Here’s a snapshot of just how connected we already are:
There are 7 billion activated cellphones worldwide, about the same as the population.
About 6 billion hours of video are accessed on YouTube every month. Of that, 70 percent is from outside the United States; 25 percent is accessed on mobile devices.
On Friday morning, panelists at WorldCity’s Tech Connections event — executives Marcelo Caputo of Telefonica, Jose Antonio Rios of Celistics, Mark Hans-Joachim Crofton of SAP, Juanjo Duran of YouTube and Richard Wadsworth of MasterCard Worldwide — shared these numbers as well as a glimpse into the future.
The consensus: There will be no letup in the speed of mobility or big data, particularly in Latin America.
Chile leads Latin America in connectivity. With a population of 17 million, there are more than 50 million wireless connections, said Caputo. In Brazil there are more than 300 million wireless connections for its 200 million population. To continue to grow its market, Telefonica is developing an operating system that will allow smartphones to sell for under $100, he said. Ten years ago, Latin America made up 20 percent of Telefonica’s worldwide revenues; now it is more than 50 percent, Caputo said.
With this progress comes opportunity: Although many people have multiple devices and wireless connections, there are still wide swaths of the world without. “For every person who is connected in the world, two are not,” Duran said. “We think by the end of the decade most people will be connected,” he said, adding that Google, YouTube’s parent, is experimenting with balloons to bring connectivity to remote areas.
And in Latin America, depending on the region, up to 70 percent of the population does not have a bank account, presenting a huge opportunity in mobile banking and payments, said Wadsworth, adding that MasterCard has Mobile Money programs in Brazil and other markets.