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.
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.
Meet the ambassador to the future
Tilly Lockey, 14, lost her hands as a toddler, but sees it as a massive opportunity to embrace technology. She chatted with ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK about the human of tomorrow.
It is a description that defines 14-year-old Tilly Lockey: She lost her hands at the age of 15 months, and now uses bionic hands to show the world how to overcome disability.
That could easily read as an advertisement for a prosthetics company, but Tilly refuses to be defined by marketing messages. She has not only embraced what is supposed to be a disability, but wants to become nothing less than an ambassador to the future.
That is in effect what she is achieving by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with artificial hands. It means that, eventually, she will have more capabilities built into her body than most able-bodied humans can imagine. She collaborates closely with Open Bionics, a start-up that is using 3D printing to create low-cost prosthetics with high-tech capabilities.
“I have very high hopes for the future,” she said during a chat on the sidelines of the SingularityU Summit at Kyalami north of Johannesburg. From Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom, she was at the Summit as a guest speaker, chaperoned by her father Adam and sister Tia.
“When I started working with Open Bionics, I wanted it to include lighting, music, Bluetooth, a projector in my palm, all over-optimistic things. But then I feel that is not too far away, and then a disability would turn into and enhancement of normal human hands. I’m really excited about it.
“I know there’s a couple of things they are working on right now, like trying to get the built-in battery thinner, because it’s hard to get overcoats and jackets over it, so they are trying to get the hands slimmer. They’re working on haptic feedback, to give a sense of touch of vibration, which tells me of I have a good grip on something. It could be coming soon. These hands I’m using now were made in the past five years. In another five years, I think we’ll have all of it.”
The hands in question are called Hero Arms, which its creators, Open Bionics, say is “the world’s first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm, with multi-grip functionality and empowering aesthetics”.
Click here to read more about the development of Open Bionics’s Hero Arms.
How Tilly Lockey became a Hero
Part 2 of ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK’s interview with Tilly Lockey explores her amazing career.
This is the second part of this series of articles. To start from the beginning, click here.
Tilly Lockey was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B when she was 15 months old.
Her mother spotted the tell-tale signs one day in 2007: a fast-spreading skin rash that looks like pinpricks, along with symptoms like lethargy and bruising. She was rushed to hospital, but the bacterial poisoning spread so aggressively, doctors gave Tilley no chance of survival. They had to make a quick decision to amputate her hands to save her life.
Twelve years later, her future truly came into focus: “I was surprised with really cool Alita: Battle Angel bionic Hero Arms and went on the blue carpet at the world premiere of the movie with Rosa Salazar and director James Cameron.”
That pivotal moment in her life would not have been possible without the intensive efforts of her mother, Sara, to raise funds to buy something better than the metal prosthetics issued by the National Health Service in the UK. She increased Tilley’s profile with a campaign to “Give Tilley a Hand”, and today works as a fundraiser and events organiser for the Meningitis Now support group. Her involvement in an event meant she was unable to join Tilley on her trip to South Africa last week, when she spoke at the SingularityU Summit. After coming off stage, Tilley told us that Sara was her biggest inspiration in her life, and the closest to a role model.
“I’m usually a speaker at her events. I tell everyone my story and what I’m doing now and give these kids inspiration, because they often feel they can’t do anything because of what Meningitis did to them.
“I am home schooled now, which is pretty cool, because I’m able to have a career and get educated at the same time. I feel I can do a lot of things that friends can’t do. I can take a whole class on an aeroplane. I have a great time traveling and meeting so many inspiring people who are making a difference in the world.”
The form of Mengingitis that attacked her leaves hidden scars and issues that only become apparent years later. She is almost absurdly cheerful about the challenges that have faced her.
“I personally figured out that my left leg had stopped growing. I’m still finding out things it has caused, but you survive. At least I’m here and I’m alive.”
It does help that she’s comfortable in the spotlight, happy to give interviews, and eager to show what she can do with her bionic hands.
“I want to go into public speaking a lot more, and it could be an option as career. I want it to continue because it’s a lot of fun, and I feel I’ve got a story to share. If I can inspire people to change the world, I will. “
Her travels this year will still take her to Barcelona, Jakarta and New York. In the Big Apple, she will accept a humanitarian award, and intends “to give a funky speech”.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, she will take part in a fashion catwalk and do a makeup tutorial live. She learned to do makeup with one of her bionic hands when she fractured her right elbow in a fall at school
“I got makeup for Christmas and wanted to play with it, and got the idea of doing it with an open hand. It took a lot of perseverance and patience, but after studying how to do it, I was able to recreate a full makeup routine using one hand. It wasn’t a great situation at the time, but now I’m happy it happened because it got me into doing what I do now.”
What she is doing with makeup is remarkable in its own right. She gives tutorials on YouTube, where she says she is “kinda new”, as she has “only around 16,000 followers”. That may well soon expand into cooking videos.
In other words, everything is an opportunity: “I could be sad, just sit on my bed and cry, or I can live my life and realise what I’ve got: these amazing bionic Hero Arms.
“All I want to do is help give people confidence in themselves, accept who they are, accept their scars and everything about them. That they don’t have to impress everybody and just be themselves.”
Read more in the third article of the series about how family remains at the centre of Tilly’s life.