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Imagine next - Building the future now

Access to technology is no longer a luxury or a discretionary service. It is as essential as any utility service. Or put differently lack of access is as disadvantageous to individuals as lack of access to any utility, health or social service.

“Handset prices, handset quality and rates have been three barriers which before now were keeping the benefits of 4G data away from most of the country. We have broken down those barriers in an effort to bridge the digital divide and delight our customers” said acting Executive Vice President of bmobile Ronald Walcott. Improving accessibility through handset prices, handset quality and rates puts devices in the hands of more users and allows them to stay on as active users. This is an important tipping point for promoting the development and use of local apps and content.

A good commercial app serves as a substitute for an organisation. Through the app, a potential customer gets to interface with that organisation 24/7; the customer easily finds the information on the product or service he or she needs and they get any supporting information needed to make a purchase decision.  A good example is the CNN app. It’s free; continuously updated; provides news in text, video and photographic formats and it easily allows social network sharing.  

The prevalence of functional apps gives consumers more utility in being connected. That in turn stimulates more organisations to develop more apps. In this mutually beneficial eco-system fed by affordable access to 4G network, machine to machine (M2M) solutions are also set to see a significant rise in deployment. According to CISCO Visual Networking Index, high-bandwidth solutions for M2M become more of a reality in areas such as :

● Business and consumer security and surveillance: Video streams such as commercial security cameras, nannycams, and petcams, accessed through mobile-enabled residential or commercial gateways,

● Health care: In the medical; well-being and sports and fitness industries, devices and services used by medical personnel are being connected to reduce errors.

● Inventory and fleet management: Wi-Fi is being considered as an adjunct to cellular-based fleet management connectivity, to allow a vehicle to use cellular technology in the field and lower-cost higher-speed Wi-Fi to download and upload data while in Wi-Fi hotspots or zones.

● Telematics: Trip assistance, navigation, and vehicle management are gaining greater consumer adoption, along with broadband-to-the-car offerings that use a cellular connection to the vehicle and then distribute the connection to notebook PCs and other devices within the vehicle through Wi-Fi. (Source Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016)

M2M solutions generate timely actionable information that ultimately is needed by a human user. In finding avenues for deployment to address social, security, health and commuting challenges, they have an even greater influence in a modern society. Services used by a large cross sections of the population means real benefits can be widely distributed, faster. Ultimately the more vulnerable groups in society will therefore have shorter wait times between the development of a solution  and the delivery of its benefits.