From bike-sharing to health care, 4G mobile broadband can support millions of new jobs
Big job-creating innovations are the result of "innovation platforms" that enable entrepreneurs and companies to build new devices, networks, and applications. In the 1990s, the new platform was the Internet. Businesses invested billions of dollars and created millions of jobs, even after accounting for the dot-com bust. Today's next big job-creating innovation platform is the 4G mobile Internet.
We've come a long way since car phones were in car trunks. Today, 5 billion smartphones and other mobile devices have more computing power than the 1980s supercomputers. But over the next five years, the mobile economy will to rise to a whole new level as 4G mobile broadband comes on the scene with speeds equaling or exceeding today's wired speeds and as hundreds of millions of people adopt smart mobile devices, from tablets to smartphones to e-book readers. The result will be an array of new applications, services, and business models that will create millions of U.S. jobs and power America's growth.
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Let's take one example. In the past two years, bike-sharing programs that enable people to rent bicycles by the hour have sprung up in many cities. Think Zipcar for bikes. But without the mobile Internet, this model couldn't work. Wireless data links connect the bike racks to a bike-tracking and billing database, and smartphone apps show riders where rental stations are and how many bikes are available.