Ericsson said regular consumer research reveals that most smartphone owners believe a form of electronic telepathy (e-telepathy) will be a mainstream technology by 2020.
The Sweden-based infrastructure company ranked Mind Sharing as one of its top 10 consumer trends for 2015 and beyond, in the latest installment of its annual ConsumerLab report. The study found that many smartphone owners want to use wearable devices to communicate simply by thinking about the message they want to send, prompting the company to forecast such technology will be widely available in the next five years.
E-telepathy is one of several new communication concepts smartphone owners expect will become widespread by 2020.
Among the other 'new' services tipped to hit the mainstream by 2020 are smart city applications including traffic volume maps, energy use comparison apps, and real-time water quality checkers, the company stated. A majority of consumers (80 per cent) also expect mobile payments to replace physical payments by 2020, while 64 per cent expect to have access to domestic robots that will help with household chores by that year.
In its latest ConsumerLab research, the company quizzed smartphone owners aged 15 to 69 years in 10 major cities across the globe, in a study it said represents 85 million frequent internet users.
Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, said that smartphones are becoming part of mainstream society, and that the shift is having an astonishing effect on consumers' expectations of what technology can deliver.
"As consumers, we try out new apps and keep the ones we think improve, enrich or even prolong our lives at such a rapid pace that we don't even notice that our attitudes and behaviours are changing faster than ever.
"Services and products that quite recently seemed beyond imagination are now easily accepted and believed to rapidly reach the mass market," Björn said.
In the shorter term, Ericsson predicted that more consumers will watch streaming TV services on a weekly basis than regular broadcast services for the first time in 2015. The recent study also shows a high level of consumer interest in having home sensors offering alerts to problems with electric and water supplies, and details of when family members come and go.
While 48 per cent of smartphone owners said they would prefer to use their device to pay for goods and services, 47 per cent of respondents want to do so without automatically transferring their personal information in the process. Some 56 per cent would like all internet communications to be encrypted.
Smartphones are also becoming key to personal health and fitness, the company added. Smartphone owners believe applications covering jogging, pulse monitoring, and even the food on our plates could prolong their lives by up to two years.
Some 46 per cent of respondents also believe today's children will expect all objects to be connected by the time they reach adulthood.
- read this Ericsson press release
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