If you want to see how mobile telephony is transforming business and culture, look no farther than Japan. Adoption of third-generation or “3G” cellular technologies in Japan far outpaces that in North America, and young people in Japan are coming up with uses for their mobiles–such as staying in constant touch with their boyfriends or girlfriends, free of their parents’ eavesdropping–that manufacturers and cellular providers never dreamed of. But understandably, many Japanese are worried about how the technology is affecting the country’s deeply-rooted social traditions. Now NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s leading cellular provider, has announced that it will open a lab specifically to study the social impact of mobile phones.
DoCoMo says the lab, to be called the Mobile Society Research Institute, will focus on four areas: