Anyone who doubts the pervasiveness of mobile technology need only open L.L. Bean’s Summer 2015 Outdoors Catalogue. There, amid the portable water purifier and hiking poles, lies a half-page photo and description of a new base-camp stove – a smart stove for your next camping trip. This stove will burn the twigs and other small pieces of wood hanging around your camp, but it will simultaneously cook your food and recharge your smart phone or tablet. It appears the stove converts the fire’s heat to another kind of energy – the kind that keeps you connected.
You could, of course, argue that a camper would want a charged phone handy at all times for safety reasons, certainly a valid purpose to own such a stove. But it also removes the campsite from one of the last places for quiet thought and unplugged bonding with family and friends. It makes it easy to keep up with news, be reachable by the office and shop online. Meanwhile the Fitbit she wears will continue monitoring the camper’s activity level toward a 15 percent rebate on her life insurance premium. And the camper may even sleep better knowing the smart smoke detector would alert her in the event of a fire; she could call the fire department and even file an insurance claim before she gets home.
Mobility just keeps growing. Like the camp-stove manufacturer whose stoves do more than just heat food, insurers can move beyond insurance – even to the forest – and evolve in rewarding ways.