The future of text messaging: 911 via text

 

Looking through the technology news today on CNN.com, I stumbled across an article about 911 finally being available via text messaging in 2014. Yes, that’s right, by 2014, you will be able to quickly send a text to 911 in an emergency. This really shows how society keeps changing to adapt to the latest technology.

On the other hand, this also shows how slowly parts of society are adapting to modern technology. SMS texting is a 20-year-old technology. 911 is a critical service, and I believe that emergency call centers should have adapted to this technology before now. What about an individual whose house is being broken into, but they do not want to alert the intruder of their whereabouts for fear of violence? Text messaging would be the best quiet solution, not to mention the fastest.

In today’s age of technology, we can text almost anyone because most people have cell phones. Heck, even doctors use their phones to look up medical information. Yet 911 has not been available via text messaging yet? It’s about time access to 911 catches up to the 21st century.

According to the article, ” 911 text messaging service coming in 2014,” writer Heather Kelly says that the top four U.S.wireless carriers have agreed to support text-to-911. This service will not support third-party text messaging apps and will not work when a user is roaming. The top four carriers will make the text-to-911 feature available by May 15, 2014.

Once the carriers have set up this new feature, it will take some additional time for emergency response centers to receive the proper equipment and training before the feature will be up and working. This is definitely another step in the right direction, and I am pleased to see how technology continues to evolve toward a future of limitless possibilities.

To read the full article, go to http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/07/tech/mobile/fcc-carriers-announce-text-to-911/index.html.

 

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Society’s dependence on technology

 

Upon browsing my Facebook news feed this evening, I came across the trailer to this film called “Connected” via the media site Upworthy.  Everything that was mentioned in the trailer definitely resonates with me. Especially after the day I spent without using my phone. Below is the trailer for “Connected,” which is insightful into the modern dilemma of Internet connectivity.

 

 

Society has become very dependent on smartphones and anxiety is one of the negative consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I love my smartphone and I think that smartphones were one of the greatest inventions in my time.

However, we do need to see the bigger picture and stop to smell the roses, so to speak. We are constantly connected and it has a negative effect sometimes when it comes to the time we spend with friends and family. We just need to learn to find the balance between being connected and being completely present to fully enjoy the time we spend with others.

I have included the first film short of “Connected” below. Other film shorts from “Connected” can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/connectedthefilm.

 

Smartphone addiction in today’s society

 

This past weekend, I read this interesting article on CNN about how three smartphone owners kept diaries for a week about their smartphone addiction. The full article, “800 texts in one week? Diaries of 3 smartphone addicts,” can be found at http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/05/tech/mobile/smartphone-addicts/index.html.

In the article, three smartphone addicts kept track of their smartphone usage during one week, which involved tracking their Facebook usage to how many texts they sent in one week. The text usage by these addicts ranged from 399 to 423 messages sent in one week.

This article got me thinking about my own smartphone usage. I decided to keep track of my own usage over just the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). I sent 179 text messages in those two days alone (granted they were mostly to my boyfriend who currently lives an hour and a half away). If that usage was consistent for a week, I’d be looking at about 626 text messages in a week, which is a lot more than even these smartphone addicts said they sent. However, I think that it’s a possibility that they might have kept their numbers down to appear not so addicted.

So, maybe I text my boyfriend a little too much. We do spend a lot more time apart since he graduated and moved back home, so texting helps us stay better connected so we don’t miss each other as much. I am a little shocked that I may possibly text that much in just one week. However, I do text a lot less during weekdays due to schoolwork and classes, so my estimate is probably off quite a bit.

Looking at Facebook usage, I checked my Facebook news feed about eight times during the weekend. I tend to check Facebook frequently out of short boredom since my phone is right by me most of the time. I left three comments on Facebook, liked five posts, and had one status update over the weekend. I also checked my Twitter feed five times over the two days.

Looking at the rest of my smartphone usage over the weekend, I checked my e-mail three times, checked the weather forecast five times, checked CNN three times, checked TV Guide three times, used Google at least five times, and I listened to music for about 30 minutes.

Below is an NBC Network news clip I found on YouTube related to smartphone addiction in regards to social media, that really can make you think about the presence of your smartphone in your life.

 

 

So, what has my keeping track of my smartphone usage over two days shown me in relation to smartphone addiction? I think I text a little too much and I need to use Facebook and Twitter less. Before I had a smartphone, I know I didn’t text as much and I only checked Facebook two times a day at most to just go through some of my news feed from the day.

I know most of the younger generation today have their phones with them wherever they go, even if it’s just to go into another room for awhile. I don’t remember it being like that for me when I had a non-smartphone, or as I like to call it, a “dinosaur phone.” I would use my phone mainly for casual texting and calling, and suffer through a crappy mobile internet to check my e-mail.

I think that with smartphones, we are facing an information overload having so much available to us at all times, and this makes us retreat to our phones constantly. I have a family member who has always been concerned about excessive cell phone usage, especially when guests come over, and I have always thought she was being a bit extreme at times. I believe now that she had a point in some ways.

Maybe we should try to reduce our smartphone usage, especially if it may get in the way of relationships. Especially when you are having dinner with someone and feel the need to check Facebook or the news while waiting for the food to arrive, instead of giving full attention to the other person. I will admit that I have been guilty of this.

I think maybe a “smartphone detox” could be healthy for all of us once in awhile. Just put your phone away, out of sight, for a few hours, and relax and have full concentration on work or the people you are spending time with. It might make a difference and maybe make you less stressed. As I am writing this, I plan to take my own advice tonight as I am working on a project and relaxing before bed.

Do smartphones really act as extra limbs?

Welcome to my blog, where I will write about the great technology of smartphones. This blog will feature app reviews, commentary on the latest tech news, and my personal thoughts about the current and future state of the world of smartphones. I decided to write a blog about smartphone technology because I personally love reading articles and blogs featuring app reviews and the latest thoughts and news in the smartphone world. I believe that smartphones, and in my personal experience, the iPhone 4s, are one of the best inventions in this modern world of ever-changing technology.

A few days ago, I stumbled across an interesting article on CNN.com about how smartphones can make us “superhuman” by how much they help us live our lives, so much so to the point where they are almost like an extra limb, or a “phantom limb,” according to CNN writer John D. Sutter. The full article by Sutter called “How smartphones make us superhuman” can be found at http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/10/tech/mobile/our-mobile-society-intro-oms/index.html. This article is part of  “Our Mobile Society,” an ongoing series of tech-related articles that CNN.com will feature through October 7. “Our Mobile Society” can be found at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/tech/our-mobile-society/index.html.

“This is the first time in the entire history of humanity that we’ve connected in this way,” Amber Case said in a 2010 TEDWomen lecture. Case is known as a “cyborg anthropologist.” “And it’s not that machines are taking over. It’s that they’re helping us to be more human,” Case continued to say. “They’re helping us to connect to each other. The most successful technology gets out of the way and helps us live our lives.” See Case’s speech at the 2010 TEDWomen lecture in the video below.

 

I very much agree with this statement by Case. I have heard people say that some people are addicted to their phones and that it is not healthy. But that is not true. Smartphones do help us live our lives, even though some people may view them as interfering with our lives. They can be lifesavers.

What if you don’t have the phone number of someone you are trying to get ahold of? If they are on your Facebook, you can easily send them a quick message on the go. Need information quick for a restaurant or store and you are nowhere near your computer or a phonebook? No problem. You can either Google the place or look it up in the White Pages or Yelp apps. In need of movie showtimes? There’s no need to look up the information in the newspaper or call the theater for showtimes. As long as you have Flixster or another movie showtimes and reviews app installed on your phone, you are all set.

Smartphones allow us to catch up on the news no matter where we are with the simple tap of our fingers, listen to our music collection on the go, check the weather when we are in a hurry, check our bank balances and that’s only the start of it. Smartphones have made some of the most time-consuming tasks a lot easier, which allows us to live our lives better.

Phones have become so cherished that an estimated 68 percent of phone owners keep them at their bedside as they sleep, according to the CNN article. I am one of the guilty 68 percent. Sometimes I fall asleep with the phone next to me on the bed after I’ve checked Facebook and the news before I go to sleep. Most of the time I have it on my desk right next to my bed because the alarm clock on it wakes me up better than my regular alarm clock. Then as soon as I wake up, I instantly check my phone for any missed texts and check Facebook and the news.

I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone. As a full-time graduate student with a part-time job, having my iPhone on me at all times is very helpful when I am on the go. I am no longer reliant on my laptop for most things and I can get in contact with people a lot faster via text, mail and Facebook.

As a graduate student, I often find myself multitasking with both my laptop and cell phone, with the aid of Starbucks. Even on the go, my smartphone is always extremely helpful and does often serve as a “phantom limb.”

A couple days after the CNN article was published, the writer wrote another article featuring some of the responses to his article, which ranged from “Smartphones also make us SuperStupid” to “Smartphones have created a generation of narcissistic snobs who think they know everything.” I feel comments like these are made by individuals who have never owned a smartphone and are possibly envious or by individuals quick to judge based on a few bad behaviors they have witnessed in others. Either way, smartphones are here to stay and they are the way of the future, in my opinion. To read this rebuttal article, go to http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/11/tech/mobile/smartphones-superstupid/?iref=obinsite.

What are your thoughts on smartphones and their potential in the present and future? Do you agree that smartphones are like a “phantom limb” that make us to an extent superhuman? I’d love to hear what you think, so feel free to leave a comment.