Smartphones Set to Accelerate Entrepreneurship

Cape Times (South Africa), June 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Smartphones Set to Accelerate Entrepreneurship


BYLINE: Joanne Bushell

The number of mobile internet devices is set to outnumber humans by the end of this year.

Africa will be a focal point of the boom in smartphones, and is predicted to have the strongest mobile data traffic of any region. Clearly, smartphones are hugely empowering for Africa. They'll spur the growth of entrepreneurship and local businesses, and bring improvements to health-care and education.

But, at the same time, 24/7 technology brings with it stresses and strains, making workers feel they're always on call.

These feelings may be exacerbated as manufacturers find new ways to keep us online. Google is developing Google Glass - spectacles which allow wearers to use the internet. And it's widely expected that Apple will launch a smartwatch.

If we don't even have to reach into our pockets for our phone in order to connect to work, it's going to be harder than ever to switch off.

In a recent global survey by Accenture, 78 percent of workers said technology let them be more flexible with their schedules. But 70 percent said technology brought work into their personal lives.

Technology has facilitated the 24/7 working culture, but other things have fed into it too.

Businesses are interacting with customers and colleagues in different time zones, and staff are increasingly expected to be available for late-night or early-morning calls. And the global downturn forced many workers to take on additional duties, which led to them working longer hours.

So don't blame everything on technology; and let's not forget the positive changes that technology has brought to work and work-life balance in the past decade.

Think how much easier it is to do your job when you no longer have to go to the office to access corporate information or applications. Remember how video-conferencing has reduced the need for time-consuming corporate travel.

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