Tag: smartphones

Smartphone penetration in SA surpasses 90%

According to the 2020 State of the ICT Sector report, the influx of mid- to low-cost smartphone brands in South Africa has resulted in smartphone penetration jumping to 91,2% in 2019.

  • This figure represents a 9.5% increase from 2018 to 2019
  • Just four years ago, that figure was 43.5%
  • ICASA recorded 53.4-million smartphone subscriptions as at 30 September 2019, up by more than 6-million since 2018
  • Total mobile cellular phone voice subscriptions increased by 5.7% from 91-million in 2018 to 96 million in 2019
  • 82-million (85%) are on prepaid subscriptions, while 14-million (15%) are on contract
  • Total prepaid mobile phone subscriptions in urban areas was at 77.5-million in 2019, with postpaid subscriptions at 13.7-million
  • In rural areas, prepaid mobile phone subscriptions were at 4.7-million to just over 885 000 postpaid
  • Mobile cellular data subscriptions increased by 18.8% from 65-million in 2018 to 78 million in 2019
  • Fixed-line voice subscriptions decreased by 38% from 4.4-million in 2018 to 2.7-million in 2019
  • Fibre-to-the-home/building Internet subscriptions increased by 28.8% for the same period
  • Wireless broadband subscriptions increase by 25% from 185 327 in 2018 to 231 687 in 2019
  • The national population coverage for 3G increased from 99.5% in 2018 to 99.7% in 2019
  • 4G/LTE coverage increased from 85.7% in 2018 to 92.8% in 2019

By Allana Akhtar for Business Insider US 

Being on your phone at work, once the sign of a bad employee, is now the norm.

Text messages are “making deep inroads” in workplaces across America, says Wall Street Journal reporter Te-Ping Chen. Yet messaging your boss can lead to accidental texts like “Love you” or “pumpkinbear.”

“While email helps silo work communications, the text inbox is a more blended affair, where notes from friends and family jostle with communiqués from bosses and co-workers,” Chen writes.

Besides awkward text exchanges, there are other miscues many employees can make as smartphones become more commonplace at work. For instance, overusing your phone or constantly getting bombarded with notifications can lead to decreased productivity.

“Productivity is often at its apex during a flow state,” when a person is fully immersed in an activity, NYC-based psychotherapist Jordana Jacobs told Business Insider.

According to Jacobs, while phones are great for the technology they provide, they also feed into our natural distracted state. Cell phones take us out of the flow state, “which is so fundamental to productivity,” she said. “Essentially, we are consistently interrupting our own thought process,” she said. To put it simply, our phones “take us away from ‘the now,'” she added.

It’s probably not plausible for you to get rid of your phone at work completely, but you can still take steps to keep it from getting in the way of your goals.

The first step to being more productive is identifying all the ways our phones keep us from staying focused. Jacobs and Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” broke down the phone habits that are ruining our productivity:

Mindlessly checking emails harms productivity
According to Jacobs, smartphones take us out of being in the present. When we’re constantly checking those work and personal emails, she said it puts us in the mindset of, “I’m doing this rather than just being where I am now.”

Constantly taking photos can keep you from being in the moment
One of the perks of today’s smartphones is that they double as high-quality cameras.

While it’s great to want to take a picture here and there to have a keepsake of a particular moment, Jacobs said that playing paparazzi in our own lives is another way of taking us from living in the now.

Checking social media distracts us from the actual task
Social media can feed our obsession with other people’s lives, but Jacobs said it’s also a platform for us to brag to our followers about what we are doing or have done.

Texting others keeps you from conversing with people around you
Jacobs said that texting and messaging other people can have you more focused on what those people are currently doing, causing a distraction from anything productive that you should be achieving.

Having your phone out all the time keeps you from prioritising
Jacobs said she believes that we have lost the capacity to be alone.

“We now think of the phone as our primary attachment figure; all of the people we know and love live in the phone, that’s how we talk to them,” she said. “We never actually have space by ourselves to contemplate, reflect, or gain insight into the self, in the way we used to be able to.”

Knowing and growing ourselves can be the most productive work we do, and our phones often get in the way of this.

Productivity apps can help and hurt your efforts
While Alpert does think that there are some productivity apps that can be helpful, he said he believes that relying solely on them or downloading the wrong one can actually do the opposite. According to him, the best way to stay productive is to have the right mindset.

“How someone thinks can significantly impact their behaviors, drive, and ultimately their output,” he said. “People should feel encouraged that developing a go-getter mindset is possible.”

Notifications on your screen can be distracting
Alpert said many people do, and these notifications – whether it’s a text message or news alert – can distract you from finishing whatever work you have started. He suggested shutting off social media notifications completely. “These merely serve as a distraction and probably don’t contain anything urgent,” he said.

Opening one app can leads to opening another
With apps, the internet, and other features of smartphones, you can easily find yourself going down a deep rabbit hole of distraction.

“Rarely do people go online or on their phones and stick to the intended reason for checking their phones,” he said. “If they’re checking weather, that might then lead to checking email, messages, or reading a news story – all this serves as a gross distraction and impacts productivity.”

The blue light emitted by your phone impacts sleep quality
According to Alpert, the blue light that is emitted from devices can affect our sleep patterns.

“Blue light is thought to enter the brain through the eyes and impact the pineal gland. This gland plays a role in melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles,” he said. “So devices used close to bed could impact someone’s ability to get proper rest.”

This will have a profound effect on mood, energy levels, and ability to focus and complete tasks, he said.

Since we can look up anything  we may be losing the ability to wonder
This one may not be expressly related to productivity, but it is still concerning.

Jacobs said we have lost our ability to wonder, because we can pretty much look up whatever we need to – the answers to every burning question we may have are always right at our fingertips. “I think this truncates the creativity process and stunts our imaginations,” she said.

By Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian

Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone seller behind Samsung in the second quarter, the first time in seven years that any contender has managed to split the top two.

Multiple market analysts said that Huawei’s rise came as the slowdown in China, the world’s largest market for smartphones, eased, with growing market share in Europe. Huawei failed in its recent bid to launch in the US after government action against companies deemed a security threat.

Despite Apple being historically weak in the second quarter, analysts described the rise of Huawei as significant.

“The importance of Huawei overtaking Apple this quarter cannot be overstated,” said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. “It is the first time in seven years that Samsung and Apple have not held the top two positions.”

Approximately 351m smartphones were sold globally in the second quarter, down 2% year-on-year due to market saturation, increasing prices, longer replacement rates, reduced mobile phone network subsidies and lack of feature and design innovation, according to data aggregated by the Guardian.

“Consumers remain willing to pay more for premium offerings in numerous markets and they now expect their device to outlast and outperform previous generations of that device which cost considerably less a few years ago,” Anthony Scarsella from IDC.

Samsung was worst hit by the slowdown of the big three, down 10% year-on-year selling 71.9m smartphones for a 20% share of the market. Huawei raced into the second spot selling 54.2m phones in the quarter, up 41%, for a 15% share of the market. Apple sold 41.3m iPhones, up 1%, for a 12% market share.

“The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown,” said Ryan Reith, programme vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Tracker.

Stanton said: “Huawei’s momentum will obviously concern Samsung, but it should also serve as a warning to Apple, which needs to ship volume to support its growing services division.

“If Apple and Samsung want to maintain their market positions, they must make their portfolios more competitive.’’

Tarun Pathak from Counterpoint Research said that Huawei’s two-pronged strategy using its fast-growing Honor sub-brand to capture the mid-tier segment below £500 and its premium Huawei-branded smartphones at the top end, such as the P20 Pro, appeared to be working.

Analysts said that Huawei’s exclusion from the US has forced it to work harder across Asia and Europe to achieve its growth goals, with its mid-range models proving particularly popular. Data from Canalys showed that Huawei grew it market share in China by 6% to a record 27% in the quarter, where 100m smartphones were sold across the country.

Outside of China, Huawei’s increasing brand recognition newly allowing it to compete at the top end, but the Chinese market remains key for Huawei as it has come under fire from the US, Australia and other nations over concerns it could facilitate Chinese government spying.

Huawei has denied it facilitates spying and has said it is a private company not under Chinese government control and not subject to Chinese security laws overseas.

China and the US are also embroiled in a trade dispute with both nations imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and fighting over technology and patents, which analysts said creates significant uncertainty for all of the major smartphone brands.

Huawei said Tuesday that overall it had 15% higher revenue in the first six months of 2018, steady at levels seen a year ago. Revenue rose to 325.7bn yuan (£36.52bn), while operating margin rose to 14%, from 11% a year ago.

Huawei’s consumer division, which houses its smartphones business, accounted for roughly a third of its total revenue last year. It got half its revenue from its mobile phone network.

The Google Pixel smartphone’s dialler will soon have a spam filtering feature that sends suspected spam callers directly to voicemail.

According to MyBroadband, this is an extension of the app’s existing ability to alert users as to whether it suspects a call of being a “suspected spam caller”.

Instead of a missed call, numbers marked as “spam” or “suspected spam” will be automatically sent to voicemail where they can be listened to at a later date.

This may pose a problem for the traditional telemarketing companies. Once a company has been marked as “spam” by a number of users, it will be “blacklisted” and not appear as a call.

Marketing for large companies is often done by telephone.

Cars need software updates: just like a smartphone

In response to millions of people fleeing Florida in the face of Hurricane Irma, Tesla has “flipped a switch” in some of its cars to temporarily extend their range.

Tesla cars receive software updates much like an iPhone does — via the Internet in an update process called “over-the-air” or OTA updates. It’s one of the only car companies that can do this with their cars, regularly sending updates to fix security flaws or update autonomous driving capabilities.

Contrast this with the approach taken by Chrysler, which sent out USB sticks with a safety update to 1.4m vehicles after hackers showed they could remotely take control of a Jeep. With such USB updates, there was really no way of knowing whether the updates had been applied properly or even got to the right person.

Most people don’t realise just how much of a car’s function is controlled by computer processors. The average car has between 25 and 50 different processors, with cars from BMW and Mercedes having around 100 processors each.

These processors control everything from advanced engine features to braking, automatic parking, collision detection, entertainment, navigation and security. As cars become more intelligent, they are coming to rely on increasingly sophisticated software.

Most of these processors have software that, at the moment, can only be updated by taking the car into to an authorised dealer. Car recalls have become a multibillion-dollar expense for the car industry and a major inconvenience for owners.

For this reason, over-the-air updates will be coming to most cars soon. General Motors recently announced that it would start to deliver updates to its cars using GM’s OnStar network. Bosch, one of the leading companies delivering electronics and processing to car manufacturers, is gearing up to deliver secure over-the-air capabilities to cars through a subsidiary, Escrypt.

Malware

It is estimated that 180m cars will be built with this capability in the next five years.

Despite the recent interest, car manufacturers have been wary of updating vehicles in this way. There was concern that too many things could go wrong during the update, leaving the car not driveable.

Security has also been a concern. Hackers could potentially intervene and substitute malware during the update, for example, with potentially lethal consequences.

The process of updating a car turns out to be not that dissimilar from updating an iPhone.

In fact, the acceptance of over-the-air updates for a car starts with the fact that people are more familiar and comfortable with updating a smartphone. They understand that the process can’t be interrupted and the phone must have enough power, for example.

From the technological perspective, the update is encrypted and is accompanied with appropriate signatures that get checked and accepted by special security hardware on the car, called a hardware security module.

The updates are transmitted over secure connections and special software on the car can receive the update and apply it. If something goes wrong, the system needs to be able to roll the update back and leave the original version of the software intact and operating.

Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service
The arrival of more autonomous driving capabilities in cars will make updates essential, as with the case of Tesla. While these updates could be done at an annual service, the demands of autonomous driving will require more frequent updates of software.

At the same time, consumers are becoming sophisticated enough to be able to manage these updates themselves.

The challenge for companies wanting to move to over-the-air updates may not just be a case of car manufacturers moving too slowly. Traditional car dealers may see this as a way of cutting them out of the loop, and may resist any regulations allowing these types of updates outside of a normal service.

Other potential barriers may come from regulators. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has a task force looking at cybersecurity and over-the-air updating in motor vehicles.

One area of concern for this group is that if a vehicle has been certified by a country’s motor vehicle safety standards, what happens if it receives an over-the-air update that changes how it performs? Does this render its certification invalid? This might be the case especially if the vehicle’s emissions change as a result of the software update.

Another challenge that may give car manufacturers pause is that if a car can be updated with new features using a simple software update, will customers hang onto the cars for longer and not upgrade their cars quite so often?

By David Glance published on TechCentral

South Africa’s office workers spend nearly an hour a day working on their mobile devices despite having access to more powerful computers.

And they see smartphones as preferable to tablets when it comes to doing work on a mobile device.

This is according to a recent survey of 12 000 office workers nationwide by Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy. The survey quizzed South African office workers on their technology preferences in the workplace.

Richard Andrews, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, said:”The results show how mobile devices are making greater inroads to just about everyone’s working life. Even if people have access to desktops and laptops, they spend an hour a day working on their smartphones. We expect this number to climb.”

When asked which mobile device was most needed for work, 52% said a smartphone while 38% said a tablet. Interestingly people in both categories said they would prefer to bring their own devices to work (the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon as it is called), a global trend in which workers associate greater enjoyment in using their own devices.

The survey also asked about workers’ preferred operating system. When it came to desktop computers, 80% said they preferred windows while only 11% preferred macOS, Apple’s desktop operating system.

When asked the same question about laptops, 79% said they prefer windows while 15% preferred Apple’s operating system.

On smartphones however, 41% prefer Apple’s IOS operating system to Google’s Android at 50%. For tablets, Apple comes top at 49% compared to Android’s 37%.

“Interestingly the survey also showed that when people work on smartphones or tablet’s, 77% prefer to do it away from their desks, even if they are still in the office.

“It’s a habit – people think of smartphones and tablets as mobile tools so they often use them elsewhere.

“Many of our clients are now setting up more casual areas of chairs, couches and mini desks where people can nip away from the desk and work elsewhere for a while.

“This is especially true for millennial workers who tend to be less inclined to sit at their desks all day and love using mobile devices,” Andrews noted saying given the rise of mobile devices offices would have to change to accommodate the demand for working away from the traditional desk.

When asked which were the ‘most important IT features’, 73% said remote access, 50% said high performance machines, 44% said an ability to access applications offline while 32% said some sort of protection for their devices against weather and/or dirt.

Finally, people were asked about something every office worker has strong views on: IT Support.

“The survey asked people where they turn to for IT support: 35% said the IT help desk, 21% simply googled the problem while 13% asked colleagues,” Andrews concluded.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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