As Michigan continues to search for the answer to return the state to economic viability, we at the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) believe that a major piece of the state’s economic puzzle is being overlooked – by government, by business (both enterprise-level and small business), by the economic forecasters, and by a large segment of the education community. Research strongly indicates that mobile technology is the answer to Michigan’s economic recovery.
The maturation of wireless networks and the evolution of a wide variety of mobile technologies, along with the proliferation of hand-held devices of all types, has created a new class of technology that is ubiquitous and easily accessible at all times by businesses in every possible industry, by educators, and by consumers. The access provided by mobile technology is enabling significant growth in the economies of even the poorest of countries according to a multitude of global studies. Given that economic impact on a global scale, the expectation that mobile technology’s influence on Michigan’s economy would be substantive would not be unfounded.
Bearing out this inference, MTAM recently worked with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to complete an analysis on the impact of mobile technology on Michigan’s economy. The results of that analysis provide direct evidence of mobile technology’s ability to create sustainable, good-paying jobs in Michigan. For example:
- There are currently over 47,000 residents of the State of Michigan currently employed in some segment of the mobile / wireless industry though its evolution in Michigan is still in its infancy
- Of those 47,000+ mobile technology-related employees, approximately 4500 of them work directly for the carriers, a modest percentage work in mobile-related positions within enterprise-level firms, and the largest percentage work in over 2200 small businesses throughout Michigan
- The study also reveals that every mobile-related job that is created in Michigan creates 3.9 additional non-mobile-related positions in the state.
- The average compensation for someone working in a mobile technology-related position in Michigan is $63,000; a cost-of-living equivalent to $145,000 in California’s Silicon Valley.
As a result of these findings of mobile technology’s direct impact on Michigan job creation, MTAM has established a goal of creating 9,250 mobile-related jobs in the state by 2015 which if achieved, will also create over 35,000 additional non-mobile-related jobs in businesses both large and small. These new jobs will result in over $1.7 billion in salaries / wages for Michigan residents according to the MEDC analysis.
So you might wonder how mobile technology can be expected to have such signficant impact on the State. The answer lies in the diversity of industries which will be directly impacted by the development and implementation of mobile technologies. Such industries would include:
- general manufacturing
- marketing / advertising
- real estate
- transportation management
- financial services / banking
- data security
- business / consumer security
- consumer services
- business services
- many, many more!
Given the ability for mobile technology to impact such a diversity of industries and to provide such pronounced economic impact, obviously it leads to the question of why there is not more focus on mobile technology within the State of Michigan. We believe there are a number of factors that are adversely affecting the technology’s ability to drive generation of the expected positive economic impact such as:
LACK OF EDUCATION
- mobile is currently thought to be only a consumer-oriented technology, businesses have little awareness of the wide array of mobile technologies available and their ability to directly impact and increase a company’s productivity and profitability. Most business owners cannot yet concieve of mobile technology in any way other than cell phones, tablet devices, or vehicle navigation systems. The reality of mobile technology is far more diverse, and significantly more impactful.
- resources are not yet available to facilitate training programs related to mobile technology. If such funding was available it would enable the re-training of downsized workers and once again enable them to find fulfilling, living-wage positions. Further, college students would begin to see the ability to stay in Michigan for their education – and their career; and small businesses would see Michigan as an environment where an industry with a lower than normal barrier-to-entry is embraced. Lastly, existing businesses would be able to re-define themselves with new product / service offerings that would once again make them competitive and able to expand their hiring.
LACK OF INDUSTRY COHESION IN THE STATE
- various sectors of the industry such as carriers, mobile developers, equipment installers, etc. have very little knowledge of how their organizations and their sectors impact other sectors of the industry. This lack of awareness adversely affects the formation of relationships which could ultimately enable innovation and growth of the overall industry throughout the State.
- while certainly competition is key to the growth of any industry, competitors in most growth-oriented industries have found ways to work together for their common good. This cooperation has been achieved at the national and international levels in the mobile / wireless space – even when firms agree to disagree in specified areas, they have managed to come together on issues important to the overall industry. Unfortunately, in Michigan, the mobile / wireless industry has yet to achieve this cooperative status.
- there is not yet a wide acceptance of the role that mobile technologies will play in the growth of Michigan’s economy, therefore support is not currently being provided from government entities, educational facilities, enterprise-level firms, state-wide organizations, marketers, national / international industry groups, or a majority of small businesses.
Returning to the question posed in the headline of this article, ‘can mobile technology jumpstart Michigan’s economy?’, the answer is an unequivocal YES!
Given the increasingly rapid pace at which mobile technologies are evolving, Michigan has a short window of opportunity to carve out a leadership position for itself in specific segments of the mobile / wireless space where major impact has yet to be achieved. Among those areas are machine-2-machine / mobile-2-machine and mHealth, and possibly even mobile TV. We at MTAM believe that Michigan is uniquely positioned to stake a claim to these segments of the industry due to our existing resources such as:
- global leadership capabilities in manufacturing and engineering
- exceptional educational institutions
- an abundance of existing engineering and development talent in a wide variety of specialty areas
- renowned healthcare institutions
- recently developed production facilities that were built to take advantage of the now-defunct tax incentives for the entertainment industry
Michigan is currently faced with an opportunity to change its future and that of its residents. We hope that those in a position to directly affect the integration of, and promote the capabilities of mobile technologies to benefit the state, its businesses and its residents will realize that time is short. We at MTAM will be here to assist.
MTAM’s mission is to create demand for Michigan-based mobile technology products and services. Given the research, it is our expectation that increased demand will generate new opportunities for Michigan-based enterprises and small businesses, thereby enabling the creation of new jobs. As a state-based trade association for Michigan’s mobile / wireless industry we are working steadfastly to develop educational programs and locate educational funding, to increase industry cohesion, and to generate opportunities for collaboration between mobile and other industries, governmental institutions, education, associations, and consumers / businesses-at-large to insure that the State of Michigan has the opportunity to achieve the positive economic impact that can be derived from mobile’s diverse technologies. Should there be interest in learning more, or in working with us to facilitate that growth, please feel free to visit our website at http://GoMobileMichigan.org or to contact us directly at info@GoMobileMichigan.org .
About the Author:
Linda Daichendt, Executive Director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan and Co-founder of Mobile Monday Michigan is an accomplished marketer, and award-winning blogger, and one of Michigan’s leading proponents of the use of mobile technology and mobile marketing for businesses of all sizes. She is a recognized business expert with 20+ years of corporate, small business and franchising experience. Linda is also the CEO of Strategic Growth Concepts, and a Co-host / Co-producer of the international online radio program, ‘The Mobile Marketing Review’. Linda may be contacted directly at Linda@GoMobileMichigan.org.
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