According to Altech ISIS, the ICT industry is in the midst of a once every 20-25 years shift to a new technology platform for growth and innovation. This new platform is built on mobile devices and apps, cloud services, mobile broadband networks, big data analytics and social technologies, making it the Year of the Mobile.
The company says that advances will be made which will enable mobile technology to simplify and enhance our lives. Restaurant tabs paid by phone without showing a credit card. Advice on personnel issues available to managers on mobile phones. College students' lab work done at home through virtualised software. These are just some of the hot projects that IT shops are working on and 2013 will see bigger IT budgets to try out new technologies.
Cloud cover increases
The year will reportedly see a focus on virtualisation, mobile and wireless, cloud and security technologies. Cloud is already a force to be reckoned with on the business technology scene - IT executives, vendors and analysts alike are trying to keep up to determine what it all really means and where it is taking them. Over the coming year, there will be a movement to private clouds managed by someone else, off-premises. For critical applications, only a secure, non-shared private cloud will pass all compliance requirements.
Many cloud projects are driven by the need to mobile access to back-end applications and Gartner predicts the personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals "keep their personal content, access their services and personal preferences and centre their digital lives."
Internet gets mobile
The year 2002 was said to be a turning point for the telephone, invented 126 years earlier. For the first time, the number of mobile phones overtook the number of fixed-line ones, making the telephone a predominantly mobile technology. During 2013, the same thing will happen to the internet, just 44 years after its ancestor, ARPANET, was first switched on.
The number of internet-connected mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, will exceed the number of desktop and laptop personal computers (PCs) in use, according to figures from Morgan Stanley. There is no direct correlation between devices and people, because many people use multiple devices, both fixed and mobile. However, the consultancy IDATE, reckons that the number of people accessing the internet via mobile devices will overtake the number using fixed-line connections in mid-2014.
For years, mobile access to the internet was a poor relation: the net was a medium that was chiefly accessed via PCs with large screens, perhaps with a cut-down version or an app for mobile devices. As mobile devices have become more popular and more capable, however, they have come to be seen as a far more promising platform, and 2013 will see the rise of mobile internet.
Technology becomes part of one
The company has witnessed a reshaping of the technology industry and the rise of the mobile internet will transform the way people use and perceive the internet. Mobile telephony meant that instead of calling a place, you could call a person. Similarly, having long been seen as a separate place, accessed through the portal of a PC screen, the internet is fast becoming an extra layer overlaid on reality, accessed by a device that is always with you (and may eventually be part of you). That, in the coming years, will be the most profound change of all - in Africa and throughout the world.
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