The world has never been the same since the inception of mobile phones, with mobile technology and innovations advancing day by day. Its constant evolution has led to the development of mobile applications that exist to make the human user experience convenient. Organisations around the world solely exist to create new technologies that harness the full potential of the global network market. Mobile technology has undergone hundreds of thousands of iterations over the years which have not only increased its capabilities, but also its reach. It wasn’t too long ago when the idea of a globally available network that allowed people to communicate across large distances was but a pipe dream. Fast forward to the present day and technology has made significant strides. New trends and patterns can be seen across the global networks market that may direct a keen observer’s eye toward the possibilities that lie ahead in the near future.
A current trend that can be seen is the development of Internet of Things (IoTs). These are simply a technology that is everywhere and all around us. They are a network of physical objects embedded in the day-to-day devices that we live with. Through the harmonization of electronics, sensors, and software, these devices are able to communicate with each other cohesively. Smart Home technology is one example of this. A user can adjust the thermostat, lighting, and even security of their house all through their mobile phone remotely. These devices perform basic functions that bring about a certain level of convenience and cohesion never imagined before. Because of this, various industries are likely to embrace IoT such as healthcare, retail, automobile, manufacturing, agriculture, finance, etc. IoTs extend connectivity past laptops, smartphones, and computers which minimizes manual intervention. For example, in the agriculture industry, being able to adjust soil salinity, view water levels, and wind direction, and view pests remotely will play a huge role in increasing yields and early interventions to prevent crop failure.
The word “blockchain” gets tossed around fairly commonly in the tech industry. To some, it exists as a mythos; something meant to imbue confidence and/or fear in other tech-savvy people when uttered. But all it is really is a decentralised/distributed network that shares records of past transactions. What makes blockchain extremely attractive is the high level of integrity it has. The timestamp feature of blockchain makes it incredibly difficult or nigh impossible to make data manipulation and redefine operations. Servers are constantly staying in synch with each keeping a record of a transaction. If one wants to forge or tamper a record, they’d need to alter the record on every server. The records make it difficult for hackers to hack the system.
This means apps developed with blockchain technology feature a huge increase in data privacy. Overall, this technology would lend itself well to mobile technology and development. From creating fully traceable and addressable in-app purchases to high reliability, and easy implementation, it’s not hard to see the benefits blockchain brings to the table. Mobile wallets would do well to utilise this technology, which brings us to our third trend.
Mobile wallets are a service that is slowly increasing in popularity with each passing day. Almost every application that processes transactions requires some form of mobile wallet integration. Zambian-based banking and microfinance institutions have made tremendous strides to integrate their own form of mobile wallet. Such a service brings about a great deal of convenience to the customer. It becomes really convenient to deposit and withdraw money both locally and internationally. Some services these wallets offer include paying utility bills, buying airtime, online transactions, and much more. For example, ZANACO, STANCHART, FNB all offer their own form of mobile wallet which are ZeeWallet, Straight2Bank, and e-Wallet respectively. Even Mobile Networks such as MTN and Airtel offer their own take on mobile wallets. ZICTA performing its role as an autonomous ICT regulator ensures all these institutions seamlessly transfer digitized money between each other all to the customer’s convenience.
Commerce on social media has been increasing adoption over the years. Facebook and Instagram for example, feature a marketplace with shopping options, and a user can connect to a host of business apps to ease their e-commerce business on the platform. WhatsApp Business is an entirely separate application built from the ground up solely dedicated to businesses. Businesses can create stores and showcase their products on the application while users peruse through them and even purchase them right in the application. Through the creation of virtual stores, it becomes less tedious for the business to advertise and direct user traffic toward them. Social media and commerce are slowly being woven together. This could not have been possible without advances in mobile technology and networks.
With improved mobile technology comes better biometric authentication. Mobile devices are increasing biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, iris scanning, and much more. The latter two bring an extra layer of convenience and security to the user due to how unique these features are to every human being. They also make accessibility much easier for people who are disabled as they only need to unlock their devices or make purchases by looking at their phone screens.
With more mobile technological innovations come more convenience, inclusion, and accessibility. Moore’s Law implies that we follow a path to technological advancements that stop nowhere. The possibilities are practically endless, and we need only to take a glimpse to see how transformative the current technology has come. The latest trends focus on making devices more practical, intuitive, and integrated into the real world. As they improve, the world will begin to slowly transform.