•Artificial Intelligence to take on more human jobs
•Big IT companies to grow even bigger

By Emeka Aginam & Laju Iren

Information and Communication Technology has grown in leaps and bounds in the past decade than ever before. However, experts say that 2017 will bring more changes than history can boast of.

All these are if the industry report recently released by Ericsson are anything to go by.


It has also been predicted that the kind of revolution technology will herald from 2017, could even take up a large number of human jobs.

The report, tagged: ‘The Ericsson’s 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and beyond’, also concluded that there is need for device manufacturers to produce low cost 4G enabled devices as these would boost broadband penetration in Nigeria. According to the report, smartphone penetration in the country is increasing at a fast pace, driven by increasing availability of devices at  affordable prices.

The Managing Director and Head of Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Johan Jemdahl, unveiling the report to journalists in Lagos recently said that understanding the trends  will help individuals, organisation and governments   improve quality of education, economy, health, among others.

The trends are based on Ericsson ConsumerLab’s global research activities over more than 20 years, as well as data points from an online survey of advanced internet users in 14 major cities across the world.  The survey was performed in October 2016.

Highlights of the 10 trends for 2017 and beyond:

*Artificial Intelligence Everywhere: Jemdahl said that consumers expect artificial intelligence (AI) to move from assistants to managers, adding that virtual reality will be indistinguishable from physical reality in only three years. 35 percent of advanced internet users want an AI advisor at work, and one in four would like an AI as their manager. At the same time, almost half are concerned that AI robots will soon make a lot of people lose their jobs.

*Setting the Pace for Internet of Things: Consumers are increasingly using automated applications, encouraging IoT adoption. Two in five believe smartphones will learn their habits and perform activities on their behalf automatically.

*Pedestrians Drive Autonomous Cars: Car drivers may not exist in the future. One in four pedestrians would feel safer crossing a street if all cars were autonomous, and 65 percent of them would prefer to have an autonomous car.

*Merged Reality: Almost four out of five virtual reality users believe VR will be indistinguishable from reality in only three years. Half of respondents are already interested in gloves or shoes that allow you to interact with virtual objects. Reflecting on the rise of virtual reality, Michael Björn, Head of Research, Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, what we call reality becomes ever more personal and subjective. Consumers not only surround themselves with the like-minded on social networks, but also are also starting to customize the way they experience the world with augmented and virtual reality technologies.

*Bodies Out of Sync: As autonomous cars become reality, car sickness issues will increase, and three in ten foresee needing sickness pills. One in three also want motion sickness pills for use with virtual and augmented reality technology.

*The Smart Device Safety Paradox: More than half already use emergency alarms, tracking or notifications on their smartphones. Of those who say their smartphone makes them feel safer, three in five say they take more risks because they rely on their phone.

*Social Silos: Today, people willingly turn their social networks into silos. One in three says social networks are their main source of news. And more than one in four value their contacts’ opinions more than politicians’ viewpoints.

*Augmented Personal Reality: Over half of people would like to use augmented reality glasses to illuminate dark surroundings and highlight dangers. More than one in three would also like to edit out disturbing elements around them.

*The Privacy Divide: Two in five advanced internet users want to use only encrypted services, but people are divided. Almost half would like to have just reasonably good privacy across all services, and more than one out of three believes privacy no longer exists.

*Big Tech for All: More than two out of five advanced internet users would like to get all their products from the biggest five IT companies. Of those, three in four believe this will happen only five years from now.

The report also made a case for 5G networks adding that “consumers also want the future to remain fully mobile, the demand for battery-friendly, instant and fast connectivity is set to grow rapidly. In that sense, reality time means it is time for 5G networks.”

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