The author says our phones have become portals of remote information.
Apple iPhone just updated its operating system, and there is now a feature that tells you what you’ve been using your phone for, and for how long. Results are showing that people spend between two and five hours on their smartphones daily. Unsurprisingly, the least used feature is voice calls. Is it really still a phone?

Beyond the entertainment aspect, many of us run and engage with our work through our phones. Most of us pick up our phones at least 50 times a day and receive about 150 notifications. This computer in our pocket has become a window into how things perform. In business, we call these assets. And we use our phones as portals to get information about these assets, so that we can make decisions about how to improve some aspect of our lives.

We use them to monitor, get notified about and generate insight about our world. Our phones have become portals of remote information.

Because of this, we are connecting more of our remote assets to the internet so that they can send information to our smartphones.

Companies such as SqwidNet are making it possible to use their internet of things ecosystem to connect all existing assets to the internet at an ultra-low cost.

This includes assets that have no power and need to rely on batteries for many years. This is leading to an explosion of data and a dramatic increase in the number of notifications we receive on our smartphones, asking us to make decisions about our remote world.

This is where tomorrow’s smartphones have to move towards. They have to be able to increase our ability to consume more of these notifications, make more of these decisions, but in less time.

The new smartphone has to ensure that we do not miss important information and we do not find ourselves drowning in data.

They have started doing that by using artificial intelligence.

As we heard at last week’s SingularityU South Africa Summit, over time, our phones learn how to make us more sensitive to the right data, helping us to make better decisions, as we connect more of our remote world to the internet.

Smartphones of the future will help drive innovation by better curating internet-of-things data.

Phathizwe Malinga is managing director of SqwidNET