What an eventful year 2013 has been for the Information and Communications Technology industry, not just in Nigeria, but across the world. Let me set the records straight that although this piece has to do with predictions, it has nothing to do with spirituality.
My views in this piece are based on my knowledge of the industry as well as the opinions of experts and journalists across the world. That means that I am fully aware of the fact that some of these predictions may not come to pass but I am glad I used the work prediction instead of prophesy. That said, I will attempt to predict what I believe would be some of the events we should expect in 2014.
1. More Investments In ICT
This is probably obvious, but I just have to make it my very first prediction. We are most likely going to witness more massive investments, both in the local and foreign scene of ICT. Countries are investing heaving in LTE & 4G networks, some companies are laying sub-marine cables and connecting some countries. So, I expect that there will be massive investments in broadband infrastructure and devices, more techpreneurs will seek to raise funds for their projects, the local content policy guidelines recently released by the Ministry of Communication Technology and National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), would really begin to come into effect in 2014 and as long as these guidelines are implemented to the letter, we can then be sure that more business and revenue will flow into our local ICT industry. So, watch out for Nigerian-built or designed phones, gadgets and devices in the coming year and make sure your support our own.
2. Increased Internet Penetration
Does this sound like a prediction or a statement of fact? However it may sound, the fact remains that as broadband becomes more readily available and cheaper, so will more people especially in the rural community access to the Internet. These people will definitely patronize it for their personal and business purposes.
I believe that Nigeria will cross the 60 million Internet-user mark in 2014 based on the official figures, I have a feeling that we may have crossed that mark this year, unofficially.
The last NCC report showed that there was significant increase in the number of Internet users, but I believe that next year will be more eventful for the industry. As a previous employee of a telecommunications company, I learnt that at some point, voice would peak and then data will take over. This was about a decade ago and today we are seeing the telcos waging an on-going data war already.
Truth is that we need to get more Nigerians on the Internet and not just get them there for the sake of it, but also educate them on how they can use it positively. I expect to see more Government support in this regards.
3. Commercialization of ‘unusual’ techy devices
Yes. I believe more people across the world will invest in various techy devices which include mobile devices, Google glass, secret cameras, pen recorders, etc. Some of these devices are already in the market but they need to be commercialized and be made more affordable and readily available for the mass market. For example, Google glass is likely to cost you up to $2,000, depending on where you are buying it from. It is likely that a few Nigerians might have it already but it is really isn’t for the mass market yet.
As for me, I want to see these devices become readily available and I’d strive to use this column to educate people on how these devices can be used for the common good, especially considering the fact that they can easily be connected to the Internet. For the ladies, you need to get ready for smart eyelashes and finger-nails. No, this is not a prediction. I was impressed to read about it on Mashable.com. A PHD student named Katia Vega is already working on these innovations. She’s focusing on two main branches of the project so far: fingernails and conductive makeup.
Well, this is just to give us an idea of what to expect in the nearest future. Watch what you say or do because someone might just be recording every action with one ‘unusual’ device.
I pray that 2014 be the year to really put some of these devices to use in Nigeria especially using to fight corruption and extortion on the streets of our cities.
To be Continued…Part 2
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