Deloitte Global forecasts major strides in machine learning for the enterprise, a worldwide appetite for digital subscriptions among consumers, and ongoing smartphone dominance.
Among the findings pertaining to the enterprise, this year’s report indicates that business organisations will likely double their use of machine learning technology by the end of 2018. TMT Predictions highlights five key areas that Deloitte Global believes will unlock more intensive use of machine learning in the enterprise by making it easier, cheaper and faster.
The most important key area is the growth in new semiconductor chips that will increase the use of machine learning, enabling applications to use less power, and at the same time become more responsive, flexible and capable.
“We have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate,” said Mark Casey, Deloitte Global Media & Entertainment & TMT Africa Leader.
Live content in an online world and digital media worth paying for
TMT Predictions includes a number of consumer forecasts as well. Deloitte Global predicts that live broadcast and events will generate over $545 billion in direct revenues in 2018. Despite consumers’ capability to consume content on demand or attend events remotely, live consumption is thriving. And in many cases, live content’s performance has been made more productive and profitable by digital.
Indicating an increasing willingness from consumers to pay for digital content, Deloitte Global also predicts that by the end of 2018, 50 percent of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, the average will have doubled to four.
“Digital’s rise has augmented not dented the public’s appetite for media, which in 2018 will likely include over half a trillion dollars’ worth of all forms of live content,” said Casey.
The future of the smartphone
Smartphone adoption continues to grow. By the end of 2023, more than 90 percent of adults in developed countries are expected to have a smartphone, with ownership among 55-75 year-olds reaching 85 percent. And Deloitte Global predicts that owners will interact with their phones on average 65 times per day in 2023, a 20 percent increase on 2018.
At the same time, Deloitte Global predicts 45 percent of global adult smartphone users and 65 percent of 18-24 year olds will worry that they are using their phones too much for certain activities and may try to limit their usage in 2018.
“As smartphones continue to be a big part of our professional and personal lives, we are finding more of a balance and etiquette, especially in our personal lives, even as we continue to experience more opportunities in this exciting mobile ecosystem,” said Arun Babu, Deloitte Africa Telecommunications Leader.
Additional topics from Deloitte Global’s 2018 TMT Predictions include:
- Augmented reality on the cusp of reality – Over a billion smartphone users will likely create augmented reality (AR) content at least once in 2018, with at least 300 million doing so monthly, and tens of millions weekly, according to Deloitte Global.
- Mobile only wireless home internet – For 2018, Deloitte Global forecasts that one fifth of North American homes will get all of their internet data access via cellular mobile networks. There will be significant variations by country, however. In Brazil, for example, nearly a third of all homes will be mobile only, but only 10 percent in some European countries. The differences between geographies are due to a range of technological, economic and demographic factors.
- An increase in #adlergic – While three quarters of North Americans engage in at least one form of regular adblocking, only about 10 percent of this population engages in blocking ads in four or more ways – the “adlergic” population. Consumers who are young, highly educated, employed, and have higher incomes are more likely to be heavy adblockers.
- TV viewing by 18-24 year olds: stable declines, but no tipping point – Deloitte Global predicts that traditional TV viewing by 18-24 year-olds will decline by 5-15 percent per year in the US, Canada, and the UK in 2018 and 2019. This rate of decline is a similar rate to the prior seven years and is not getting worse. Many forces that distracted young people away from traditional TV, such as smartphones, social media, and video piracy, are reaching saturation.
- In flight connectivity takes off – One billion passenger journeys, or one quarter of all passengers, are expected to be on planes fitted with in-flight connectivity (IFC) in 2018, according to Deloitte Global. This is an estimated 20 percent increase from projected 2017 totals, generating IFC revenue close to $1 billion for 2018.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.