No telecoms game changer expected for 2012?

Despite a number of disruptive technologies on the horizon, they are unlikely to materialise in 2012 – if the predictions of a number of experts in the telecoms industry are to be believed.

Instead, we are likely to see the market settle before the arrival of another game-changer; however, “nothing is impossible,” according to James Herbst, CEO of JSE-listed Huge Telecom.

“There are definitely a few disruptive technologies on the horizon, but they are unlikely to materialise in 2012,” opined Derek Wilcocks, MD at converged communications service provider Internet Solutions.

He believes that the most obvious technology on the horizon is the next iteration of the World Wide Web. “We are still moving towards the next generation of the collaborative Internet, where it will become more of an ecosystem than one piece of technology.”

He notes a number of other interesting disruptive innovations that will change the world, but are not specific to the IT sector. “There is a move from fluorescent to LED lighting, which will save massive amounts of energy. The advancement of battery technology will also change the world, allowing us to use smaller form-factor devices for longer,” he said.

Chris Radley, MD at Nashua Mobile agrees with Herbst. “I think innovation this year will be incremental rather than disruptive – we’ll see technologies such as tablets, smartphones and high-speed mobile broadband go mainstream.”

Herbst is satisfied with the innovation progress in South Africa. “SA leap-frogged many countries with 3G and has produced some great innovations such as MXit. Fixed-line broadband remains a massive challenge but I think the future lies in wireless and the applications used in conjunction with this technology,” he said.

Wilcocks disagrees to some extent regarding SA innovation; however, he believes that more value could be derived from innovation in the application of technology rather than the development of new innovative tech.

He points to a recent report published by the World Economic Forum also supporting this notion, having stated that innovation was not about R&D but rather the application of existing technology.

“This approach also requires society to adopt and use the technology at hand rather than looking to new forms of technology, which generally cost a lot more to bring to market,” he said.

“The thing is that technology is not all things to all people, so we need to find new ways to use what we have to progress,” Wilcocks said.

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No telecoms game changer expected for 2012?