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Mobile Internet: A Disruptive Technology

February, 2017

CFO Insights on Technology

A disruptive innovation helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades) while displacing an earlier technology.

Of the twelve emerging disruptive technologies—mobile internet, automation of knowledge work, internet of things, advanced robotics, cloud, autonomous or near autonomous vehicles, next generation genomics, next generation storage, 3D printing, advance materials, advanced oil & gas recovery and renewable energy - mobile internet, renewable energy, autonomous vehicles, and advanced genomics have the potential to truly reshape the world in which we live and work. Leaders in both government and business must not only know what’s on the horizon but also start preparing for its impact.

Technology is one such thing which keeps evolving and changing every second, and every minute. The year 2015 saw many breakthroughs in high-tech, space-tech, clean-tech, wearable tech, cyber tech, biotech etc. 2016 seems to be even more promising on the technology front.

The free flow of information online is one of the greatest things to ever happen to humanity. The internet will become like electricity in human life, less visible yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and evil. The positive side of it will be enhanced convenience, productivity and safety, more useful information available on free domain, and self awareness. There will be global immersive, computing environment through smart sensors, cameras, software, databases and artificial intelligence. People will perceive through wearable, portable and implantable technologies. The social and business encounters will be met using virtual reality. The negative aspects will be privacy challenges, technological complexity and over hyped expectations. The robots and artificial intelligence will play major role in job function with less human interface. Humans and organisations may not be able to respond to challenges from complex networks.

In many developing countries people don’t have access to desktop or laptop computers, and use mobile phone for connecting to the internet. They are using various services through mobile internet such as – daily banking, paying bills, connecting with people.The price of the fastest super computer in 1975 was $5 million and at current date the price of an iPhone is just $400 but they both provide same performance (The McKinsey Global Institute, 2013). Nowadays, mobile devices are preferred over personal computer for people’s daily job completion.

The mobile internet technology has tremendous future ahead in terms of exemplary economic gains and increased productivity. The service delivery for businesses would be very effective and efficient due to the growth of mobile internet and its usage around the world. The developing countries will benefit mostly due to the means of internet availability to them. The online presence will increase in these countries, entrepreneurship will flourish and the approach to doing business will change. Mobile computing devices are increasingly getting cheaper and cheaper while internet connectivity is easily accessible which is delivering services more efficiently and effectively. Seamless communication and internet access even on the go, and all in one devices makes mobile internet more attractive which drives more disruption in our society.

In the education sector, online delivery is becoming popular day by day. Hybrid or online classes can save cost and time for both teachers and students. Students can participate in online class from anywhere in the world by using mobile and handheld devices. In public sector, government services would be easily accessible for the people. Government’s citizen-centric strategic goals can be driven by mobile internet based service delivery approach. The public will be one step closer to the government due to the availability of smart phones and other mobile devices. Governments also need to identify new framework for the citizens so that they can prosper even with the effect of disrupting technology.

Businesses will gain enormously through mobile internet adoption while traditional brick and mortar businesses move online. They will save operation and inventory cost, and profit margin will increase. The transactions can be done online and cash handling will be reduced. It is estimated that more and more online transactions will be done through mobile devices using mobile internet in the near future.

The rapid development of mobile internet and other disruptive technologies is leaving organizations in a dilemma where threat and opportunities lies in customer behavior, values and expectation. Technology is developing at a faster rate than an organization can adapt to the change. This is very critical for business as the business models have to be constantly changed and leadership needs to reinvent itself very quickly to stay in the completion.

There are some significant social disadvantages of mobile devices and internet use. Mobile internet technology tears people away from the society because of the constant human interaction with the devices. It might lead to some serious accident considering how people are using it these days. Poor security or loss of mobile device may cause breach of data privacy.

More people experienced internet first time on mobiles than on PCs. The mobile internet users, which are estimated to be around 200 million, are slated to touch the 1 billion mark by 2025. The market which grew on feature phones, has suddenly found an affinity towards smart phones. The emergence of cost effective smart phones has disrupted the entire internet user landscape. There are more mobile internet users than laptop or desktops internet users. If this is coupled with good internet connectivity and speed (which is still a challenge), the impact can be far reaching.

Opinions expressed in the article are the author’s own.