Today, half the world’s population has a mobile phone. The desire to communicate personally and conveniently is relevant to a banker in New York as a farmer on the outskirts of New Delhi.
While the cost of connectivity still presents a considerable barrier for some of the world’s remaining 3.3 billion people living without mobile communications, advances in technology and manufacturing allow us to envision a world in the future where the price of a mobile phone is dramatically lower than today.
The global spread of low cost personal communication will have a profound impact on the world around us. It will change our perception of distance and time and affect our notions of community, authority and trust. In some communities lower costs will introduce services such as personal banking for the very first time, whilst in other communities the phone will become an object that is bought and disposed of on a whim. These changes challenge ideas for the future as to what and how we manufacture, and place a greater emphasis on sustainability.
Discussions around the consequences of a truly connected planet have been going on for some time in our organisation, and maybe also in yours. Fivedollarcomparison.org is a small step to broaden the discussion and explore how the impact might vary across cultures and contexts by asking a simple question:
What can you buy for five dollars?
We recognise that in some ways picking five dollars and focusing on purchasing cost, rather than total cost of ownership is an arbitrary choice. It does, however concentrate the discussion and presents a sufficient departure from the status quo to stimulate fresh thinking.
The fivedollarcomparison.org site was put together by an advanced design and research team in Nokia. We focus on identifying and understanding future disruptions and opportunities, looking 3-15 years out into the future and using these insights to help develop potentially new ideas for products and services.
The team consists of Tom Arbisi, BJ Bandy, Julian Bleecker, Duncan Burns, Jan Chipchase, John Evans, Andrew Gartrell, Josephine Gianni, Raphael Grignani, Simon James, Phillip Lindberg, Rhys Newman, Pawena Thimaporn, Kurt Walecki and Pascal Wever.