Game of Phones Survey: billion glances at smartphones in Africa daily

More than 33% of Africans check their phones every 5 minutes and more than half of smartphone users regularly use their devices on public transport, at work and while shopping.

This is opening the door for savvy businesses to provide a “platform for life” that evolves its value through sophisticated data analytics.

More than a billion glances at smartphones in Africa every day The latest edition of the Game of Phones Survey, released by the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industry unit at Deloitte and which canvassed over 5,000 respondents across Africa, highlights that more than a billion glances are taking place on smartphones in Africa every day – with over one third checking their phones every five minutes. “This must mean something for businesses as it is clear smartphones are becoming ever more embedded in our lives. Usage indicates a serious shift away from just information and communication to virtually everything – from how we consume media, to banking, purchasing and gaming, for example,” says Mark Casey, Global Media and Entertainment Leader at Deloitte Global.

The research also found that more than half of Africa’s mobile users check their devices within five minutes of waking up and before going to bed. The report indicates that across all markets including South Africa, consumers are most active on their devices when making use of public transport. A smaller proportion of those surveyed reported that they used their mobile device for services such as insurance, healthcare and home security. Increasingly, mobile devices are being used across the region for financial services with the traditional banking models being constantly challenged via mobile technology.

“Such disruptive technology, especially with the traditional services sectors such as banking and finance, has the potential to be a game changer in that it allows for the previously unbanked to now be an active part for the broader economy, thus ensuring a more positive outcome in broadening economic participation among locals,” says Casey.

Arun Babu, Telecommunications Sector Leader at Deloitte, says businesses around the world are already going through a “transformation journey” to improve the way they harness digital disruption, but new trends require ongoing rethinking of business models.

“Users are looking for an increased range of services that are provided reliably and at speed in a brand-neutral continent. It is important that businesses understand the implications of this in order to achieve brand loyalty across a broad range of customers. It is clear consumers are not married to any component as they increasingly seek unified capability,” he says.

While mobile service providers and device manufacturers will need to enhance functionality to remain competitive, future business models in Africa generally need to be positioned for the reality of greater smartphone penetration.

The survey finds that Africa continues to experience huge growth in data usage, with consumers choosing smarter devices as they provide them with multiple functions in one.

Standard Bank: Many Africans will not be using plastic or cash in 10 years time

Africa mobile 600x300A significant percentage of clients are not likely to be using plastic or cash in certain circumstances within the next decade as online and mobile payment solutions increasingly change buying patterns, according to Wendy Pienaar, head of emerging payments at Standard Bank.

More consumers are seeking online solutions, with over 460 million financial transactions processed by Standard Bank on mobile devices between July 2015 and July 2016. Of these, 23 million transactions refer to value transactions amounting to R92bn (US$6.62bn), a 68% increase year-on-year. In addition, volumes on the Standard Bank mobile app are up 60% year-on-year to the end of June 2016.

The rewards and benefits of secure digital solutions are being sought by an increasingly price-aware consumer on the one end, and brand-conscious consumers who are paying a premium for digital technologies on the other. Pienaar expects South Africa and the rest of Africa to leapfrog legacy architecture as full contactless capability is rolled out more broadly within the next two years.

“The move to a cashless society is happening swiftly, and though cash remains king in many parts of Africa, rapid change is expected over the next few years,” says Pienaar.

According to Nielsen’s 2014 Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies, consumers using mobile and online payments are now found in developed and developing parts of the world, underscoring the broad depth and breadth of reach and willingness to go cashless. One third of respondents in Austria say they’re already using electronic payments, followed by Germany (28%), Lithuania (27%), New Zealand (26%), Czech Republic (24%), Latvia (24%), South Africa (24%), Denmark (23%), China (22%), Poland (22%) and Slovakia (21%).

“Plastic itself will become increasingly less popular when there are higher levels of smartphone penetration and more merchants acquiring point-of-sale (POS) solutions. I expect a large part of our client base to forgo using plastic or cash within a range of 10 to 15 years as we enter an age where consumers would rather leave their wallet at home than their phone,” says Pienaar. Read more

African app startups should “build for future not the past”

CC image (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0) courtesy of Wolf Gang on FlickrDerrick Kotze, chief executive officer (CEO) of mLab Southern Africa,  is of the view that African startups developing mobile apps should look to the future rather than the past by focusing on smartphones given the amount of investment required to build apps and penetrate markets.

Asked by Disrupt Africa whether African app startups should focus on smartphones or the more basic feature phones that remain prevalent on the continent, Kotze said it depended heavily on the services a startup trying to deliver in their target market. But he said generally it would make more sense to look to the future than the past, and develop for smartphones.

“My humble opinion is that considering the investment required to build, penetrate or disrupt a market, you are better off building for the device or platform and market size that is waiting for you six months to a year down the line. With the rapid speed at which smartphone access is growing in Africa it is hard to argue for an investment into legacy technology and platforms,” he said.

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Fingerprint Biometric Technology Expanding In African Mobile Banking

mobile-phone-using-660x370London-based bank Standard Chartered plans this year to introduce biometric technology to customers in eight African countries so they can use fingerprints to access their mobile money — a process known as touch login — versus usernames and passwords.

The roll-out is expected to reach 5 million people in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The bank claims it will be a first in most markets with the largest deployment of fingerprint biometric technology by any international bank, Fin Tech Innovation reported.

Pending regulatory approval, touch login will launch by the end of 2016 in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is already operational in Singapore, United Arab Emirates and India. It is also due to launch in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Pakistan. Read more