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The WWW turns 30: what we want next

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To mark the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web this week, over 11,000 survey respondents from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (including 1,000 from South Africa) shared what the Web has made possible for them today, and what they hope it will make possible for future generations.

Whilst the web has delivered many ‘firsts’, from the first website (info.cern.ch – 1990) and the first online takeaway order (pizza -1994), to the first Internet connection in space (Cisco – 2010), people’s ambitions for the Internet’s future overwhelmingly highlight what it can make possible for society.

Enabling ‘better access to education’ tops the list of South African respondents’ aspirations for the future of the Internet (83 percent).  This figure is far higher than any other country surveyed.  The average across the 13 countries surveyed for enabling ‘better access to education’ was 63 percent.

Other notable findings specific to South Africa were:

  • Enabling ‘better healthcare’ was also high (69 percent).  Only Poland was slightly higher (71 percent).
  • More than any other country, South Africa wants the internet to be a platform for social/political change (50 percent).
  • South Africa ranked highest across the markets surveyed for ‘the internet allowed people to work in different ways’ (74 percent) and be more productive (69 percent).
  • Respondents from South Africa placed the greatest emphasis on the value of the internet in the past 30 years ‘as a means of connecting people’ (56 percent), ‘allowing new ways of learning’ (46 percent), ‘career opportunities’ (39 percent) and ‘giving opportunities for new business start-ups’ (30 percent).

“Cisco has built, and continues to build, the Internet as we know it today. In South Africa, we are dedicated  to build networks and bring technology solutions that address citizens’ needs. But we also see beyond technology: in education for instance, Cisco committed to training 10 million people worldwide for jobs in the digital economy over the next five years, including one million in Africa. Through Cisco’s Networking Academy, over 62 000 South African students (29% of whom are female) have been trained with technical skills so far,” says Clayton Naidoo, Cisco’s General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year, Cisco also unveiled its cutting-edge Incubation Hub in Pretoria to help develop SMMEs in the digital age and speed up their entry to market. The hub equips SMMEs with state-of-the-art Cisco technology, training and enablement programs, and helps them grow their business with the help of Cisco experts.

Based on the survey of respondents across 13 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the findings showcase the enormous impact that the World Wide Web, as the largest application on the internet, has had in connecting people and information, over the last 30 years.

Key EMEA findings:

  • The last 30 years: The number one thing the internet has made possible for consumers is to ‘stay up-to-date and informed’ (74 percent) followed by ‘entertainment’ (71 percent) and to ‘stay in touch with family and friends’ (70 percent).
  • The entertainment industry (39 percent) is seen as the primary beneficiary of technological advances to-date, followed by the finance industry (31 percent).
  • The next 30 years: Better access to education is the number one thing respondents want the internet to make possible over the next 30 years (63 percent) followed by better access to healthcare (57 percent).
  • When asked which industries will benefit most from technological advancements, the top choice was ‘healthcare’ (at 34 percent) followed by ‘education’ (32 percent).
  • Most positive impact: ‘Connecting people’ (39 percent), ‘enhanced communication’ (35 percent) and ‘new ways of learning’ (35 percent) are seen as the top three ways in which the web has benefited society to-date.
  • We can’t live without it: Over a third (39 percent) of people can’t imagine being able to function in their personal lives without the internet.

“We live in a hyper-connected world. By 2022, we are going to see more traffic crossing global networks than in the entire history of the Internet combined. This traffic comes from all of us, and increasingly, our machines. The survey shows the impact that the World Wide Web and the Internet has had on our lives, and what people expect for the future. To realize that potential, organisations – be it in healthcare, education, or any other industry – must be able to understand the power of connections and securely extract value from them. In addition, they need to manage the complexity that comes with the explosion of connecting people, places, ideas and things across a network.”

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Car buyers to start abandoning fuel-power by 2025

Car buyers in the United States and Europe expect electric vehicles to become a viable alternative to fuel-powered cars in the next five years.

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A new report outlining consumer expectations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their viability as replacements for traditional fuel-powered cars or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles suggests a massive shift beginning in 2025.

The conclusion emerges from a report by human behaviour and analytics firm Escalent, entitled The Future of BEV: How to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Consumers. It reveals the intent of many consumers in the United States and Europe to abandon ICE vehicles altogether, citing the improved infrastructure and range of BEVs.

The Future of BEV gives auto and mobility manufacturers a strategic view of the benefits of their products in the eyes of consumers and highlights the areas of opportunity for automakers to push the innovation boundaries of BEVs to spur broad adoption of the technology.

“While most buyers don’t plan to choose BEVs over gasoline-powered cars within the next five years, consumers have told us there is a clear intention to take BEVs seriously in the five years that follow,” says Mark Carpenter, joint managing director of Escalent’s UK office. “However, manufacturers will need to tap into the emotional value of BEVs rather than just the rational and functional aspects to seize on that intent and inspire broader consumer adoption.”

The study demonstrates a significant shift in consumers’ expectations that BEVs will become viable alternatives to—and competitors with—ICE vehicles over the coming decade. Though 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, just 37% expect to make that same purchase in five to ten years. Similarly, while 50% of European consumers favour buying vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the near-term, that figure drops to just 23% in five to ten years.

At the same time, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic see BEV adoption rising to 36% in Europe and 16% in the US, with respondents also indicating intent to purchase hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.

Infrastructure clearly continues to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption. While some work is being done in Europe as well as in the US, the data show there is a significant need for some players to take ownership if manufacturers want to move the needle on BEV adoption.

US and European consumers have stark differences in opinion as to which entities they believe are primarily responsible for providing BEV charging stations. American consumers consider carmakers (45%) the primary party responsible, followed by fuel companies, local government/transport authorities, and the national government in fourth. On the other hand, European consumers view the national government (29%) as the primary party responsible for providing BEV infrastructure, followed by carmakers, local government/transport authorities and fuel companies.

For a full copy of the report, visit https://landing.escalent.co/download-the-future-of-bev.

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New cell phone to help with dementia and memory loss

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A new cell phone that takes simplicity to the extreme is designed to address the unique needs of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone, developed by RAZ Mobility, a provider of mobile assistive technology, was launched this week. The handset is also well-suited for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, with one in ten people over the age of 65 diagnosed with the disease. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase rapidly as the proportion of the population 65 and older increases. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one percent of the population has an intellectual disability.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone consists of one primary screen, and one screen only. It is always on and includes pictures and names of up to six contacts and a button to call 911. That’s it! There are no applications or settings to cause confusion. No notifications or operating system updates. No distractions. Users can simply tap and hold the picture of the person they wish to call.

Caregivers manage the RAZ Memory Cell Phone through a simple online portal. The portal is used to create and edit the contacts, track the location of the phone/user and select certain options, such as the option to restrict incoming calls to people in the user’s contacts, thereby avoiding unwanted calls such as predatory robocalls.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone can now be ordered at https://www.razmobility.com/solutions/memory-cellphone/.

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