“Ten to 20 years from now, we may look back on the present as the dawn of the Smart Era: a time when rapid and continuous innovation changed almost everything about the way we live.” This quote, spoken by Ernst & Young’s Global Technology Sector Leader Patrick Hyek, exhibits how quickly smart devices have inundated the business world. The expansion of smart technology in the business world has created new opportunities for industries and companies around the globe that at one time had little interaction with technology.
In late 2010, smartphone sales around the world outpaced PC sales for the first time and now in 2014, more smartphones could be used to access the internet than traditional computers. It is a trend that not only has had a strong impact on consumers, but on businesses as well. In emerging markets, new technology companies are expected to be significant competitors in the smart device industry. This is due in part to a lack of legacy systems, which can be described as previous or outdated computing systems. Not having an established computing infrastructure allows these companies in emerging markets to profit more quickly from technology as it becomes available.
In Kenya, not for profit entities have discovered a socially-beneficial way to utilize the expanding mobile phone market. These devices are being used to collect and report on data from over 175 different health centers, which are currently serving over 1 million people. The information communicated between the health centers addresses disease-specific issues, allowing for more effective healthcare practices. To date, this technology has reduced the cost of the country’s health information system by 25% and has reduced the time it takes to report the information from four weeks to one week.
As smart devices continue to become more popular around the world, companies are moving into different markets to take advantage of mobile commerce and payment systems, cloud computing, and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Companies must adapt to this new way of doing business or risk becoming outdated and less competitive.