open platform, with programs for all operating systems, allowing all operators to create their own apps stores.
Aside from being an applications store, eStore is also a community for developers.
With Maria Bivesjö providing living proof of the power of the mobile phone and mobile applications to directly change lives and cross the generation gap, it seems like an all-communicating world with more than 50 billion connected devices will become a reality.
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