Future of the Internet is Outside the US

Meet the Internet (cc) Alex Eylar

Meet the Internet (cc) Alex Eylar

As a technology company (though on a different planet than the one occupied by the companies found in this report ;)), we are somewhat religious about Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report. A few thoughts on the 2014 version:

  • Fastest internet and smartphone growths are in “more difficult to monetize developing markets” such as India, Indonesia, Nigeria.
  • Nokia should cry on slide 10 for thoughtlessly ceding Symbian’s market share to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Must be some record to go from +60% in 2005 to nothing in 2013.
  • Slide 18 should make us all scared: “+95% of networks compromised in some way.” Very, very scared.
  • Niche communities are growing. See the impressive stats for Houzz on Slide 57. If this is the future, what possible communities of practice (CoP) are there in technologies for social change and ICT4D? And, how do we create and nurture these communities?
  • Slide 66 – 68: The proliferation of sensors gives rise to a host of creative possibilities for ICT4D apps. For instance, Samsung S5 has 10 built-in sensors (Gyro / fingerprint / barometer / hall – recognizes whether cover is open/closed / RGB ambient light / gesture / heart rate / accelerometer / proximity / compass).
  • If there was to be a take-away from the deck, I would offer this one: “New Companies – With New Data from New Device Types – Doing Old Things in New Ways & Growing Super Fast” (slide 76).
  • Here is a nugget on the size of big data in open government (slide 88)
    • OpenGov: Government Financials; Compiles data of 37K US governments; Real-time queries across millions of rows of transactions; Adding new paying government customer every 4 days (& accelerating)
  • 6 of top 10 global internet properties are “Made in USA” while more than 86% of their users are outside America (slide 131). How long can / will this last? Are slides 132 (China) and 36 (China, Japan, Korea, Israel) a trend within the trends (sorry, could not resist that :)).
  • Growth is plateauing or slowing in developed countries. Big internet growth is predicted to be from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico, and Philippines (slide 156). Big smartphone market growth will be in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia (slide 158).

It looks like the future of the internet lies outside the US, or so the trends predict.

Categories: africa, asia, regions, research, resources


  1. Jennifer says:

    Reading through this report, I was actually very struck by how many of the various apps and services I don’t use in my own life – and I should! (In fact, many were downloaded mid read.) Thanks to them, I would be using my time better (more efficient) and, in many cases, living my life better (more effective). Now, I have every incentive to use these technologies to make my own life more efficient and effective given that…well, I live it. And, still, I have barely scratched the surface of how these emerging technologies and social interventions can make my day to day better. It’s not for lack of wanting to use them. I just don’t always know what they are or see how they could be used in a way that adds value yet…and, I certainly don’t see how until a visionary company creates a product or service that I can use.

    Now think about the magnitude of international development challenges. Imagine how much we’re still missing when it comes to how technology can make those efforts more efficient and effective. One of the things that I love about Appropriate IT is that we’re trying to accelerate the use of technologies for international development – by seeing the needs, seeing the potential of tech, and packaging solutions that make this clear to others…so that they can use them in their efforts too. Part of the reason I haven’t used many of these new services yet is because, really, who has the time to keep up it all?! Fortunately, there’s always some friend around to adopt Instagram first and show me that it’s fun to use or some new tech company that creates the platform behind something like Uber. In a very loose nutshell, these are the types of value that AI will lend to the ICT4D sector – developing new technologies and demonstrating their value when it comes to social change so that others will adopt.

  2. Subha says:

    It is truly amazing how fast technology has taken over the world. I got my first mobile phone 11 years earlier, but I have almost forgotten how life was before mobile phones were invented. We have taken its existence for granted. It is not surprising that the kids of today learn to use a smartphone or an iPad by the time they turn one. Such is the ease of use of today’s technology.

    Technology is changing our lives and the future is about access and being connected anywhere, anytime. Education will soon be about virtual learning, locally or globally. You can sit in a remote village and attend a class in Harvard or learn through the mobile schools from the comfort of your home. All that is required is high speed internet connectivity.

    “Big Data” is still unexplored and I find opportunities galore for AI in Big Data analytics. Early warnings, real time monitoring etc. are just some ways that this data can help in International Development. This is an exciting frontier and offers great promise to the international community. I look forward to being part of the Innovation Lab and implement emerging technologies.

  3. Amitaksha says:

    It is exciting to see the potential of design, sensors, big data analytics to bring power to citizens. That should be exciting times for ICT4D, to help people demand governance and hold service providers accountable. The challenge, however, is that it is easy and often tempting to get overwhelmed with so much tech. That is where I think ICT4D plays a role in contextualizing technology to the needs of people.

    One common thread of all the analysis in the report is that ICT delivers information, engagement, collaboration. What is important is to focus on the problem first and then look at what ICT can deliver in context – use ICT as means to the end. I think for all ICT4D enterprises that is a must have competency. I like the fact that ‘Innovation Lab’ makes a point here!

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