By 2016 there were enough mobile devices for every man, woman and child around the world. By the end of the decade, it's expected that there will be more than nine billion in circulation.
20 September 2017
As technology becomes cheaper, more accessible and increasingly widespread, countries in Asia could soon dwarf many western nations in their use of mobile devices. For example, it’s now possible to purchase a smart-phone in India for as little as $20 USD. The ubiquity of mobile is already clear to see.
In the 1990s we used mobile phones to make calls but we’re now using them to watch videos, to download apps and consume the latest news. According to Bob Schukai, Head of Applied Innovation at Thomson Reuters, as much as 70% of the activity on mobile phones is based around video content. It’s the key application of choice and as a society we’re using huge amounts of data on a daily basis. Young people document their lives through Snapchat and Instagram and think nothing of recording and sharing videos with friends.
Speaking at the inaugural RICS World Built Environment Forum Summit in Washington DC, Schukai explained to our audience that 5G connectivity will be the next big leap in this space. This technology, expected to be rolled out by 2020, could allow download speeds of up to 1Gb per second - faster than any wireless broadband connection you currently receive at home.
But this is just the beginning. In ten years’ time there will be somewhere between 25 and 30 billion devices connected to the internet, both generating and consuming data. These could be the sensors placed on buildings to detect rainfall, right back to the exercise tracking device wrapped around your wrist.
Companies such as IBM, Google and Apple are doing amazing things in the world of cognitive computing and ‘deep-learning’. Schukai showed our audience modern-day innovations such as Amazon Echo and focused their thoughts on the iPhone’s virtual assistant application, Siri.
In many respects, the future is already here. What we choose to do with it is the question to be answered.
The RICS World Built Environment Forum Summit reconvenes in London in 2018. These two days of cutting edge debates will focus on the commercial strategies needed to harness the enormous potential of the 21st century’s people and places.
The World Built Environment Forum is a global network of professionals combining knowledge, skills and resources to shape the environment global populations need