Smartphone accessibility is rapidly changing the state of play in developing countries around the world. Once the government invests in and builds up widespread mobile infrastructure, or allows a private company to do so, the general public very quickly embraces the technology. In India, the embrace of mobile technology is happening at a rapid rate across the vast nation of over 1.3 billion people, with the number of users set to exceed 800 million by 2022.
It’s not just the size of the subcontinent’s population that’s driving the surge of mobile technology, either. The conditions happen to be next-to perfect for smartphones to become a significant part of everyday lives across India. A combination of mobile tech being made specifically for India, 4G being rolled out rapidly, bandwidth prices and smartphone prices sinking, rising affluence, and a willingness to adopt the tech is placing India as the hottest mobile market on the planet right now.
Some will see the chance to get a smartphone as just a better way to communicate with others, browse the internet, and stream content. However, in two distinct industries, they are having a colossal impact.
Despite the general love of entertainment across India, only a tiny part of the population ever got into gaming. A combination of economic, cultural, and availability factors stopped the industry that’s huge in the west and far east from taking root in India. Then came smartphones, and all of a sudden, the convenient access to games unveiled a massive gaming audience.
Many of the games that have become popular in other established mobile markets, such as the slot-driven Coin Master, 8 Ball Pool, Candy Crush, and the Clash games, found an audience in India, but none to the scale of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile. Known as ‘PUBG,’ its popularity in the country has become so massive that its competitive scene has established itself in India, too.
Another segment that’s found a great deal of popularity in India as a result of mobile access is that of iGaming. The tremendous demand for both sports betting and casino gaming has encouraged many highly-rated brands to offer their services to everyone in India. It’s the complete package found in the rest of the world, too, including welcome bonuses, mobile apps, live dealer cards, and table games, and odds on all of the cricket, hockey, and kabaddi action.
Agriculture is one of the most ancient industries of civilized humanity, with the methods gradually becoming more and more efficient over the centuries. At its core, however, the processes are still very similar, with a few tweaks to productivity being introduced by some inventions around the world. While you wouldn’t naturally point to agriculture as being a major beneficiary of widespread smartphone use, farmers are certainly making use of the technology.
One aspect that’s helping farmers is access to live weather information online. Adverse weather conditions can quickly ravage crops, and the ability to act swiftly or even preemptively can be the difference between a full yield and losing half of what’s being grown. Mobile weather service apps like IKSL are helping farmers to get weather warnings ahead of time so that they can protect their crops sufficiently when needed.
Another vital area of trade is identifying the disease. A diseased plant or animal can quickly result in a lot of crop being lost, particularly if it’s not recognized and treated correctly. Tata was notably developing a service that would offer a diagnosis of diseased crop images sent in from smartphones. Offering this as a mobile-based service makes the process much faster and convenient.
India is already the second-largest mobile market in the world, and yet, around half of the population doesn’t presently have a smartphone in their pockets. Reliance Jio has consistently sought new ways to undercut market leaders and offer more affordable access to technology across India. Now, they’ve got the backing of internet behemoth Google.
The Indian telecommunications company received a massive US$4.5 billion in investment from Google earlier this year, with two fixated on creating a new, affordable Android phone for the market. Throughout the surge of mobiles in India, it’s primarily been Chinese companies that have been able to offer the most affordable way in, but now it’s a native brand with the power to muscle-in, with the competition only making mobiles even more affordable.
Smartphones are helping to revolutionize storied industries of India as well as open the door to new ones; as adoption increases, they’ll only prove to have an even greater impact.
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