Is there life after the smartphone?

One-click devices

by Antonella Arminante

Is there life after the smartphone?
Is there life after the smartphone?

When you take part in an event like Frontiers of Interaction you are aware that you will spend 90% of your time contributing to its live streaming on Twitter with posts, photos, links, and all that can confirm your presence, your being there, your testimony. Because when you talk about the FOI, you too wish to generate information and knowledge on the new frontiers of interaction and innovation.

This results in a single need: to have your smartphone handy, never on a low battery, connected to the web, and of course with the latest and updated app which has just come out.

Thus, in taking part in such an event, I would never have thought to ask myself this question: is there life after the smartphone? What would life mean today without a smartphone? We would probably pay more attention to what is around us, we would listen not only to words but entire speeches, we would remember expressions, situations, moments often unrepeatable. And basically we would continue doing so many things that we normally do, which were innovations in human history that make us interact in everyday life, all without the need to have a smartphone, without the need to have an app for every single thing.

Thus, the scientific answer to the question “Is there life after the smartphone?” is: “Yes.” There is life without a smartphone, a life without downloads and apps, a life where I can order a pizza with a click or remember to follow a therapy simply by pressing a button, just as is made possible by Click ‘n’ Pizza or Trillio. There is talk of ‘one-click interaction’, definitely not a new concept and one that complements our more routinely actions such as turning lights on and off, changing TV channels, turning on a device. A fantastic concept especially if we think that the technology was first launched with the task of providing more time for us all and definitely not wasting it.

And the example of Trillio makes me imagine a growing use of the one-click technology in the health area: until yesterday with a click I could remember to take a drug, with a click today I could have a drone deliver my medication, supporting me in adhering to my therapy.

Yet, even this is not enough. There is no question that we have to accept that technology, and its mobile aspect in particular, is changing our habits, our being, the way we interact. And the one-click interaction technology cannot be enough when we are facing the non-duplication of actions, when we are called to interact with something that affects us emotionally, when we are immersed in a market like that of mHealth, envisioned to reach $27 billion in 2017!

Today there already are about 165,000 apps dedicated to “Health & Fitness” on Google Play and the Apple Store: impressive numbers, even more so considering that the first 10 generate more than 4 million free downloads and approximately 300,000 paid ones every day. We belong to the so-called “connected generation,” which is definitely multitasking, multi-screen, 24-7 online and active on multiple platforms and devices simultaneously; and even if a simple click were enough to book a visit, call a doctor, take a pill, it would not be enough to keep track of the appointment, the meeting, the therapy. While, in fact, on the one hand there is an increasing number of apps that support the physician in real time, for example through networking and especially those based on photo sharing, on the other hand wearables, ingestables, implantables are cutting-edge devices intended for consumers, patients increasingly more, or for caregivers, who make clear and tangible, as well as exciting, the profound transformation of the pharma sector towards a “patient-centered” vision, a vision indeed “beyond the pill.”

Thus, for all of us there is and will continue to be life without a smartphone, an analog life, i.e. not necessarily digital. But we cannot deny that digital is part of us, that technology and its mobile application have changed and keep changing our lives, sometimes making them complex, but at other times and more often, simplifying them in our daily lives.

The new frontier of innovation is definitely that of Mobile Health. The Mobile Economy is the powerful new ecosystem and the future glimpsed in the movie Minority Report, where holograms and surfaces turned into interactive displays, is ready to be lived.

This is one of the pieces of the Transformation in Healthcare booklet inspired by the Frontiers Health 2015 conference.

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