Do we want technology to be able to reach us wherever we go?
Over the last few years we've seen a massive growth in the mobile technology area.
Now, as we become more dependent on these technologies, we often find ourselves wanting in terms of coverage.
Over 27% of the UK's mobile user population now use their devices to connect to the internet in order to receive e-mails, update social applications, access online maps and many other uses.
The adoption of technologies such as femtocells to improve mobile signals at home are one solution to more macro issues, but receiving a good 3G signal in some of the countries "not-spots" continues to be an issue.
With an ever increasing demand to use mobile technologies, and more importantly the increasing demand for mobile data, we are likely to see an ever increasing number of ground based mobile antennas improving our national mobile coverage.
But in this chase to improve data connectivity is anyone considering the flipside of the coin?
Do we all really want data/mobile access everywhere we go?
I remember my time in London as an infrastructure engineer, I was pretty much on call 24/7/365. I used to relish tube journeys where just for a few minutes I would drop out of mobile reception ensuring some time without intrusion.
As a semi counterpoint to my last post, is anyone ensuring that we protect not only the landscape from the infringement of mobile transmission towers from an aesthetic perspective; but also attempt to protect the solitude and escapism that can be attractive in the more remote parts of this already heavily populated country?
Speaking for myself here, I always carry my mobile with me whilst out on the hills, either mountaineering or fell running, in case I have an accident and need to call for help. But I don't rely on it.
In addition, when I am out in the mountains the last thing I'd want would be someone disturbing my thoughts with a mobile call or for that matter the person next to me whittering away about a subject or world that just for that moment I'm trying to forget about.
In the dash for 24 hour connectivity are we as a species going to lose anything about our character if we are always hooked up to a global network of communication?
Do we need our isolation in order to be able to reflect on the busier moments in life with better perspective?
Or, at least, should those that do want the isolation be able to choose to visit these locations without the intrusion of other visitors bringing their technology with them?
Obviously there are a number of technologies that are already out there in regular use that negate the need for mobile transmissions in order to operate.
Satellite dependant technologies already jump geographical boundaries that the likes of GPRS and GSM are unable to compete with.
But the use of satellite phones for voice communications is still a rarity mainly due to the prohibitive costs of hardware and network subscriptions.
GPS devices are common place in the mountains, although I do find them a more regular sight in the less remote locations with leisurely Sunday walkers ensuring they are fully kitted up with the latest and greatest of outdoor kit.
GPS, however, does not allow you to perform communication between other device users, instead simply allows you to discover and track your location.
Technologies can bring economic benefits to remote regions but, like the highways that came before them, they can also bring intrusion and unwelcome change.
From an overall stand point I am an active supporter of ensuring that wired broadband technology should be available to all, in all areas.
But from a wireless or air-bound perspective, I'd like to think that we as a nation would perform some protection of the sanctuary that can be found in the more remote parts of our busy island from the ever growing world of mobile technology.
What are your thoughts?
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