Mobile Internet Predictions for 2014 – Part 1

What better time to look ahead at the possibilities for 4G and mobile internet than the beginning of a brand new year? Ericsson has recently released a global report entitled 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2014, which looks at what consumers are likely to expect from mobile internet and their smartphones over the coming year. In this post we’ll summarise the first five predictions for the year ahead, following up with the final five in the next post.

Biometric smartphone

Prediction 1: Increased demand for mobile apps

An Ericsson survey showed that consumers were looking for more mobile services and apps to assist with everyday city based issues such as shopping, eating out, leisure activities, childcare, communication with authorities, and traffic. Consumers predicted a 25% increase in the availability of these apps within a year and a further 25% increase within 3 years, which would all be enabled through the expansion of 4G.

Prediction 2: Further health and activity monitoring

Using mobile apps to record physical activity, diet, and health may not be a new idea but it is likely to see a surge in popularity in 2014. With 4G technology, tracking your daily activities has never been easier. Of the consumers surveyed 40% said they wanted a smartphone that recorded daily walking, exercising and sleeping, 56% reported they would wear a ring that kept track of pulse rate and blood pressure, and 59% were happy to wear a wristband that worked with a phone to track movement.

Prediction 3: Wider availability of biometric functions

How much time do we waste resetting passwords that we’ve lost or forgotten? As websites require longer and more complex passwords for increased security, frustration with accessing content is growing. In response consumers are beginning to demand biometric access, via fingerprints or eye-recognition, instead of having to remember multiple passwords. Almost three quarters of consumers surveyed believed that biometric smartphones would become more mainstream during 2014.

Prediction 4: Higher connectivity expectations

As we start 2014 it is clear that many consumers now expect to have mobile internet connectivity wherever they are; even in places that traditionally wouldn’t have voice connectivity. This trend is especially significant when consumers are on the move, for example on the train or tube, where they expect to be able to stream music or video, and send e-mail, just as they would in the office or at home. Consumers also expect their smartphones to display a realistic indication of mobile internet coverage.

Prediction 5: Smartphones playing a greater role

While laptop computers are still the primary devices used by consumers in developed countries to browse the internet, shop online, or access internet banking, the smartphone is starting to catch up, largely due to the rollout of 4G, and is already the primary device for instant messaging and gaming. Mobile technology is making the internet more accessible in developing countries such as India, and is the primary digital device used for most online activities in these areas.

These first five predictions show that consumers have high expectations of mobile internet and their smartphones over the coming year. Mobile apps will be used in every aspect of life from health and childcare to shopping and leisure, and consumers will expect to be able to access the internet, anytime, anywhere, preferably using just their fingerprints for security.  We’ll take a look at the final five predictions later in the week.