The number of mobiles will exceed human beings by 2012

The machines are taking over: expert predicts that by the end of 2012 there will be more mobile devices in use globally than people.

The current global population is currently around 7 billion, but according to Dr Mike Short, the uptake of mobile devices will pass that mark during the course of next year. He also predicts that China and India will each have more than 1 billion mobile subscriptions during the first half of 2012.

The new president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - Europe’s largest professional society of engineers – who takes office today, made his assertion during his inaugural address titled ‘Digital century – the web is your oyster’.

“Right now there are more mobile phones than toothbrushes. Unlike toothbrushes, mobile phones and devices are wonderfully inclusive and with access to the internet they are empowering for billions of people – especially those in emerging nations who will access the internet for the first time through mobile,” said Dr Short.

For Dr Short, this is a welcome development that will bring benefits of shared innovation, connectivity, internet access and many new applications associated with people’s education, transport, and health needs. The accelerating use of machine-to-machine communications will also continue to propel this growth of services in cars, smart meters and smart cities.

Dr Short continued: “We are all innovators now in a digital world, thanks to the marriage between the two great innovation platforms of the last 20 years now coming together: internet and mobile. This combination will drive digital innovation everywhere as these technologies become ever more pervasive and useful to all people."

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