In more recent times it has been the growth in computational power and the increasing availability of such to the everyday consumer, that has brought the greatest transformation to UK businesses.
The most relevant case nowadays is perhaps the smartphone, with computational capacity now in excess of the one of the machines that landed man on the moon. The smartphone’s mobility and integration of other functionalities on top of its use as a phone separate it from almost any other technological advance of the 21st century.
Here we examine the UK markets and common practices which have been most affected by this new device.
Gaming has been irrevocably altered by the inception of smartphones, with recent statistics indicating that console and PC games will continue to underperform vs. their mobile and tablet counterparts. The most obvious advantage of mobiles and tablets is their portability, making them ideal for commuters, those who are travelling and even home-gamers who may desire the ability to play in any room – as opposed to being restricted to the location of their PC or console.
However, mobile gaming also delivers innovation quicker than other gaming markets. Many apps currently available blur the boundaries between game and virtual utility, allowing for new and fresh experiences. Similarly, mobile gaming offers innovation in payment methods. For instance, casino gaming provider mFortune offers slots deposit by phone bill to better serve the complete integration of their services on the smartphones – the idea is that there is no reason for the gamer to have to visit the website on their desktop or laptop PC. Finally, mobile gaming is clearly about interactivity, being the first market to bring touchscreen technology into mainstream gaming.
While smartphones have lead to a huge boom in the number of people engaging with photography, the culture surrounding the hobby, and the linked markets, have undergone a dramatic shift. First, there was the advancement of digital cameras. But the great advances in smartphone camera technology have seen the once add-on feature of phone cameras begin to outstrip premium compact cameras from the last few years, resulting in the almost 10% sales drop experienced by Canon. While some may see this as rightful progress, the loss of 1370 jobs from the closing of UK camera giant Jessops could be a worrying sign of the future.
Though in many ways a smartphone can be thought of as a hand-held computer, they have even begun to outstrip conventional computers as a tool for accessing the World Wide Web. This is in part due to the advances made in 4G mobile broadband, which allows for convenient and portable internet access at comparable, or even superior speeds to desktop computers. Though this paradigm shift is in its infancy, already design for mobile devices is becoming a more prominent issue for developers everywhere, especially considering Google algorithm updates and the priority the search engine giant now gives to mobile-optimised websites. Ultimately, as in the case of digital photography, this may lead to more fundamental changes in how we use web pages and the way they’re built.
With more and more aspects of consumers’ lives being orientated around smartphones, the effect of these devices on UK businesses will only grow. Those who adapt may find opportunity, but with a technology so new, only time will tell where the smartphone revolution will take us.