With the countdown to Christmas ramping into high gear, it won’t be long before Santa is packing up the sleigh and making his annual trip around the world. If 2017 is anything like last year, technology and mobile devices will be making up the bulk of Santa’s bounty, a trend that is looking certain to continue.
Smartphone use continues towards saturation point
According to Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions for 2018, smartphone use in developed countries will break the 90 percent mark in the next five years. The firm expects the most dramatic increase in smartphone use in the 55 to 75-year-old age range. It also forecasts that we will be spending more money on our mobiles, a continuation of the most recent third quarter 2017 statistic that one out of eight smartphone users in Western Europe spent in excess of £670 on their device. And this was before the release of iPhone X.
Online shopping and wireless payments
It’s not only the case that more of us are using smartphones, we’re also using them in preference to other devices such as desktop or laptop computers or even tablets. This includes shopping online. On Christmas Day 2016, a peak of 71 percent of online shopping traffic came from smartphones, and they accounted for 54 percent of online sales in the month of December according to data collected by online checkout optimiser PCA Predict.
This may be only the tip of the iceberg, as our lives become increasingly dominated by our smartphones. It’s expected that more and more of our financial transactions will be made through the handheld devices as consumers begin to appreciate the convenience of programmes like Apple Pay and its counterpart, Android Pay. Not only can you use it to pay at the register when you’re physically in a store, you can also give a friend a quick tenner via text, or you can even pay your fare in a London cab.
Protecting your smartphone
With all of these online payments around us, it’s more important than ever to keep our mobile phones secure. While mobile payments that require a fingerprint scan or use face-recognition software are about as safe a system as one can find (with no danger of forgotten passwords), it still behoves one to protect his or her mobile against theft or damage if for no other reason than the cost of replacing it. If the phone isn’t covered by your contents insurance, it’s worth looking into a policy specifically for your mobile. While it’s always best to ensure a high-priced item when it’s brand new, it’s possible to sign up for phone insurance up to six months after purchase.
Of course, as we explored a few months ago, theft and breakage aren’t the only risks to be wary of. Data protection is also a major issue. Not only should you have a backup plan to protect against loss of the information stored in your phone, a security system to protect against hackers and viruses is also pretty much essential these days, especially if you have an Android phone. A few further tips to minimise your vulnerability:
- Keep software up to date
- Never install anything from a website you don’t know
- Set your phone to regularly back up data with adequate online storage
- Use the phone’s lock function with a six-digit code to unlock
- Treat your phone as you treat your e-mail (i.e. don’t click on links sent via WhatsApp or text that promise high value coupons to high street stores)
- Opt for your mobile internet connection over unsecured public Wi-Fi
If Santa is good to you this year, make sure his gift will serve you years into the future (or at least until the next amazing version comes out). With a few elementary precautions, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your high tech companion and all the data contained therein is safe from intrusion and backed up in case of loss or breakage.