Robert Fulton took what other people had already made and made a successful commercial venture. This commercial venture was the steamboat.
The problems solved was that it was four times faster then any other wind powered boat. The U.S could also use scheduling route now because the boats no longer relied on the wind. This was a reliable way of water transportation.
The life ended up being better for for the people then because the people could trade quicker and that it the same now too but only now we built off the steamboat and made it into a better one and we can travel even faster.