Mobile telephones will soon be the ultimate entertainment devices, according to Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig Sr, but machines will become the main users of mobile telephony over the next decade.
The role of mobile telephones in the consumer’s lifestyle is changing, according to Knott-Craig, as the technological capabilities of devices expand leaving little room for multiple entertainment gadgets.
Considering the current popular uses of mobile phones, Knott-Craig said that across the whole revenue spectrum in South Africa, mobile devices are widely used to listen to radio broadcasts even on the most basic handsets. More high-end and developed feature phone and smartphone handsets are able to play back music files saved on to their memory.
This, says Knott-Craig, is only the beginning of a spiralling trend which will see mobile phones become the ultimate all-encompassing entertainment and information devices, able to provide the user with unlimited access to services and knowledge.
“As today people use phones for radio, one day soon people will be using phones for television,” he said. “Phones will soon be everything – radio, T.V., education, health.”
However, despite this escalation of entertainment technology into one small hand-held device, Knott-Craig believes a more pivotal change is to take place across the mobile telephony sector – as machine-to-machine (M2M) usage increases.
M2M refers to the ability of enabled devices to communicate between each other by use of a system of networks, each device using an embedded or virtual SIM to enable M2M communication.
Knott-Craig foresees such extensive growth in this area of technology that he insists the whole focus of the mobile telephony sector will shift to machines as opposed to people as the most frequent end users.
“In 5 to 10 years, don’t be surprised if more machines have SIMs than people,” he said. “People are shifting down the importance scale for the operator.”