2018 is just a couple days away and as usual, we reflect on how the year has gone and also think about all the possibilities the new year will bring. Since moving back to Trinidad, I have seen a lot of progression in the right direction. That said, I got to thinking about some of the things I would like to see in 2018 for the mobile field here in the Caribbean. Hopefully, someone sees this post and takes some initiative, so here are 5 things I would like to see happen for mobile in 2018.
Learning Centers – I think it is fair to say that smartphones have really turned the corner. You can no longer look at these devices as simply a phone, it’s almost degrading to call it that. While 2018 will be the year of AI & NPU chips, machine learning and the likes.
The absolute only way we in the Caribbean put ANY of this amazing tech to use, is the telco companies need to get on board with the rest of the world and invest in learning centres. This is already happening around the world, and the investment into our user base is now critical for us here.
Mobile Experts – On the flip side to my first point, we need more mobile experts. So if you are an owner of a mobile store, you guys need to seriously start getting your people trained as mobile tech is getting a whole lot deeper. Days of simply hiring off the street, putting people in front of a cash register and hoping they sell needs to come to an abrupt end.
We need more experts in the field to properly instruct clients of the right devices to get, apps to use, and just provide a healthy community of mobile knowledge in the Caribbean.
Simpler Postpaid Plans – One of the biggest concerns I hear with clients when it comes to Postpaid plans, is that they are either too expensive, they don’t understand them & they do not trust the company to not overcharge them. I hope our Telco companies will work hard on this to rebuild public perception. I also feel like both Bmobile & Digicel should offer 3 plans, just 3, one of which should start at $200tt.
We need to get our client base on data plans. It does not make sense to have these powerful smartphones and it is handicapped by having no data. Data is a major part of what we need for us to move forward in the digital age and also have better communication through email, WhatsApp, etc.
Mobile Content – One of the ways people can get acclimated to things like smartwatches, smart homes, Alexa, Google Home, Google Assistant, Google Lens, Wipay, Paywise, and I could go on with all the new tech/apps out, is by creating content. In the Caribbean, some of us just naturally seek out the tech and learn how to adopt it into our lives. Others, need to not just hear about the tech but also see it being used in practicality locally.
We need more content, we need more demo’s, we need some serious creativity by our tech leaders to expose the general public. While I myself have partnered with Huawei to create a video series to teach our user base on how to use their smartphones and get the most out of it, we need a lot more of these kinds of initiatives to make a dent overall.
Mobile Payments – I know this obviously going to be a bit of stretch, seeing as how we just got chip cards not too long ago. But I would love, I mean love to see if the banks started allowing for mobile wallets if stores could start utilizing things like Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay.
We have all these devices with NFC chips, and we aren’t able to put these things to use the way we would like to. I am someone who hates cash, so cards are cool, but to be able to just use my phone or smartwatch to make payments would be great. I hope this isn’t too much to ask.
If I could see 2, just 2 of these ideas come to fruition, I’d be a happy man. As always, I will do my part to keep pushing the education of Mobile here in the Caribbean, but it’s just about the time we bring in the big guns.
Mobile is turning the corner, and we need all hands on deck in terms of getting our region acclimated with the technology that is coming out so that we don’t fall too far behind, but also so that people can utilize to build their brands, communicated and whatever else comes to mind.