When mobile phones first appeared in the 1990s we used them mainly for the purpose suggested by their name: to make phone calls. In 2019, the situation is much different: mobile phones are now more commonly called smartphones and using them to call people is a fringe activity.
Instead, we use these pocket computers to send each other text messages and multimedia, shop, take photographs and do our banking. Studies show that the average user looks at her smartphone 150 times a day.
A hugely transformative technology which is also a wildly successful consumer product. It is estimated that nearly 4 billion of the world’s 5.5 billion adults own a smartphone.
Annual sales of the devices regularly reach the 1 billion mark as first-time users discover them and established users upgrade to newer models. In many parts of the world, smartphones are the only available means of accessing the internet.
There is a long list of industries which have been disrupted by companies that have the smartphone at the heart of their operations. Transport, accommodation and television are among the most prominent examples.
In each of those industries established products and business models have lost relevance. They have been replaced by mobile applications which offer consumers personalized, on-demand services.
Yet in spite of such a volume of activity, mobile still possess huge potential.
Further advances are predicted to come through deeper integration with emerging technologies such as
Wearable devices like smart watches
Voice recognition in the form of voice search
3D scanning and facial recognition
At the same time as these various trends gather momentum, there is one overarching development driving the entire mobile ecosystem forward: greater use of artificial intelligence. Advances in this domain mean our smartphones will increasingly predict what we want and give it to us without needing to be explicitly instructed.
Thus even today, when smartphones are showing a decrease in year-on-year sales for the first time in their history, mobile technology as a whole remains an area rich in opportunities for innovation moving forward.
Since 2012, we have organized hundreds of company visits and programs for corporate executives, business owners, board members of global businesses and government leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond.