Mobile devices already pervasive in today’s world will exceed the number of people on earth by the end of the year according to a report by the Cisco Visual Network Index. It is predicted that in 5 years, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita worldwide, a total of 10 billion devices.
In addition to a growth in the number of devices, mobile data traffic is also on the rise. In 2012 mobile data traffic was nearly 12 times the size of the entire internet at the start of the millennium. It is projected that mobile data traffic will continue to grow at a rate of 68% annually through 2017. The connection speeds of these devices is expected to increase a staggering 7 times during the same period.
The ubiquitous uptake of mobile devices in both developed and emerging markets is creating a new crossroads. Technologies popular with mobile users in emerging markets, such as mobile payment platforms are now being introduced in more mature forms in developed markets. At the same time mature products and services, such as the iPhone are being adapted for introduction to the developing world.
What we lack is a reliable prediction for what disruptive technologies will emerge to leverage this widespread connectivity. Mobile commerce is still evolving, an established mobile advertising model has yet to emerge and mobile payments systems exist as closed networks. However, the potential of a device for everyone will surely motivate an already competitive group of entrepreneurs and businesses.