I was on my way to an appointment in the city Thursday to give a presentation, when I stopped at a coffee shop to review my notes and check my PowerPoint slides. There was some time before the meeting, so I sat by a window watching passersby while sipping a coffee. It seemed no matter where I looked, people were staring down at their mobile phones reading messages or texting.
I found this sort of ironic because the focus of my presentation in 20 minutes was the different mobility features of an innovative product offering we have at T-Systems called Dynamic Workplace (ok, yes, shameless plug, no apology). No, but really – my thoughts wandered and I started thinking about something that inspired my interest in science fiction as a kid. Remember “I Robot?” Not the movie, but the short stories by Isaac Asimov. Although the tales can be read separately, they share a common thread of the interaction of humans, robotics, and morality. When combined together, they tell a larger, fascinating story of Asimov’s fictional history of robotics and The Three Laws.
Well, my mind started to drift again and I considered the same theme only in a different way – the interaction of humans, mobile devices, and connectivity. I’ve been in the IT industry for over 20 years and I’m still amazed at how mobile devices have become such an integral part of daily business and living in just a few short years.
More mobile phones than people
The world population today stands at over 7,000,000,000 people. You might be surprised to discover that the current number of cell phones in use globally is 6.9 billion. In other words nearly 99%, or 99/100 human beings on this planet, are connected to mobile phones. That’s what the statistics tell us. We all know those numbers are slightly skewed by people who own more than one cell phone. Yet you have to admit, we’re talking about a heck of a lot of cell phones.
Not surprisingly, the country with the highest number of mobile phones is China – with 1.3 billion (93% of the population). India ranks 2nd in mobile phones at over 970 million (78% of the population).
Here’s where the data gets interesting, though. The United States, coming in at number 3, has over 328 million cell phones. What makes this interesting? The current population of the U.S. is roughly 318 million. That means there are more cell phones in the U.S. than people. Around 103%. Germany, by comparison, has 107 million cell phones to its population of 82 million – or 130%. Wow, that’s a high ratio of cell phones to people isn’t it? Hardly. Out of 66 other countries/regions 46, or 69%, also have a higher ratio of cell phones to their general population. In fact the U.S. is ranked almost at the bottom at 47th place in having more cell phones than people, beating out the Kingdom of Jordan with a measly 101%.
So where’s the highest ratio of cell phones to people? Hong Kong tops the chart at 237%, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 204% and Panama at 203%.
Oh, no. more numbers?
Consider mobile apps for all those devices:
– Worldwide, 50 million apps are downloaded each day. And this trend is increasing. These aren’t app updates, but new downloads by users.
– This makes the folks at Apple and Samsung very happy, because the number of apps downloaded makes it increasingly unlikely a user will switch to using a mobile device with a different operating system. For example, if you’ve purchased 100 apps for your iPad, it’s unlikely you’d switch to an Android tablet. Replacing those apps would be expensive.
Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval; including email, calendar, contacts, stock market and weather reports. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as word processing, social media, picture sharing, games, factory automation, GPS mapping, banking, networking and file transfer, education, video streaming, order tracking, ticket purchases and recently mobile medical apps in the healthcare industry.
The popularity of mobile apps continues to rise as their usage becomes increasingly prevalent across mobile phone users. Today, more mobile subscribers use apps than browse the web on their devices.
According to market research firm Gartner, over 110 billion apps will be downloaded in 2015 (over 90% of them will be free) but they’ll still generate over $45 billion in revenue annually. An analyst report estimates that the app economy creates revenues of more than €15 billion Euros per year within the European Union, while millions of jobs have been created globally due to the growth of the app market.
Enterprise Management – Zero Distance
In business, mobile devices are revolutionizing the Enterprise. Mobile application management (MAM) involves software and services responsible for provisioning and controlling access to internally developed and commercially available mobile apps used in business settings. This has become necessary with the onset of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. When an employee brings a personal device into an enterprise setting, mobile application management enables the corporate IT staff to transfer required applications, control access to business data, and remove locally cached business data from the device if it’s lost – or when company priorities or economies suddenly change. We call this “Zero Distance” and it’s becoming the standard in data retrieval and analysis.
The world is on the move…
Globalization, and the new world economy, are bringing the planet together. We live and work while on the move or at different locations. We use laptops, smartphones, and tablets interchangeably to access data instantly on the job, at school, or at home. We are connected in ways we never imagined. As we say at T-Systems (in a not-so-shameless plug)… “Erleben was verbindet.” or “Life Is for Sharing.”
Dr. Chuck Kulig