At World Mobile
Congress, Smart Tech Promises to Change Lives
March 03, 2017
are in the midst of a mobile tech revolution that promises to change the
way we live, say industry experts at this week's Mobile World Congress (MWC)
in Barcelona, Spain, where the ‘Internet of Things’ and superfast 5G
technologies are all the rage. But even the most basic mobile technology
is changing lives in some of the world's most remote parts.
The exhibit is a showcase of the latest technology — and a glimpse of
what the future holds. And industry insiders at the MWC 2017 say there
is a lot more to come.
Pibo, for example, is a mobile-connected robot designed to help families
connect and express their emotions in the digital age. On the other
hand, they could invest in a digital hang drum — a traditional
instrument used in yoga, updated for the 21st century so it syncs with
U.S. technology giants AT&T and General Electric have come up with smart
street lamps, with cameras, sensors and microphones connected to 4G
mobile networks. Over three thousand are being installed in the western
U.S. city of San Diego, California and will be used for traffic
But AT&T product manager Trey Winter, said the makers have bigger
“You are going to be able to detect smart parking solutions, gunshot
detections inside of a city infrastructure. Environmental features
detecting weather, smog, pollution," he said. "Really bringing to life
the intelligence inside of the city.“
Much of the buzz at this year’s show is around super-fast 5G networks —
with faster download speeds and almost zero delay.
Roger Chen of CNET magazine explained that this means a "real-time
"The best example someone has given to me is a surgeon performing a
surgery in one country with robotic hands in another country," he added.
Apps offer solutions for Africa
Mobile technology is transforming the economies of many African
countries, with smartphone apps ranging from herding cattle in Kenya and
connecting dirty laundry to mobile washerwomen in Uganda.
for one, uses basic mobile technology to offer access to a huge range of
education. Two million students are signed up to its ‘virtual classroom‘
— and the better their grades, the more mobile airtime the parents
The company's chairman, Stephen Haggard said "they are able to access
all the education they want for a subscription that’s about 10 U.S.
cents per week."
"That covers the full curriculum and will get them everything they need
to do from around age eight to finishing school," he said. "The reality
in most of Africa is that mobile technology is actually the only way
that you can reach huge numbers of people at low cost with any kind of
A recent report by consultants McKinsey predicted that by 2025 half of
sub-Saharan Africa’s billion strong population will have internet
access, over two-thirds via smartphones.