2017 marked a year of innovations for the mobile industry, especially in emerging markets. New regulations were passed to ensure protection against the digital divide in some countries, including developed nations.

But this is only the beginning. We predict that 2018 will see continued innovation, and consumers will be the lucky winners.

The mobile industry, like many others, is dictated by consumer behavior, so updates and changes should be based on a thorough understanding of how consumers are currently engaging with their mobile activities. To that end, we’ve gathered consumer statistics from notable reports to envision four different ways that mobile phones will change in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence Mobile Integration

AI is already a hot topic — its endless possibilities open doors for new innovations across many industries, from healthcare to transportation. This year, AI is expected to revolutionize the mobile industry. According to the 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey from Deloitte, 68 percent of consumers currently use some AI/Machine Learning features, including predictive text and voice assistants on their phones. The rise of mobile shopping also triggers such behavior. 62 percent of mobile users use their device to make a purchase online, and more than 40 percent of adults search using voice technology.

Given the advancement in AI, it’s no surprise to see more AI-powered smartphones being introduced. For example, Apple’s iPhone X is integrated with AI features that focus on imaging and animation. Samsung also enters the game by introducing Bixby, an assistant software on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 smartphones. But, this isn’t just happening on smartphones. In December 2017, Google Voice Assistant for feature phones was announced, and the first one to market will be the JioPhone (powered by KaiOS). With this new technology, Jio phone users can speak with a Google Assistant in Hindi. Looking forward to 2018, we anticipate more AI technology integrating into mobile phones. Given the upward trend in AI mobile integration, we anticipate more visibility of AI technology in mobile phones in 2018

Online streaming via mobile devices

2018 will be the year of mobile streaming, as more consumers are using their mobile devices to watch TV or movies. A study in 2016 found that nearly a quarter of U.S. phone users viewed TV shows/movies on their devices daily. Another report found that the percentage of consumers who stream movies on mobile devices is 9 percent higher than 2016, and the number is expected to be even higher in 2018.

Using these insights, telecom companies are leveraging their mobile user market. Verizon has announced a partnership with A+E Networks, allowing its customers to watch fresh mobile and digital content. This is great news to Verizon mobile users as they can access premium content any time on mobile devices. Other big mobile operators, such as Reliance Jio, are also making moves to attract movie fans. The company offers TV apps for the JioPhone, allowing users to watch live TV shows on feature phones. They also include a special connector with the device, which lets users display video from their JioPhone on a larger display.

IoT-friendly mobile apps

Like AI, Internet of Things (IoT) is another hot area for mobile users to watch in 2018. The previously mentioned Deloitte survey reported more mobile users are showing interest in connected cars and entertainment. This means consumers expect their phones will connect with other smart devices.They can then do things like remotely turning off their air conditioning at home, or using a camera app to protect their homes from burglars.

Mobile commerce

Mobile commerce is on the rise, bringing new opportunities to both vendors and consumers. An Assocham-Deloitte study showed that more people have been submitting their shopping queries through mobile devices. The percentage has risen from 76 percent in 2016 to 82 percent in 2017, implying an increase in mobile transactions.

Mobile payments are becoming more popular too as 29 percent of U.S. consumers reported to make purchases via mobile devices last year. Many merchants across the United States are adopting mobile payments, allowing customers to pay via mobile apps. Even outside of the U.S., developing countries, including India, are also taking advantage of mobile commerce.

As many people are relying on mobile phones to make purchases, as well as payments, we expect to see more mobile apps that support the mobile e-commerce journey on the market in 2018.
2018 is going to be a great year for the mobile industry, and we’re so excited to be a part of the effort.

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