Smartphones are a fundamental part of the mobile economy and the economy at large, due to the simple fact that everyone now has one. A report conducted by GSMA shows that the mobile economy contributed an estimated £3.9 trillion to the international economy in 2018. This figure is set to increase to £4.8trillion by the year 2023.
The spike in smartphones and smart devices has resulted in a vast amount of total connections through The Internet of Things. The IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices that are provided with unique identifiers. They have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. According to GSMA’s report, there were a total of 9.1billion IoT connections in 2018 with the projection of this to increase by 16.1billion to 25.2billion by 2025.
Smartphone penetration has almost doubled globally over the past few years. In 2018 the number of mobile internets users was 3.6 billion with a projection of that to rise to 5.0 billion by 2025.
The economic impact of Smartphones and Apps
Smartphones have contributed to economic globalisation and growth due to the ease of adoption into consumer lifestyles at an unprecedented rate. Smartphones have contributed to economic development worldwide by dramatically increasing the ability to communicate and collaborate in different time zones. This has primarily contributed to economic growth as business between vendors in different countries can continue despite the limitations of geographical location. It has also helped organisations save money on travel expenses which are no longer necessary, creating an environmentally friendly solution.
Smartphones have also created the ‘App Economy‘ which has given the overall economy a tremendous boom, creating an array of jobs in the IT and software development sector. The App Economy has also lowered the entry barrier level. The industry does not require an intensive labour pool of experts or mass levels of manufacturing capacity to work which means entrepreneurial individuals can step up their own platform and turn their ideas into apps using developers and coding. Smartphone apps also help to better utilise ‘excess capacity’. This term points to assist other capital that is being underutilised. Apps such as Uber have honed in on this. Now anyone with a car and a licence to drive has the opportunity to become an Uber driver.
Smartphones have had an inspiring and practical impact on the developing world by bridging the gap between technology and infrastructure that exists. Hardwired telephones and data lines are hard to maintain, which is why smartphones offer a more accessible and far more practical cellular signal solution. Mobile technology and its access offer an increasingly affordable and promising outlook on economic opportunities for companies across the globe. As smartphone functionalities continue to improve, they will remain an essential part of the global economy.
The future of the smartphone
Many critics have suggested that the smartphone of the future will be very different from the smartphone of today. Currently, smartphones are used as a means of messaging, making calls., browsing the internet and as a form of entertainment. Without removing these functionalities, future smartphones could go through significant development in software, making them smarter and personal through the use of Artificial intelligence (AI).
The notion that smartphones will become obsolete can be considered a far fetched idea. Smartphone innovation will continuously change the way we interact with devices. This notion is currently in play with Amazon’s Alexa, which is evidence that indicates future technology and smartphone applications will be more user-centric and offer intelligence based on personal preferences. Results will be more niche and tailored to the user in comparison to what we are currently receiving.