Remember those photos of a young (and now a very wealthy) Elvis Presley with a phone in hand sitting in his Cadillac? The phone was a standard-size home phone attached to what must have been a huge base. Everyone thought that was too cool to be real. A phone in a car? Get real!
The cost of a car phone was out of reach for nearly everyone in those days; nevertheless, we all dreamed of enjoying that same convenience—a phone outside the home.
Those Elvis images were shot 50 or so years ago. How life—and the phone—have changed! For most of us, everyday life and a “phone away from home” have become inseparable. Even so, it’s certainly not accurate to say that everyone in the world owns a cell phone today, though the number of cell phone subscriptions makes it seem so.
There are 7 billion people on earth and there are 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions. But that does not mean that 6.8 people have a cell phone subscription; many people have multiple subscriptions. However, today there are far more subscription holders of cell phones than there ever were people with landlines. In fact, 40 percent of U.S. households rely solely on cell phones. In the UK, more than half of Britons rarely or never use their home phone; in fact, many don’t even remember their number.
And if you think small salaries and third-world economies are barriers to having a mobile phone, you’d be wrong. Even in developing countries there is an average of 90.2 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants (compared to 10.6 fixed telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants), according to the International Telecommunication Union.
What all of this means is that cell phone subscriptions will continue to increase, in large part because a cell phone can be used for more than just talking and doesn’t require the costly copper wiring network of a fixed phone. In the United States, 86 percent of cell phone owners use their phone for texting, 82 percent to access the Internet, 75 percent for email, and 63 percent for social networking, according to The Nielsen Company.
What’s clear is that today’s phone is a tool for doing things that Elvis with his car phone would never have thought possible. Consider the following:
• Alarm system without monthly fees: Increase the safety of your home with security, video monitoring, and automation technology accessed by your smartphone, all with no monthly fees.
• Keyless locking system: Did the plumber arrive after you had to leave for work? Unlock your home door’s deadbolt without a key or code. Guests can have access for a few hours to days at a time.
• Programmable air vent: Save money by programming your home’s heating and air condition vents to open and close at optimum times.
• More than a thermostat: Why get out of bed on a cold winter night? This thermostat can be controlled from anywhere, and it can “sense” when you’ve gone and then automatically adjust the settings.
• Efficient lawn sprinklers: When a rainstorm hits but you’re at work or on vacation, put your lawn sprinkler system on a 24 hour snooze. And you can quickly adjust the watering times for each zone.
• Send videos (and music) to your TV: Plug this device into an HDTV and then send your favorite show to your TV. Out on a date and the babysitter needs a new show for your kids? Find it and send it from the restaurant.
We love our smartphones because they let us do things much more conveniently. If Elvis were with us today he might be crooning, “Take my hand, take my whole life too, but I can’t help using my cell phone to call you…and adjust the thermostat!”
Are you making the most of your smartphone?
Are you using the Mozy mobile app? If not, you’re missing out on an easy way to securely view and download files directly to your smartphone or other mobile device. It’s fingertip access to a more convenient way of doing things. We call it mobile app-titude. Elvis would call it a phone with a V8.