There’s a debate raging in our office as to whether the new decade begins this year, 2020, or next, 2021. Regardless, we can all agree on the vast change in everyday technology since 2010.
It’s a great time to reflect on what we might see in the next ten years, using the massive rate of change over the last ten. Back in 2010, could we ever imagine the technology that we now take for-granted?
The key question we have to ask as we go through our annual planning exercise is “How are you taking advantage of the opportunities in your business to reach new markets, to grow, to streamline operations or to reduce risk?”. One thing is certain – if you aren’t working through this, your competitors are!
Smart devices, starting with iPads and moving through all sorts of tech to smart watches and even connect cars. Bluetooth is everywhere, and the first question we ask when we go somewhere new is no longer ‘where are the bathrooms?’, but rather ‘what’s the WiFi password?’ It’s even invading aircraft now, not only with WiFi onboard but also the way entertainment is delivered on some aircraft. (Personally, I download content in NetFlix to watch on flights). More online web searching activity occurs on a mobile device than a PC, and has done for years!
Internet of Things (IoT)
Closely related to mobility is the ability to use small mobile devices to capture data. Alarm sensors, cameras, remote monitoring devices that measure vast amounts of micro-data, or automate processes (like the ‘FastLane’ at some fuel stations or the streamlines security at international customs at the airport or my favourite, PayWave services)
Following on from the IoT advances, the massive amounts of data need to be analysed and used to learn, to discover trends and to make new discoveries to help guide your decision making
AI (or Machine Learning)
The automated tools that harness Big Data to stream line processes or add insight, make suggestions and help us connect. This manifests itself in all sorts of ways, from how search engines present data, how streaming media suggests content to you, or in voice and handwriting recognition that increase accessibility to technology.
Today you start your research online. Libraries and museums are digital-first. Any purchase decision starts with online searches to find reviews, or the best price. Today you wouldn’t book a hotel or a restaurant without checking it’s reviews online, and in the US, sites like ‘Glassdoor’ meant that potential recruits research employers before applying for jobs. You plan a journey with Google Maps, and big-data and AI combine to guide you around the best route, avoiding the worst traffic jams. My phone even tells me when I need to leave somewhere to get to my next appointment.
Because we know you can’t eat a meal without photographing it first or taking a photo of a cat. Maybe not all technology advancements are good! We’re certainly in danger of narrowing our balanced view of the world as we start to select echo-chambers for our sources of current events. Certainly, the way we consume content has changed, and keeps changing – Spotify, Netflix, Kindle are all household names today that you’d never heard of ten years ago.
All this has to be kept somewhere, accessible from anywhere. The world’s largest businesses today are the cloud businesses that sell you a subscription to hold and maintain your data, to help you sort and arrange your data and often the tools above to help you use your data – today we rely on Amazon, Microsoft and Google, often indirectly, for much of our lives – every transaction from buying tickets to an event, researching a topic, booking travel or even purchasing insurance will rely on one, or more, of these providers directly or indirectly. Often, they will use a service that uses a service that is based on one of these environments.
Digital (democratised) businesses
I can’t understand how businesses that don’t make money can be so valuable, but the impact on society of ‘sharing’ apps is unmistakable. Whether it’s the obvious ones like AirBnB or Uber, Tinder, or their competitors, there are new business models springing up all the time that challenge the establishment. The way we enable small businesses to connect with consumers in new and more direct ways through digital applications is transforming how we interact, and how we find new customers or partners.
With all these treasures available digitally, we’re more and more reliant on them, and the cyber-criminals know it and exploit it. We do our best to highlight the cyber threats through this newsletter, so readers are well-aware of the most common dangers.
None of the items noted above will surprise. You might even think of a few we’ve missed. To be fair, collating this list took about 10 minutes.
So what’s the big deal? It’s simple. Ten years ago, we didn’t do things this way. Today we do, and what’s more, we take it for-granted. It’s part of our everyday interaction with the world around us. What will the next ten years bring?
If you are wondering how your organisation will navigate these changes, then you need a FlightPlan. It helps you understand what technology is important to your organisation, what the risks are and where you priorities should be – to make a meaningful difference. Find out more about FlightPlan.