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Prediction 2

The future of the smartphone: the next 5 years

“Over the past 10 years, smartphones have redefined how people live and interact with each other. Over the next five years, it is likely to be enterprises’ use of the smartphone that will transform the way we work from retail store operations, healthcare, restaurants, sales and field maintenance, to dozens of other services and processes.”

The key trends that Deloitte predicts for the smartphone:

  • Reflective of the wider range of applications and capabilities, the percentage of daily smartphone users will increase to 93% in 2018 and 96% by 2023. Owners will interact with their phones on average 65 times per day in 2023, a 20 percent increase over 2018. 
  • Over the next five years, smartphone adoption among UK adults will increase seven percentage points to surpass 92%, with overall adoption across developed countries reaching 90%.
  • The smartphone’s invisible innovations will demand a higher selling price and globally, over 180 million units are likely to be sold in retail for $1,000 or more. 
  • In 2023, smartphone sales are expected to be 1.85 billion units per year and the average selling price (ASP) will be $350. This implies a total market value of $650 billion in 2023, up 36% from 2017.

What can be expected of the future smartphone?

Over the next five years, the smartphone is likely to consolidate its position as the primary access to digital service and content. Although likely to look very similar to 2018 models, the 2023 smartphone should comprise a number of ‘invisible innovations’ and offer superior performance across a range of business and consumer applications. This includes: 

Improved connectivity, as 5G networks should have launched in most developed markets and advanced 4G networks in most of the remaining markets.
Dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) chips and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips are likely to have become standard.
Increased range of sensors and upgraded existing sensors, including: forward-facing infrared (potentially to be used as the primary biometric authenticator), ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and upgraded GPS receiver.
Storage capacity of 128 GB or more, compared with about 32 GB in 2018. 
Easier charging on the move through wireless charging. 

Key considerations and recommendations for enterprises:

Over the past 10 years, smartphones have redefined how people live and interact with each other; over the next five, it is likely to be enterprises’ turn to use mobile even more than they already do to transform the way work gets done in settings from retail store operations, health care, restaurants, sales and field maintenance to dozens of other services and processes. 

The enterprise app or mobile-optimised website would appear to offer a huge opportunity that may have been overshadowed by the allure of developing consumer smartphone apps or websites. Yet there are significant dividends in making the world’s workforces more productive by making relevant business processes available via a smartphone.

IT departments at companies should evaluate how best to integrate smartphones into their IT strategies and their way of thinking. They should consider which device is best for each type of employee and how best to utilise smartphone biometric authentication to improve security. 

To ready the next generation of workers, school curricula should place as much focus on familiarity with creating content and coding for smartphones as is currently done for PCs.