I found the McKinsey articles regarding trends to be very insightful. Both the one describing the four fundamental disruptive forces, and the one describing the ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead are, in my opinion, a good representation of what’s going on in today’s world and aspects that businesses in all industries should be watching carefully when reviewing their strategies. An additional resource, that I usually consult when trying to look ahead to the horizon of emerging technologies, is Gartner’s Hype Cycle. The Hype Cycle provides a good representation of emerging technologies and some estimation of its evolution through time.
The key takeaways from the articles could be summarized as:
- We are in the midst of a revolution
- The pace of changes and their impact will be much faster than anything we have experienced before.
- Emerging economies will be a motor for growth
- Demographics will play a key role
- Technology and automation will be big and will impact jobs and ways of life
- Government and Education will be impacted and will need to react rapidly
- The mindset and way of thinking and tacking problems should be reset, and adopt the new paradigms when making decisions.
From the articles, there are two trends that I believe are impacting, and will continue to impact every industry and every aspect of our everyday life. These are IoT (Internet of Things) and big data/data analytics.
The automobile industry is one of these industries. IoT connected cars is transforming the industry in every aspect, from the way you connect to your car via smartphones to ultimately the advent of self-driving cars and trucks. Ancillary industries to the automobile industry will also suffer the impact of IoT. For example, the automobile insurance industry has already began using devices that can collect and report data about driving behavior that could affect insurance premiums. Self-driving cars and trucks will also revolutionize the car insurance concept and the way insurance companies operate. All these changes and impacts should already be taken into consideration in strategic discussions among these companies.
We can also see IoT impacting the Energy industry. As an example, in Florida the local utility company, Florida Power and Light (FPL), has already began installing smart meters on residential homes. These smart meters collect and report consumption and other data back to the company.
Connected homes is also already happening and is revolutionizing our everyday life. A few weeks ago, when shopping for a new oven range, I was amazed to see a model with WI-FI capabilities allowing to remotely control the range and eventually allow you to have your meal cooked and ready before you get home from work. Nest has also combined a camera with face recognition features to better fine tune notifications. Refrigerators will soon identify that you have run-off a certain product and will place a grocery’s order for you.
IoT is highly related to big data. All these sensors collect large amounts of data, data that could be used to analyze and identify patterns. All this new information, not available before, will impact decision making and future strategies as well. The world is changing and industries and strategic thinking will have to change as well to cope with the new paradigms.