Think Digital, Create Digital, Be Digital

During my daily dose of reading and catching up on news, I came across something that sparked memories and got me all excited, I saw a quote from Stephen Van Coller, now the newly appointed head of digital services for MTN Group, after being the head of strategy for a few brief months, and he said, “I want customers to do everything on their phone”, and then there is mention in the article of holding talks with Naspers about hosting TV entertainment on Smartphones.

Now this got me all fired up, not just because of the similar preaching that I do on a daily basis of doing everything on your phone, but because I want to see a world with SIM Card connectivity in everything, and I recalled doing a presentation about a decade ago once to cross Pan African marketing team, and in this presentation I had slides that I want my children’s Barbie Doll to be connected, to tell my child when new fashion line arrives in store or when it is her (Barbie’s) birthday, I wanted my Television to be SIM Card connected, I wanted my car to be SIM Card connected, I wanted everything to be SIM Card connected…

Not much have changed in my dream since that day, just the delivery model is no longer SIM Cards in all these devices/things, but they should all be connected to me, and I am my Smartphone, across any bearer, GSM, WiFi, LiFi, you name it.

Take Naspers as an example, and specifically Multichoice, and their decoders that is the enabler for me to watch my favorite channels, I firmly believe that there is no need for these decoders, I simply want to walk into any place across the world, and the closest connected screen, whether that be a TV or Laptop, should instantly recognize me and allow me, without a decoder to connect the TV/Laptop to my account, no need for decoders, and I get to move with my Subscription, no Smartcards, no hardware manufacturing, just me my Smartphone and a screen, and of course I can watch on my mobile directly.

At the time when I preached this to Naspers, I also wanted to link different payment systems via my mobile, such as direct operator billing (using any bearer, from USSD to App to SMS), with that operator billing linked to any platform, Paypal, Amazon and lot more, and if we add Blockchain technology it would be highly secure as well, all the technology is there, ready to be unlocked and open my world, I even offered to be a test bed and friendly “laboratory” operator that they could test the different integrations.

Unfortunately Naspers/Multichoice never came back in support of such concept testing, but no worries I am hundred percent sure the digital explosion will still happen despite that.

I am also seeing a world where my information/data that I currently carry around in the cloud, and access using my personal computer, will be linked via my smartphone, and that any laptop I access will be enabled to either dock with my hard drive on my smartphone, or link me to my cloud services, thus I see a world where it is no longer required to carry laptops, or even buy desktops specifically for specific people in an organisation, the “personal” of “personal computer” will disappear, it would be me and my smartphone, wherever I go.

Then let’s take vehicles, I see a world where any specific vehicle, whether I own that vehicle or not, whether it is driven by me or driven by a machine, would “sense” my smartphone and my personal preferred settings for that specific vehicle, and then auto adjust everything in that vehicle according to my specifications, which I conveniently adjusted in the app linked to my world on my trusted smartphone, and as the world of individually owned vehicles slowly disappear, any vehicle in the world would be able to become my personal vehicle, as long as my smartphone is there.

As I travel in this vehicle I will be updated about the word around me, based on my preferred personal settings, imagine your car GPS tells you about the history of the road and areas that you travel through, as opposed to the normal “turn left and right” commands you got used to, content that is applicable to you, on the move, wherever you are.

I see a world where my Smartphone comes with an embedded SIM Card, and on which I am not tied to any specific network operator, I want to select my operator on the fly, who I want to, when I want to, where I want to…

I want to enable multiple ID’s on my Smartphone, ranging from personal, and sub personal, (EG my family and my direct family), to business and sub business, (EG My company, my department, my business ventures), and I want to either be called on numbers (MSISDNS) that I can choose as I please (As many as I want) to personal ID’s. such as an e-mail address or domain name, all linked to me, imagine if you want to contact someone at a website and you just click on the link, instead of even having to look for contact details, imagine the amount of jobs that could be decentralized, and save the planet due to no more congested cities, the city can be everywhere….but wait I am going of the track here…that one we will save for another fiery moment 🙂

I see a world with my Smartphone where I am no longer tied to a single bank, I want to be able to change my bank on the fly, to whomever I want to bank with at that specific time, and if I change the setting on my phone, all my accounts and debit orders and everything I want to move is moved on the fly, call it a “Proxy Bank” on my phone, with the “real bank” sitting behind my own controlled Proxy Bank, mine on my smartphone.

I am tired of witnessing ID theft, I want to be able to switch my ID on and off, at will, on my smartphone, thus if any transaction is doe anywhere, online, then I can approve or reject that transaction, and if my ID is off, well then no transaction can be done in any event, and I want to have a digital ID, not just for online transactions, but for travel, passports, ID documents, voting, everything, everywhere, me and my smartphone.

I see a world where my Smartphone is my classroom, my lecture hall, my business meeting, my graduation ceremony, my training centre, my shopping mall, my research centre, my dating club, my book club, my coffee shop…

I see a world where instead of customers doing everything on their phone, the world is doing everything on the customers phone, I am, with my smartphone.

I see much more, but what world do you see… with your Smartphone?

(Final note after reading the MTN article: My advice is to also talk to Netflix, Amazon, Canal+ and many more, don’t be limited of where your current footprint is, MTN and any other operator for that matter can be on any Smartphone in any territory in the world, no license required, but we will cover that in another story)

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