Keeping pace with technology in 2015

2015-01-01 08:00

Technological advances come quick and fast. Welcome to the digital era. Here are a few tech trends Mamello Masote predicts for 2015

Mobile payments

As the world moves closer to a cashless society, more people are adopting mobile payment technologies such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. More than 1?million people activated the Apple Pay app within 72 hours of it going live in October.

In South Africa, iKhokha, a young and innovative Cape Town financial services brand, launched a secure chip and PIN card reader called The Edge which plugs into a smartphone. This transforms the smartphone into a mobile point of sale, which is useful for small businesses.

Standard Bank also launched a mobile payment app called SnapScan this year. Other local mobile payment apps include Zapper and FlickPay.

More wi-fi hot spots

Wi-Fi makes broadband widely accessible and there have been several projects this year dedicated to increasing the number of Wi-Fi hot spots, particularly in township areas.

Many of them, like Project Isizwe, are private-public partnerships.

Research conducted on behalf of iPass found that there was one Wi-Fi hot spot per 6?160 people in South Africa compared with the global average of 150.

The research also showed that Wi-Fi hot spots in the country increased by 10% this year to 8?611 commercial hot spots and this will grow by another 26% to 9?859 this year.

Privacy– more hacking

This could arguably be dubbed the Year of Hacking, especially in the US, where deleted nude photos and emails were continuously leaked.

According to a report by internet security company Trend Micro, cybersecurity threats and targeted attacks will continue to multiply this year.

The report said data breaches would become more common and the banking sector would be under increased threat. New mobile payment methods would also introduce new threats, added the report.

Smart TVs become smarter

Televisions have become an extension of a person’s connected life and just another device to stream videos, connect to the internet and access your apps. This trend will intensify in the new year as competition increases in this sector.

Electronics company LG will make a big revelation this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

It will feature a new smart TV with new functions that are “intuitive and convenient” to use, according to LG. This will undoubtedly spur rivals such as Samsung and Panasonic to up their game.

Increasing data traffic as voice revenues decline

In November, Vodacom reported that the amount of data consumed on its network had increased by 55% to 336 megabytes a month in the six months to September. MTN reported a 117% increase in data traffic in the six months to June.

Cloud computing

Apps such as Dropbox and Evernote ensure that you can store your files on the internet and not on your device’s hard drive.

Information technology research company Gartner has identified cloud computing as a major trend for 2015. The focus will be on synchronising apps across devices so they can be used simultaneously on multiple devices, which is useful for organisations.

Fibre to the home (race for superfast internet)

What is better than downloading an episode of your favourite series in five minutes? Being able to download it in three minutes, of course.

The competition to provide superfast internet will increase this year. All service providers, except Cell C, have introduced initiatives to provide fibreoptic transmission straight to the home.

In the works is an acquisition of Neotel by Vodacom, which, if approved, will see Vodacom being able to provide faster internet.

More on-demand apps

In what is being called the “Uberfication” of society, people can expect more on-demand apps for various services. Uber, which allows you to call a cab on your smartphone, started the trend.

On-demand video is already here from media outlets such as DStv and Vidi.

Expect on-demand beauty services and more on-demand delivery of food, groceries and laundry. Be prepared to do everything on your smartphone, if you’re not doing it already.

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