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As more and more digital devices enter the market, the way that humans interact, communicate, play, and purchase will change dramatically. Over 75% of the world’s population now has access to a mobile phone, and these users download over 30 billion apps per year. With the widespread adoption of digital media, users are changing their habits from consuming traditional media like print magazines, or newspapers, to online sources like RSS feeds, websites, and apps.

Mobile Technologies Offer Exciting Developments for ITS Industry Professionals

Mobile communications can provide valuable information for local governments, transportation authorities, and more.World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyle said, “Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development –- from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes,”1 Now, the challenge will be to enable people in various countries to connect with local businesses and governments so that all parties can take full advantage of the spread of ITS information. For example, governments need to communicate to drivers when there is an accident on the road, or a traffic jam. Parking authorities need to be able to communicate with commuters, and visitors to a city to giver them up to date information on available parking spaces. Additionally, businesses want to tap into data on consumer behaviors so that they can better target their potential customers.

Although cell phone usage has skyrocketed across most of the world, smartphones and data packages are still out of reach for most people. Apps in developing countries often use low-bandwidth solutions using WAP, SMS, and other technologies to get messages to their constituents. Although these methods may be considered low-tech to many app developers who develop for cutting-edge technology, these solutions can provide critical information to people in need across the world. Surveys and polling are another way that cellphones can contribute to developing countries. By using tools like form hub, an open-source project from the Earth Institute, surveys can be created easily, and distributed to consumers.

In 2011 Singapore, the UK, the U.S., Australia, and Japan all had more than 5% of their internet traffic coming from non-computer devices such as tablets, or mobile phones. Singapore led the group with 7.2% of traffic coming from non-computer devices. The increased availability of WiFi, as well as mobile broadband adoption has helped to drive this connectivity. Smartphone adoption has also helped to push the growth in mobile media. The iOS platform has the largest share of connected devices and smartphones in use in the United States, and also accounts for the largest share of internet traffic in the U.S.2

The surge in connectivity, as well as the widespread adoption of mobile apps offers an exciting opportunity for ITS professionals. Whether using apps to inform, persuade, or collect data, mobile technology will no doubt become the future technology employed by the ITS industry. It is now really a race to see which companies will capitalize on this new trend, and who will remain behind.

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