The dynamic guest always home on arrival

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 448 Views 0 Comments
The dynamic guest always home on arrival

The excitement of every new year amasses a wealth of expectation in almost every sphere of life. And in the technology world, these expectations come in the form of a blend of anticipation and uncertain prediction. The fluidity of the information society makes accuracy a big call, leaving many to rely on the constant feed of rumours that oft times provide part pointers as to what big thing might be in the offing.

According to the International Telecommunication Union’s ICT Facts and Figures 2016, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions in developing countries continues to grow at double digit rates. This in turn equates to a wider internet penetration and increased online presence. The direct effect of the increased presence is a necessary shift in the tidal waves of the broadband ecosystem as the trio of networks, applications and devices are under constant pressure to satisfy the growing demand. With the new year already picking pace, device manufactures, application developers, content and service providers must be working tirelessly in response, and that’s if they have not already been burning the midnight oil. Such is the kind of want in the technology world; if only the regulators could borrow the leaf – they always appear to be at the tail of things.

Having permeated almost all corners of our daily lives, the technological promises of the year seem to be appealing. Below, we note some of the likely movements within the cyber sphere in 2017.

Cyber warfare and crime

Probably not the best starting point. But in the wake of sweeping technological changes it is inevitable that cyberspace will host a series of attacks; be it political, religious, or ideological. Whatever the form taken you can almost expect that the internet will play some role. The recent email hacks in America proffer some snippets of how effective or otherwise such ‘soft’ but lethal cyberattacks can be. Not forgetting the evergreen zeal of active cybercriminals who are always on the look for the next available victim. Account hacks, data theft, privacy invasion and online abuse range some of the threats that each online presence tags along with and as the criminals grow in their innovation, so do the rampaging effects of falling victim.

Breakthrough innovations

As the demand for online presence increasingly takes root, so does the digital divide gap narrow. The upshot of which almost equates to an unending desire to enjoy the wide opportunities within the ‘digital’ economy. This for service providers means offering more services for less e.g. more data for less money; for application developers means continuously creating apps that better the lives of consumers or improve on earlier versions of existing ones. It is not surprising that the EKs and the Uber Torches are rapidly making in ways into the market. In short, the broadband ecosystem must remain abreast with the ceaseless demands of a vibrant information society.

Before I move to the next item, I should probably make clear that the ‘digital’ adopted here has no inspiration whatsoever from the political world but rather draws from the spirit of an information society which by large purposes to improve livelihoods through the use of ICTs.

Legislative intervention

Again, the politics of the day from where I write may suggest recent backward legislative craft but that does not take away the overall role that remains to be played through laws. These remain the surest way of ensuring that there is a necessary balance between the veracity of the rapid technological revolution and the legislative controls intended to ensure a smooth operational environment. An abuse or neglect of this positive duty is undoubtedly a disaster in waiting, if not in situ.

 

“…The direct effect of the increased presence is a necessary shift in the tidal waves of the broadband ecosystem as the trio of networks, applications and devices are under constant pressure to satisfy the growing demand…”

 

 

Increased competition

For consumers, this is a welcome turn in the tale. In 2011, the Broadband Commission for digital development set the target of making entry-level broadband services affordable in developing countries by ensuring that prices amount to less than 5% of the average monthly income by 2015. Whether this has since been achieved should form the subject of further research. With proper regulation however, competition is guaranteed as a level-playing field is almost assured. Investor confidence then manifests in the form of more service providers reaching out to the gem, the consumers. And where a consumer has options, the prices become friendly. Ask Uber in the wake of Little Cab. Oh, dear Multichoice, could you grace us the favour of exclusive sports packages already? at a competitive rate? We wait on.

Labour Market

The basics of business revolve around ultimate realization of profits from initial investments. Rare are the times that anyone would insist on a trade that has nil profits. Unless of course through the craft of avoiding the taxman. That being so, investors, employers or shareholders are constantly exploring avenues through which they can cut costs and reap maximum profits; and what better an avenue than technology? Human capital is increasingly coming under machine and robotic threat, as are physical meetings which are slowly being phased out by audiovisual conferencing and online assemblage. This online assemblage also has the interests of gamers at heart.

Children Online

Whether the existing cyberspace architecture can be termed as secure enough and one within whose bounds our children can be freely entrusted to unrestrictedly engage remains to be seen. Judging by our aging child rights regimes, it is probably opportune a moment for Jude shed more light on how best we can ensure secure online exposure for our children.

Bitcoin

Arguably the most promising invention as pertains online global commerce. Bitcoins are digital currencies that can be sent through the internet. Once a bit coin in purchased (through any or most currencies), it is stored in the purchaser’s digital wallet on a computer or mobile device. Depending on the value, these coins can then be used to purchase anything online. How about that for global trade?

The IOT

Saving the best for last, if the most profound technologies are those that disappear… as they weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it (ITU), then that is just the kind of assurance that the internet of things provides. If this promise extends to the delicate skill of making stiff porridge and ‘chapaTT’ with the touch of class that many a folk regard so highly and hold so dear, you can almost bet that those who insist on the “must know how to cook proper ‘ugali’ and make deliciously charming round wife-material-like chapatis” will have to revise their selection standards. The Kulamoto’s of this world better convene their special checklist revision meeting or pray hard that IOT spares the two ordo cibis

 

Senaji Anyanje

Kenya Is an ICT law consultant , a child's rights enthusiast and avid writer , poet as well as a sports fanatic.

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