As the new year draws in, facts and figures about the year gone by are coming in thick and fast – we’ve already seen the announcements of gaming’s biggest titles in 2014, and now it’s the turn of the mobile industry, with reports of staggering revenue being generated by mobile tech companies during the year. Growth in the digital era has also outdone growth seen during the Industrial Revolution, according to the figures, which show $3.3 trillion in generated revenue in 2014.
An explosion of tablets and smartphones in the last year, coupled with another year of massive hype around the industry. a study commissioned by Qualcomm and headed up by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) took account of figures from Brazil, China, Germany, India, South Korea and the United States, reporting 11 million new jobs had been created in the sector in those countries.
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That $3.3 trillion in revenue is generated in part by six of the most valuable companies in the world, with Alibaba, Apple, China Mobile, Facebook, Google and Verizon all bringing revenue directly from the mobile industry. All of these companies are at the top of the industry, the ‘big three’ being Apple, Facebook and Google at this current point in time, representing hardware, social media and software respectively.
Investment is the biggest driving force behind the increase in profits, and those investments have produced massive turnover. The recorded $1.8 trillion in investments placed in the industry between 2009 and 2013 fueled the revenue generated in 2014. The investments have paid off, but continued investments to advance the technology will be needed.
Although flush with cash from profits that have been generated in the industry, the costs will increase – as forecasts say that 5G wireless tech and other research and development will require an additional $4 billion over the next five years, almost double the investments made previously.
BCG’s findings are all heavily pointed towards the need for increased investment – but also highlight the emergence of new economies and new opportunities in economies in India and China. In those two countries, BCG’s report states that the value of mobile exceeds 40 percent of average income.
Consumers have spoken with regards to the speeds of mobile network services too – 90% of 3G and 4G users have reportedly said that they want faster speeds, more battery life and better coverage on the networks. Data usage is also reported to be doubling every year, and data traffic is expected to be 1000 times greater within a decade.
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In turn, the heavy investments required in 5G tech as well as research and development in wireless technology are justified. Wireless mobile tech is hungry for more and more data and more increased usage. For the moment, the older 3G and 4G systems are hopelessly outdated, regardless of heavy emphasis on the technology by governments and companies worldwide.
The next step for tech is always going to be more connectivity. There is time, and funding available, but the biggest talking point is whether will it come quickly enough to satisfy burgeoning mobile user bases and ever increasing consumer demand for data.