From One Decade to the Next: What Wireless Predictions Rang True
Over the past decade, technology has progressed in almost every field imaginable. In 2010, we saw the emergence of tablets, such as the Apple iPad, and Facebook surpassed Google as the internet’s most-visited website. Since then, we witnessed the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the introduction of cloud computing.
While numerous industries have evolved with the introduction of technology, the wireless industry has continued its rapid advancement — from 3G to 5G network advances, as well as programs and protection products like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Whole Home Electronics Protection. Let’s take a walk down memory lane at predictions from the 2010s, and how they compare to today’s predictions as we step into a new decade.
2010 Prediction: 3G Networks & The Burden of Mobile Data
As one of the largest technology companies in the world, Apple entered the wireless space by offering its first-ever cell phone in 2007. In 2010, Apple released the iPhone 4, the first iPhone that didn’t support 2G and only relied on 3G networks. With 3G, mobile subscribers could enjoy faster internet browsing and data downloading. In addition, mobile video conferencing using 3G became a popular way to instantly communicate.
Just a few years later, we were introduced to 4G and LTE. By 2013, 4G networks were becoming pretty standard, so most newer phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, were 4G phones. As we quickly approached 2020 and IoT started garnering buzz, many wireless carriers were working on 5G.
2020 Prediction: 5G Finally a Reality
Fast forward to 2020, and a top prediction for the next decade revolves around the expansion of 5G. For years, we have been hearing about how next-generation 5G networks are going to change how we access the internet. We have all been to a concert or sporting event where we struggle to use the internet or send a text message due to the number of people trying to access the Wi-Fi. 5G will allow the carriers to handle the congestion happening during these overcrowded scenarios and even more.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in businesses offering the option to work from home, but faulty Wi-Fi and unstable internet connections can make it challenging for employees to do so. As 5G becomes more of a reality, experts predict that 5G can access artificial intelligence and augmented reality computing in the cloud without tethering to a fiber connection — a much different prediction than we saw ten years ago.
2010 Prediction: Location-based Services on Smartphones
Back in 2010, the idea of your smartphone knowing your physical location seemed far-fetched, and yet many experts predicted location-based services (LBS) would become more popular. It became extremely useful for users to access relevant and up-to-date information about their surroundings, inform others of their whereabouts and get instant access to maps and traffic information for their location. In 2011, 28% of adult Americans used location-based services of some type, and it was predicted that it would deliver $700 billion in value to customers and business owners over the next decade.
While location-based services like Google Maps and Waze are extremely helpful in providing users with updates on traffic highlights and roadmaps, the discussion around consumer privacy remains prevalent.
2020 Prediction: Utilizing LBS Without Compromising Trust
When the idea of location-based services first became a reality, many businesses worried about the effect it would have on consumer privacy. Today, the conversations around personal information and exact locations are still taking place. In fact, just last year, four of the largest U.S. cell carriers were caught selling and sending real-time location data to companies for “data purposes.”
With cyberattacks on the rise, consumers are beginning to take a stand on their privacy rights. In January 2019, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint announced they were recommitted to ending the sale of consumer location data. While consumer privacy remains a hot topic of discussion, many are still wondering how carriers can use LBS without risking their consumer’s trust.
The wireless industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years. With technology’s impressive growth rate, it will be interesting to see what the next ten years bring.
Jon Mikow is Vice President of Wireless at Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Inc. company). Fortegra® and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs. Delivering multifaceted coverage with an unmatched service experience for domestic and international partners and their customers, Fortegra solves immediate, everyday needs, empowering consumers to worry less and Experience More.