This decade has flown by very fast with new industries and sectors having sprung up and new business models developed to conform to these new sectors. As we wind up this year and get ready to jump into the second decade of the millennia, here are some of the trends that I believe will go big.
1. Mobile Web
Africa is yet to fully capitalize on its local content and leverage mobile technology as a distribution medium. Reduced data costs as operators jostle for market share and diversify beyond voice will see mobile web grow exponentially as it will be the initial point of discovery and consumption of content.
I see a proliferation of niche content offerings addressing all manner of issues. Newspaper publishers will style up and invest in the dissemination of hyper local news as their avenues for mainstream news will get a thorough beating from social media.
Not all content is created equal, and while the internet is choke full of free information, a large portion might as well be rubbish. We live in the information age with consumers willing to pay for distilled information. The model behind consumption and distribution of this information does not lend itself well to current models of payment. I see mobile network operators opening up to micropayments and adopting new business models to cater for this emerging need.
3. Mobile applications
The smart phones are here and they need to do “smart” things. I see a growing appreciation for mobile application developers as they create relevant applications for use in African settings. Businesses will embrace mobile applications to create more interesting and compelling interactions with their consumers, as the fight for mindshare intensifies.
4. The cloud
Services will quite literally take to the skies as more and more firms as well as governments take their services online and give cross platform access. Consumers will want to have access to their data and services wherever and whenever. Internet service providers will move to become more of data managers as opposed to bandwidth providers.
5. Mobile gaming
There were pockets of innovation in the mobile gaming space with some innovators making headway by creating localized game titles. Going into the new decade I see more local and relevant titles created to address social issues and be used as channels to deliver more than just entertainment value. Idle time is just about the best time to engage a consumer with your message.
What do you think will be big “technologically” in Africa in the coming decade?