[Tech Corner] 5G: 10 industries the internet has disrupted in Nigeria

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By Wisdom Deji-Folutile

On September 10, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to commence the implementation of 5G in the country. This means Nigeria joins countries like China, US, UK, Germany and Australia to adopt the technology which gives citizens access to blistering internet speed.

The internet has delivered on its promise to be the most revolutionary invention of the modern world. Since its emergence in the 80s and the popularisation of the World Wide Web in the 90s, the internet has changed the way we share information, manage resources, consume content and even operate in our work fields.

According to statistica.com, Nigeria had 84 million internet users in 2022, a number projected to grow to 117 million in 2023.

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The adoption of 5G technology further drives online penetration and ease of internet access in the country, exponentially improving internet speed. It could also make previous generation standards like 4G more affordable and accessible to the masses.

In light of the introduction of 5G, AF24NEWS compiled a list of 10 industries in Nigeria that have been disrupted by the popularisation of the internet in the country.

mobile application of a ride-hailing company

Transportation

One industry few people could have foretold would be disrupted by the internet is transportation. Now, with the rise of ride-hailing services, commuters no longer need to stand by the side of the road to flag down vehicles. Companies like Uber, Bolt and Lyft have all leveraged GPS technology, the magic of code, map APIs and the internet to completely revolutionise the world of transportation. With the simple use of a ride-hailing application, one can simply call a cab with more specific pick-up points and destinations.

Also, courier services almost entirely operate on technology, with users being able to just click on their smartphones and transport their documents and packages from the comfort of their homes. It is also possible to track dispatched parcels, giving many users more control over deliveries.

 

Media

Before the internet became an obvious go-to source of content, television, radio, and newspapers were the most prevalent media for information dissemination. People had to use cable technology to access a range of television channels that gave viewers access to content from broadcast stations.

However, now, users can use internet-enabled devices to access weather forecasts, news, stock projections and more. Radio replacements like podcasts have also become popular, with listeners ‘tuning-in’ to their favourite podcasters as they would have to OAPs in the past.

Specifically, the print media has suffered from the increase in the popularity of news websites. As opposed to print, news websites have a wider reach, are continually updated over the course of the day, and are more dynamic.

An important thing to note also is that the increase in the popularity of blogging, self-publication and more have also inadvertently given rise to fake news, sensationalism and groupthink practices in the media field. However, they also provide a platform for independence in journalism event coverage and reportage.

READ ALSO: FG seeks cheaper Internet services

Education

The popularity of internet schooling is on the rise as many have taken advantage of virtual academies to earn digital certificates and acquire more knowledge outside their field of expertise.

Many have even abandoned traditional schooling altogether in favour of platforms like Udemy, Udacity and Coursera, which provide relevant, school curriculum-based coursework for many hoping to sharpen skills.

Access to web tutorials in the form of YouTube videos and the like also provides a cheaper means for people to learn more about a particular subject. Many platforms offer tutor-student interaction on a 1:1 basis.

Banking

The internet has provided a more convenient banking experience for customers, who can now avoid long queues at physical banking halls when trying to execute simple bank transactions.

Before the adoption of internet services by financial institutions, banks were notorious for unreasonably inconvenient processes that gave rise to time-wasting, frustration, and discomfort. To carry out simple transactions in those times, it was not uncommon for customers to plan out a full day for handling banking issues.

Now, customers can access most cash transactions and account services from the comfort of their abode using USSD channels and banking applications.

Entertainment

Perhaps the most significant effect of the internet in modern-day operations, the world has entertainment mediums explode in every clime. New age entertainment like game-streaming, social networking, on-demand video, and film curation platforms have taken the world by storm.

The traditional game console has moved from regular single-player or local multiplayer-level functionality to gamers having the opportunity to compete with other video game players globally in real time.

Independent creators have now, more than ever, been able to leverage platforms like YouTube for monetisation of their content, allowing an average person to kickstart a career in entertainment from almost nothing and end up earning millions. In 2021, YouTube claimed to have paid out over $30bn to its community of over 2 million creators over the last three years.

The era of streaming was spearheaded by internet adoption.

Film

The internet has also heavily affected film production, with many creators needing a little more than their smartphones to shoot videos, edit them, and circulate them. This vastly streamlined the traditional film production and distribution process, leading many independent filmmakers to no longer use age-old methods. Collaboration is also made more accessible via the internet, and content creators worldwide have numerous platforms where they can rub their minds together and create projects without even meeting physically.

Movie viewing itself has also been disrupted by the internet, with many streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Showmax giving users access to thousands of curated movies and television shows on demand.

Music

Many who were born before the advent of the 21st century would definitely remember the use of Compact Disks, audiotapes and other storage devices in keeping and sharing music. Artists recorded the success of their album’s through record sales – vinyl, CD or otherwise – instead of using the streaming quotients provided by many services today.

Naturally, the music industry has, like the film industry, suffered from relentless piracy from faceless, independent platforms seeking to democratise access to copyrighted works.

But now, artists have access to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Boomplay, which pay remuneration to musicians every time their songs are played. This is considerably better for artists in the long run, as most artists previously had to rely on one-time sales of albums alone to monetise their work.

Also, the internet has made it easier for individuals to kickstart careers in the music industry from almost nothing. As opposed to artistes looking for record labels to help them record and distribute music, many music production tools are available for download on the internet for free or cheap.

Religion

Religion has also surprisingly been disrupted by the internet, with many members of the pious population making use of internet solutions in daily devotions and worship sessions.

Worship houses use internet-enabled devices during church services to access holy text, follow teaching sessions and record lessons.

The use of internet-based solutions has also been observed in the payment of monetary obligations in religious institutions.

One particularly glaring effect of the internet on religion was made apparent during the coronavirus pandemic. Many devout worshipers had to steer clear of public gatherings in adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. The faithful took to the use of streaming technology to connect to live services on worship days.

Retail shopping

More people are making use of the internet to purchase goods and services. According to Statistica, over 2 billion people purchased goods and services from online retail stores in 2020. The statistics aggregation site put the figure of sales at $4.2trn for the same year.

On the internet today, thousands are daily taking to social media platforms to offer goods and services for purchase. The ease of browsing through thousands of products, comparing them, ordering and having a package delivered all with swipes of a finger against a glass slab has made online shopping one of the biggest use cases of the internet in almost every country globally.

Workplaces

The internet has completely revolutionised the field of office work. Workers in most corporate institutions have enjoyed using internet-based solutions for collaboration, information dissemination and more.

Over the past year, many corporations have reviewed the necessity of a 5-day physical workday week since working from home has been such a success.

Many in the labour force are also opting for freelance careers in droves, with many estimates projecting an expected steady increase in the number of persons seeking to transition fully to a freelance career.

The popularity of remote work in today’s world could mean that fewer companies require physical workspaces to run business operations, leaving many office spaces vacant and under-utilised. This could spell doom for cleaners, office clerks and other members of staff who were explicitly employed to maintain physical office environments.