Five tech trends in Myanmar for 2020

Few countries, if any, have experienced the exponential growth in mobile penetration and data consumption that Myanmar has seen over the past five years. Moving from 13 percent to 124 pc mobile penetration, Myanmar consumers have not only gone digital but now enjoy some of Asia’s best, most affordable network services.

Today, the Myanmar telecom market has rapidly become similar to much more advanced markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, Sweden or Norway.

It is essential for any telecoms operator to understand how and why people use their phones in certain ways, and how these habits evolve over time. For 2020, Telenor Research has identified no less than 20 emerging consumer trends. Five of these trends have particular relevance to Myanmar:

Green gets mean

2020 marks the year when greenwashing and empty words will not do anymore. We will see green innovations using combinations of Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to measure consumption, reduce demand and significantly reduce carbon footprints while cutting costs and building new revenue streams.

Businesses can drive change by utilising their sourcing power, consumers can use technology to drive more widespread and effective green habits wherever they are. We will see increasingly generous public and private financing for green startups and scale-ups.

Telecommunications can drive real change in this area, but operators will also have to keep check on their own emissions. In Myanmar, connectivity – especially in rural and remote areas – rely on base stations with no or limited electricity supply. Diesel generators remain a significant source of power to keep these mobile networks running.

In 2020, mobile operators and tower infrastructure partners need to encourage each other to invest in greener and safer solutions.

In data we trust?

The competition for your trust will intensify in 2020 and the arena will be your mobile phone. Most of us now share more personal info online than we share with our doctors. It’s easier to do, it’s built into daily behaviours; and so far, it’s much less regulated than the health sector.

Many still believe that free online services come at no cost, and don’t realise that internet giants make money from our data by selling tailored advertisements. This is now changing.

In 2020, we believe customers will increasingly reserve trust to companies who do not use our personal data as their main source of revenue.

As we share more data, we are also letting more of our everyday lives be decided by big data and AI. What if the data sets themselves are dirty? If data sets are inaccurate, biased or compromised, the decisions made may be flawed, or even illegal. Protecting the integrity of data and being open and transparent about how data is used – or not, are evolving into imperatives for responsible companies everywhere.

In Myanmar, most people equate being online with being on major social media platforms. Since the mobile market opened up six years ago, it has been more important for consumers to get connected than to avoid sharing personal data. With 2020 being an election year in many countries, including Myanmar, tackling issues of trust in relation to data will be even more critical.

Digital distribution and

IoT uptake

In 2020 electronic SIM (e-SIM) technology will become common in both consumer electronics and company-related IoT.

Users will be able to activate and change subscriptions without having to wait for a new sim-card to arrive by mail or go to a store to pick it up. While digital distribution of mobile subscriptions is available today, the commercial introduction of e-SIM will start to speed up the transition from physical to digital retail, and we can expect to see a number of new e-SIM services and apps launch in the market in the coming year.

Asia-Pacific is set to overtake other regions in e-SIM uptake by the early 2020s, and a leapfrogging market like Myanmar should be prepared for more devices and industries introducing connectivity to become more efficient and deliver better services to customers.

Clash of the streaming giants

Once upon a time, broadcast TV shows like Friends were very popular. Since then, HBO and Netflix have moved into our living rooms, supplementing the still-robust broadcast and cable offerings.

They’re now followed closely by the new AppleTV+ and Disney+ platforms and probably others soon, all of whom are offering content featuring our favorite stars, powered by cinematic production budgets, and distributed on native interfaces and owned devices. 2020 will bring us a battle of these streaming giants – and with it, more and better content than ever.

Half of all mobile usage in Myanmar is spent on streaming, and locally relevant content is the big traffic driver. Operators are tying up with both global giants and regional leaders like VIU, iFlix and Joox to provideattractive entertainment options for its customers.

Gaming gold rush

For gamers, 2020 is going to be a great year. Apple has already launched its Arcade, and Google wasn’t far behind with Stadia, both representing a renewal of the gaming industry.

Apple Arcade gives subscribers access to all their exclusive offerings for download and offline play.

Google Stadia is based on streaming and replaces local computational power with cloud computation. 2020 will see them both broaden the footprint of gaming, but also offer Microsoft (X-Box) and Sony (Playstation) new, tough competition. Expect to see multiple industries (including telecommunications) make aggressive plays to take pieces of the lucrative gaming pie in the year ahead.

In recent years, gaming in Myanmar has been developing from casual activities to highly competitive e-Sports, and games are now enjoyed in many ways. With dramatic advances in technology, online games can now connect players around the world instantly, anytime and anywhere through mobile data networks. With its low-latency networks, Telenor Myanmar is a key facilitator for Myanmar’s emerging gamer community.

The MyTelenor app also has strong gaming features, and the company is actively engaging with and supporting the Myanmar eSports community.

The world of technology is a dynamic one: Innovation is charging ahead, enabled by access and demand. At the same time, people are waking up to how technology and connectivity is reshaping the world and attempts to rewrite the rules.

There is no single storyline and no easy answers, but one thing is clear: We’re in for an exciting, chaotic and complex 2020.

Read all the 20 trends we identified for 2020 on

Bjørn Taale Sandberg is Senior Vice President and Head of Telenor Research, a dedicated research arm with 40 inhouse researchers and partnerships with renowned research institutions in the Nordics, Asia and USA. Sandberg has previously served as CEO of AeroMobile Ltd, based in the UK, as Chief Marketing Officer in Telenor Pakistan and as head of Strategy for Telenor Mobile Communications.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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