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What fuels smartphone usage?

Last year was a turning point in the mobile industry in South Africa as the smartphone emerged as the most popular communication device for consumers, leaving the feature phone behind, according to the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey 2017.

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South Africans are now among the top users of smartphones globally and are using them for applications (apps), such as instant messaging, social media and to communicate in methods other than traditional voice calls.

Statistics indicate that smartphones are being used for multi-tasking and multi-screening, and we’ve quickly reached the point where some of us are starting to question if our love for these devices has turned into an addiction.

While we investigate the ubiquity of mobile phones, we should also be aware of the fact that in many instances they have become a must-have business tool. Manufacturers, such as LG, are constantly researching and developing mobile phones to adapt to consumer needs because there is a deep understanding that while some might question whether we’re spending too much time on mobile phones, there are many others who simply cannot do without them.

Consumers and data

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is starting to gain momentum in South Africa and as networks increase their data capacity, we will start to see an increased appetite for smartphone apps. As machine learning becomes more common-place, we expect that smartphones will be central to how consumers interact with smart appliances.

The Deloitte survey revealed that a significant majority of consumers (73%) use Wi-Fi at home, work, or at a place of study, compared to 45% for mobile networks. The usage of Wi-Fi in public areas (35% of consumers) and while commuting (14% of consumers) is significantly lower.

Data-hungry consumers perceive Wi-Fi as a competitive alternative to mobile data networks with regards to speed and given the difference in pricing, consumers are likely to use Wi-Fi for data-intensive apps such as streaming and on-demand video.

South African consumers’ preference for access through Wi-Fi aligns with global trends as a Cisco forecast indicates that Wi-Fi will carry 49% of global IP traffic by 2021 and mobile, only 17%.

The need for more data has also resulted in the need for increased on-board memory capacity and memory cards. LG has always been a leader in supplying impressive built-in storage capacity on their mobile phones. The LG G7 ThinQ, for example, has 4/6GB of RAM, 64/128GB of on-board storage space and microSD expansion up to 512GB.

Smartphone usage

Smartphones have become integrated into every facet of our lives, prompting the development of faster data networks, more intuitive handsets and smarter apps. South African mobile phone users prefer to communicate via instant messaging (82%) and social networks (74%) than through text messaging and voice calls.

The popularity of Over-The-Top apps will continue to force a shift in operator revenues from traditional voice and SMSes to data revenues. Email apps also continue to be a popular medium for personal and business communication.

Mobile consumers are also using their smartphones for more video calling and Cisco predicts that global IP video traffic will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.

If we look at usage according to age groups, 25-45 year-olds prefer to spend more time on short videos and news stories while 16-24 year-olds are more likely to spend their time streaming music and TV series, and are least likely to read the news.

While Google and Facebook are still the dominant platforms for short video content, platforms developed by telecoms companies, such as Kwese by Econet and Black by Cell C, are beginning to gain traction by focusing on sport, local productions and user-generated content.

In terms of app usage, the most popular use for 16-24 year-olds is to play music while consumers aged 25-34 and 35-45 mostly use navigation, and traffic update apps.

Given the overwhelming reliance on apps and the speed at which they work, LG ensures mobile phone processors are up to the task of handling multiple apps at the same time. The LG G7 ThinQ has an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor to keep up with the most prolific of multi-taskers who have several apps open at the same time.

 

Integral part of our lives

More than one-third of consumers worldwide said they check their phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning and 20% of them check their phone more than 50 times a day.

While there’s no doubt that mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, individuals and families are concerned about how to manage usage as 47% of respondents believe their partners use their phones too much, and 27% of parents believe their children use their phones excessively. 69% of consumers use their phones while watching TV, 41% indicated they use their phones while talking to friends and family, and 15% admitted to using their phones while driving.

The rise of smartphones continues unabated and South Africa now finds itself among the leading global adopters. The Netherlands, Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg are on the short list of countries which have surpassed the 90% threshold, and South Africa has joined them as 93% of the population has ready access to smartphones.

As smartphone penetration reaches never-before-seen levels, manufacturers such as LG will continue to develop innovative features and products to guarantee that smartphones evolve as quickly as consumers, and that users are always at the heart of technological advancements.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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