Institute of Directors Future of Technology Report


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Institute of Directors Future of Technology Report

  1. 1. Future of Technology
  2. 2. Future OfTechnology In March 2000, about 304 million, or 5 percent of the then global population had access to the internet. By June 2012, about 2.4 billion users were recorded, or 34.3 percent of the global population i . Concurrent with this growth, we have become more avid consumers of technology – both to that allied to the internet in some way, and stand alone devices. The social component of the technological revolution cannot be underestimated. Indeed, the plethora of communication methods that are now so widely available and accessible have helped redraw social norms. We rarely go more than 5 or 6 hours without some form of communication with those who are central to our lives, whether it be family or work colleagues ii . However 65 percent of the world isn’t even online yet. In essence, we are only at the beginning of a radical shift in society and in the technologies themselves, in terms of diffusion, utility and impactiii. The pace of change should not be underestimated. The ITU estimates that 2.7 billion people, or 39 percent of the world’s population (41 percent of households), will be using the internet by end 2013 iv . The evolution of technology has undoubtedly brought many benefits to consumers and companies, with radical redesigning of processes, work styles and industries not only possible, but probable. The capacity of humankind to adapt at an ever shortening interval to technology is also being tested. Forms of technological addiction have been documented in many countries and 84 percent worldwide say they couldn’t go a single day without their mobile device in their hand v . On a greater, meta-scale, there’... is not so much a concern about the nature of the technologies themselves, but rather about humans’ continuing ability to influence how they operate to the benefit of the organisation, its customers and other stakeholders,’ notes the Economist Intelligence Unit vi . An EIU report also suggested that nearly four in ten worry that ‘...their organisations will be unable to keep up with technology change and will lose their competitive edge.’ On the other hand technology has the potential to usher in a happier, more prosperous world. Ultimately, as stated by theorist Richard Florida ‘ won’t be technology that defines our future. It will be our ability to mold it. vii ’ What’s driving change Evolving Internet l Prosaic though it may now seem with the plethora of emerging technologies on the horizon, yet the internet is far from completing its evolution – both in terms of its reach and its inherent nature. l It has fast become a key platform for transacting business globally and has significantly reduced the ‘knowledge gap’ between organisations and the customers, as well as potential competitors. l It is estimated that by 2016 viii there will be 10 billion mobile internet devices in use globally by a forecast population of 7.3 billion. l Growth in mobile devices is expected to drive smartphone traffic by 2016 to 50 times the size it was in 2012. l There will be so much traffic generated between 2015 and 2016 by smartphones, tablets, and laptops that the amount of internet data movement added for that year alone will be three times the estimated size of the entire mobile internet in 2012. l For those without a robust internet presence – including accessible mobile sites, growth may be extremely hard to generate. Emerging technology Never before in history have we seen so much new technology emerging and maturing all at once. Innovative technology is redefining every industry at both strategic and operational levels. The impact of consumer technology combined with technology that is helping to redraw supply chains and optimise business procedures is redrawing the landscape at an ever faster rate. Against this backdrop of flux, four main pillars of tomorrow’s technological ecosystem stand out. The evolution of the internet, ‘social’, big data and an increasingly mobile digitalism will all help shape the contours of our future technology engagement. “The ITU estimates that 2.7 billion people, or 39 percent of the world’s population (41 percent of households), will be using the internet by end 2013” Where we are now Future OfTechnology 2
  3. 3. Future OfTechnology Social A lack of understanding, poorly designed campaigns and a hitherto dearth of ROI metrics have combined to create an image amongst some organisations that social simply isn’t worth it. Statistics seem to back up this ambivalence. l 70 percent of global brands don’t engage with consumers on social media. l One quarter of global companies go as far as closing their wall on Facebook to prevent fans from asking any questions at all ix . As can be seen, even in the narrowly defined sense of social being a marketing extension, many organisations are struggling to meaningfully engage with the medium. l ‘The more significant value proposition of social requires business transformation. l Maintaining a Facebook page and Twitter account is relatively straightforward and necessary, but it usually won’t generate significant growth, revenue, or profits by itself either. l The more profound and higher order aspects of social media including peer production of product development, customer care, and marketing require deeper rethinking of business processes x .’ l In other words, businesses need to become social, rather than just using social channels. l Becoming truly social may yield significant value. McKinsey estimates that widespread use of social technologies could yield $1.3 trillion per year of new value into the economy xi . l Two-thirds of that value would come from improved social collaboration within or between companies, which could translate into a 20 to 25 percent improvement in the productivity of knowledge workers. l 98 percent of the value for professional services could be derived from improved social collaboration within or between companies. ‘The industries with the highest percentage of interactions workers have the highest spread of profits per employee,’ notes Michael Chui, one of the authors of the report. l Forrester Research says the sales of software to run corporate social networks will grow 61 percent a year and be a $6.4 billion business by 2016 xii . l Despite this growth Gartner estimates that ‘… only 25 percent of businesses will routinely use social network analysis to improve performance and productivity through 2015 xiii .’ l The ROI of social technology becomes positive when 15 to 20 percent of workers are using it notes Harvard Business Review xiv . Mobile l Ciscoxv estimates that by 2016 there will be 10 billion mobile internet devices in use globally by a forecast population of 7.3 billion. l Growth in mobile devices is expected to drive smartphone traffic to 50 times the size it is in 2012 by 2016. l Mobile network capacity will need to increase 20 to 25 times to handle the growing load. l Chinese telecom, Huawei, predicts their traffic levels will rise 500-fold by 2020 xvi . l M-Commerce would appear to be one particularly fruitful area, with more than $10 billion forecast to be spent on non-digital goods via mobile phones in 2012, and $31 billion by 2016. The whole notion of mobile is set to change however, and this change has the potential to radically increase the type of numbers seen above. l In the future we will have screens not just in the palm of our hands, but all around us, according to Matias Duarte, Google’s Director of Android User Experience xvii . l He suggests that ‘ the future, we will look at the gestures of your entire body, facial expressions, arms, all of the fingers that you have, and you’re going to have screens not just in the palm of your hand, but all around you.’ l IDATE, a consultancy, believes that the number of people accessing the internet via “Growth in mobile devices is expected to drive smartphone traffic to 50 times the size it is in 2012 by 2016” Future OfTechnology 3
  4. 4. mobile devices will overtake the number using fixed-line connections in mid-2014 xviii . l The Economist suggests that the shift towards a more mobile internet could break down the assumption of the internet as ‘...a separate place, accessed through the portal of a PC screen, the internet is fast becoming an extra layer overlaid on reality, accessed by a device that is always with you (and may eventually be part of you). In the coming years that will be the most profound change of all. xix ’ l 1.3 billion people are forecast to work remotely using mobile technology by 2015. That’s 37 percent of the entire workforce xx . Big Data ‘I think creativity, especially business creativity, comes out of great insight. And obtaining a different level of insights (from data) will be one of the truly powerful opportunities of the next few years.’ Brian Millar, director of strategy, Sense Worldwide xxi l IDC xxii estimates that the amount of data managed by enterprises will grow by a factor of 50 percent over the next decade. 95 percent of this data is multi-structured in nature and is increasing at an exponential rate that far outpaces the growth of structured data. l Gartner is predicting total data growth of 800 percent to 2018 xxiii . l 80 percent of this data will be multistructured -emails, texts, pictures, log data, social media data, XML files, videos, audio. Integration will require increased collaboration within the business and between vendor and business. l From 130 billion gigabytes in 2005, the size of the digital universe could reach 40 trillion gigabytes by 2020 xxiv l Despite this increase in data, the number of people available to manage this growth is expected to increase 1.4 fold xxv . l A 2011 report from McKinsey & Company’s Business Technology Office predicted that demand for analytical talent in the U.S. would exceed supply by 50 to 60 percent by 2018. l The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyse big data and make decisions based on their findings. l The growth of internet connected devices and sensors, projected to reach 50 billion by 2020, will have a huge impact on availability of real-time information xxvi . l McKinsey xxvii identifies five broad ways in which big data can create value. l By making information transparent and usable at a much higher frequency. l Allowing organisations to collect more accurate and detailed performance information on everything from product inventories to sick days, and therefore expose variability and boost performance. l Allowing ever-narrower segmentation of customers. l Sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision-making. l Used to improve the development of the next generation of products and services. l It is also estimated that users of services enabled by personal-location data could capture $600 billion in consumer surplus alone thanks to big data. l The opportunities are so significant that the EIU suggests that ‘...for those who can master it, big data will become a business of its own xxviii .’ l New business models based on specialist analytics services are likely to emerge as a result. l Indeed Hal Varian, chief economist at Google believes that big data could revolutionise public-private partnerships. He states that ‘… nearly every large company has a real-time data warehouse and has more timely data on the economy than our government agencies. In the next decade we will see a public/private Future OfTechnology 4 “Sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision- making.”
  5. 5. partnership that allows the government to take advantage of some of these private- sector data stores. This is likely to lead to a better informed, more pro-active fiscal and monetary policy xxix .’ l The European Commission estimates that government data alone could add €40bn ($55bn) a year to the European economy by stimulating the growth of new information services xxx . l The sheer number of devices, the falling cost of sensors and evolution of the Internet of Things could bring up a scenario of ‘infinite data xxxi .’Our available computational power and budget for acquiring new data sources and analysing existing ones is far from infinite however. Rapid identification and acting upon the most relevant and significant features obtainable in a given set of data will become a core competency in many organisations. An example of how Big Data might empower a given organisation lies in the ability of HR to deliver a robust set of predictive analytics. It is possible that future data sets might be able to predict xxxii : l Future turnover within an organisation or even within certain geographies or departments of an organisation. l Which groups of employees or individual employees or job candidates are a higher than average ‘turnover’ risk. l Which candidates and new hires are likely to be ‘top performers’ based on their profile. l It could also predict which hiring channels are likely to yield the best results for a given organisation. As with other technologies that were supposed to empower the organisation and individual users, such as email, there is a need to implement such structures with care. Jake Porway, the founder of DataKind suggests that his ‘...biggest fear is that data science is used as a blunt tool and that people don’t understand the cultural implications of quantifying our world xxxiii .’ The Confluence of the Big Four The confluence of the evolving internet, mobile, social and big data ultimately means that ‘ the heart of this change, a business must make sure its processes connect people with information, enable greater collaboration and encourage knowledge sharing. Business leaders need to choose partners that will help them to implement the changes effectively over time. It is no longer viable to implement new technologies simply to benefit from short term efficiency gains xxxiv .’ Other emerging technology Gaming dynamics The potential for gaming dynamics, or gamification as some have termed it, to optimise business processes is being explored by many organisations, with many emerging uses. l Perhaps one of the most significant uses relates to training and work based learning. ‘Serious gaming simulations are the richest environments that you can imagine and provide all kinds of mechanisms for optimising learning,’ says Wim Westera, professor, Open Universiteit. l According to 47 percent of Media and Entertainment executives polled by McKinsey, gamification will be the best way to engage with consumers in by 2015. l Gartner suggests that 50 percent of companies involved in innovation and new product development will ‘gamify’ those processes by 2015 xxxv . l As a key tenet of the engagement economy, Deloitte states that ‘…gamification can provide a reason for a customer to visit a website or a store more often. It could give employees a new way to obtain the feedback they desire on job performance. It could connect customers in a way that makes them feel rewarded and respected for their opinions and support of your business or product xxxvi .’ l An estimated 70 percent of the top 2,000 public companies in the world will have at least one gamified application by 2014 xxxvii . Future OfTechnology 5 “According to 47 percent of Media and Entertainment executives polled by McKinsey, gamification will be the best way to engage with consumers in by 2015.”
  6. 6. Future OfTechnology 6 l For industries that have traditionally been slow on the uptake of newly available technology, the impact could be pronounced. For example, Gartner xxxviii believes that ‘...the application of game mechanics will give P&C and life insurers a new tool to change agent behaviours, create stronger partnerships with agents and generate new sales. Insurers that fail to develop competencies will struggle to compete in this new environment.’ NFC Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile payments are often grouped together by analysts, and given how the technology was first implemented in the early 2000’s this seems sensible. l More than 10 percent of mobile phone owners have already made payments using their phones, according to ComScore data xxxix . l According to Pew, NFC smartphone payments will overtake cash and credit card transactions by 2020 xl . l 65 percent of the Pew panel agree that NFC would be widespread by 2020. l 100 million NFC-enabled mobile devices were shipped in 2012 However, the technology has a wider utility and we may see implementations along other lines before we see a truly flourishing mobile payment system. l Forrester suggests that NFC won’t reach critical mass, or be used by 15 percent to 25 percent of the global population, until 2015- 2017. l There are, however, numerous areas in which NFC could be used by organisations in the interim, as noted by CIO magazine xli . l NFC is currently being tested by a variety of organisations who want to use smartphones as next-generation access cards. l The technology also holds countless opportunities for improving public services and transit systems. l The modern retail experience could be enhanced through the combination of wireless coupons, loyalty cards and payment options. l For marketing, NFC offers a way of quickly accessing NFC-enabled material, such as advertisements, and collect additional information on products or services. l Perhaps more pertinently for the majority of organisations, NFC can also be used as a short-range technology to exchange files and content between two or more devices. This functionality could engender easier collaboration in corporate environments. Cloud computing Although distinct from big data, there can little argument that they, together with mobile computing, display a significant symbiosis. Sanjay Poonen, writing in GigaOM (2013), believes that ‘...the interdependence of mobile, big data and cloud is undeniable, and will only multiply as data growth and mobile use continue. Yet our strategic thinking lags behind the evidence xlii .’ l Given the computing bandwidth and resource needed to accommodate and process big data, it could even be argued that the exponential growth in data is one of the first major pull factors of the cloud. l Synchronisation between devices gives rise to the notion of personal clouds. l An example of how the cloud aligns with other technologies is through data analytics. The cloud based business analytics market could be worth $16.52 billion by 2018, which is more than triple its 2013 size xliii . l The overall revenue from total sales of cloud computing is forecast to increase from around $20bn in 2012 to almost $150bn by 2020. This represents 8 percent of all corporate technology spend xliv . l Gartner’s Ed Anderson suggests growth may “65 percent of the Pew panel agree that NFC would be widespread by 2020.”
  7. 7. Future OfTechnology 7 be more dramatic. By 2016, he says that it’s expected to be a $207 billion industry xlv . l Reasons for such growth include the perception of increased business agility, vendor choice, and access to next-generation architectures xlvi . l Indeed, a 2012 ZdNet survey xlvii found that efficiency is the main driver of cloud adoption. l At 43 percent, backup and archiving was the number one use case, followed by: l Business continuity (25 percent), l Collaboration tools (22 percent) and; l Big data processing (19 percent). l Customised clouds, integrated hybrid clouds and on-premise cloud installations could all continue grow in significance as cloud adoption continues. The benefits of the cloud may also diffuse more generally, and accrue to functions beyond those which it was implemented in the hope of alleviating stresses and inefficiencies. l A 2012 Microsoft-funded IDC study shows businesses that move to the cloud are freeing up time and money to invest in innovation and job creation. l It predicts that cloud computing will create nearly 14 million new jobs between 2011 and 2015 and that by as early as 2015, business revenues from IT innovation enabled by the cloud could reach $1.1 trillion a year xlviii . l It is estimated that by 2020, one third of all data will live in or pass through the cloud xlix . l Accenture suggests that the cloud ‘...supports operational and technological innovation by moving an organisation more briskly through the experimental or prototyping. In a cloud model, companies acquire processing, storage or services when they need them, then can quickly decommission those resources when they are not needed. Such a model supports ‘seed and grow’ activities and faster prototyping of ideas l .’ Consumerisation of IT l One of the most significant technological trends of our time results from the mass adoption of consumer IT in our daily lives. l This trend is as socially driven in its nature as much as it is technological. l The emergent Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement demonstrates the interplay between the cloud and mobile technologies. l Forward thinking organisations are taking advantage of this synchronicity and defining strategies for it. l In 2010, Gartner claimed that consumerisation of IT would be the most significant trend affecting IT during the next ten years li . l Easy to use, accessible, and pervasive technology has the ability to enable truly flexible working and new configurations of employees as well as enabling (and perhaps necessitating) new forms of operating and business models. l Employees will increasingly seek solutions that work for them rather than ensure their work and processes conform to technologically bound rules. l Technology (info, cogno, bio, nano) will continue to introduce changes in personal capacity and lifestyles, while ICT will underpin much of society as well as commerce lii . l Depending on the framework and strategic alignment of an organisation, BYOD has the potential of reducing organisational complexity. Conversely, it also complicates issues surrounding privacy and security of information. l As a result, consumerisation of IT ‘...requires a strategic approach that reduces security risks, financial exposure, and management chaos liii .’ l As recently as 2001, technology spending outside the IT budget averaged 20 percent liv . l PwC estimates that somewhere between 15 percent up to 30 percent of IT spending now occurs outside the standard consolidated “The emergent BringYour Own Device (BYOD) movement demonstrates the interplay between the cloud and mobile technologies.”
  8. 8. Future OfTechnology 8 budget of the IT department lv . l 40 percent of devices used to access business applications in August 2011 were personally owned lvi . l By 2020, the total technology spend outside the consolidated IT department could reach 90 percent lvii . The cultural and organisational implications of this are significant, as JP Rangaswami, chief scientist at BT Group suggests, ‘...the enterprise has to learn to design for loss of control lviii .’ There is emerging evidence of this happening. l 25 percent of enterprises are forecast to use corporate app stores by 2017 lix . l 50 percent of businesses will have their own app stores by 2020 lx . l Whilst permitting multiple device access, these hubs will provide companies with greater control over the software their staff use. l By 2016, more than 50 percent of mobile apps deployed will be hybrid lxi . Organisations are increasingly realising that BYOD is their employees’ way of using technology more efficiently, and that they need to support multiple platforms as the BYOD trend gains momentum. l By 2015 mobile app development projects are forecast to outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1 lxii . 3D Printing 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is an object creation technology where the shape of the objects are formed through a process of building up layers of material until all of the details are in place. 3D printing is estimated to grow to a $3 billion industry by 2018. Its longer term growth is more contentious, with advocates seeing it as a paradigm changing technology whilst others claim its impact will remain localised. ‘Some people think additive manufacturing will overturn many of the economics of production because it pays no heed to unit labour costs or traditional economies of scale. Designs can be quickly changed, so the technology enables flexible production and mass customisation,’ notes the Economist lxiii Certainly as the technology evolves, so does its scope and possible impact. l Sainsbury’s IT department is currently preparing its strategy for 3D printing, which it predicts will make a radical change to the supermarket business lxiv . l Sainsbury’s IT director, Rob Fraser, suggests that he is ‘…prepar(ing) for the fact that consumers may soon not want to buy pre- packaged iPhone cases of the shelf, but build and design their own.’ l Ford Motor now puts 3D printers at workstations for its engineers. Furthermore, the car company plans to put the smaller MakerBot replicators at every engineer’s desk in the coming months lxv . Chris Dibona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google states that ‘…you’d better see 3D printer as China on your desk lxvi .’ Indeed the manufacturing, as opposed to prototyping, capacity looks set to grow. l Wohlers Associates states that more than 20 percent of the output of 3D printers is now final products rather than prototypes (2012) lxvii . l It predicts this figure will rise to 50 percent by 2020. l The price of 3D printers could fall to €300 by 2015. l Beyond 2018 it is possible that we could print certain metals or replacement parts for use in the medical sector. l Airbus has announced plans for 3D printed commercial planes by 2050 lxviii . l Danish architects Eentileen have used a computer, a printer and 820 sheets of plywood to build a 125 square meter (1,345 square foot) ‘printable’ home in four weeks. The designers and fabricators are touting the process of mass-customising houses and responsibly producing them on site lxix . l It is possible that a construction boom, using these principles, will occur in the not too distant future. “The price of 3D printers could fall to €300 by 2015.”
  9. 9. Future OfTechnology 9 The future impact beyond strictly manufacturing industries will be uneven, but all industries will need to be aware of how the technology could impact the competitive landscape. l Marc Andreessen suggests that due to leverage, few retailers can survive a decline of 20 to 30 percent in revenues lxx . If this holds true then 3D printing could plausibly be the vector by which this scenario is manifested. l In November 2012 Dave Evans, Chief Futurist for computer giant Cisco, predicted that consumers would be able to download ‘recipes’ for 3D printed food products ‘roughly 15 years’ from now lxxi . This could help mitigate the entrance of contaminants into the final product. l Widespread use of 3D printers ‘...could signal a fundamental change in the distribution of physical goods, much as the development of the Web was a fundamental change in the delivery of digital content,’ says Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM lxxii . l Professor Neil Gershenfeld of MIT states that in the future ‘…digital fabrication will allow individuals to design and produce tangible objects on demand, wherever and whenever they need them lxxiii .’ l Professor Gershenfeld suggests 3D printing may already be passé. ‘The revolution is the ability to turn data into things and things into data.’ l Unlike 3-D printers today, these will be able to build complete functional systems at once, with no need for parts to be assembled. For example, today’s printers can print parts of a drone. Tomorrow’s, posits Professor Gershenfeld, could print the whole drone, ready to fly. l ‘Today’s digital manufacturing machines are still in their infancy, but tomorrow they could be used to make (almost) anything, anywhere. ‘ Augmented reality l Augmented Reality (AR) is defined by Frost & Sullivan as ‘... a real-time augmented view of the environment through digital data such as text, sound, graphics, video and navigation systems that increase users’ interactivity with the local environment lxxiv .’ l Current mediums include smartphones but bionic lenses and Google Glass type products are all emerging. l Semico forecasts that revenues related to this technology will approach $600 billion by 2016 lxxv . l Michell Prunty, Consumer Analyst at Semico lxxvi suggests that ‘...augmented reality isn’t just a new fad that will only impact marketing firms. It’s a new way to see and interact with technology that everyone should be aware of.’ l ‘There is going to be an increased need for new software platforms, video and audio processors, NAND and mobile DRAM. If you’re developing for the consumer or automotive industries, you must be involved with this market early on.’ l By 2020 103 million automobiles could contain AR technology. l Tomi Ahonen suggested in a TEDx presentation that by 2020 there will be one billion AR users lxxvii . l Other studies suggest that nearly three billion AR apps are expected to be downloaded by 2020 lxxviii . l AR is poised to radically redefine and even extend our business and mobility options, social interactions and experiences in the future. l If the noted projections above prove correct, this technology could shift human behaviour in quite profound ways. l ‘The ease of accessing a constant rich stream of data related to one’s immediate environment will change our relationship to technology and to each other lxxix .’ Virtual reality l Virtual reality (VR) is already established as an effective and widely implemented training tool on military bases, within architecture firms, and in medical schools. “Current mediums include smartphones but bionic lenses and Google Glass type products are all emerging.”
  10. 10. Future OfTechnology 10 l Academics have also begun to use it in a quest to solve some fundamental questions about the mind relating to perception. l It has been noted that VR headsets have been around for decades, but mass adoption has been hindered by their bulky size and cost. l More recent iterations such as the Oculus Rift is pioneering development of a potential whole new medium for the gaming industry lxxx . l Indeed, Valve’s Chet Faliszek believes that virtual reality could soon become a focus for the gaming industry lxxxi . l However important gaming is intrinsically (for fun) and with regards to simulation and training for a multitude of industries (serious gaming), this is only one example of the potential impact VR could have on human behaviour. Jeremy Bailenson is the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford lxxxii . His research goes beyond how we use VR to understand human functioning (as in a medical lab) to assess how VR could be used to induce change in human actions themselves. Research has shown that Americans, in common with many nationalities, save insufficiently for retirement, in part because they feel little connection to their future selves. Bailenson found, however, that college students who were introduced to avatars of themselves morphed to look like senior citizens were motivated to put aside twice as much money for retirement. In other studies out of Bailenson’s lab, subjects who were shown recognisable avatars of themselves exercising and rapidly losing weight later voluntarily exercised more; subjects who saw themselves being sedentary and steadily gaining weight were also motivated to hit the gym. Similarly studies show that subjects who cut down a tree in virtual reality - who felt the chainsaw buzz in their hands, watched the trunk fall, and felt the vibrations of its collapse on the forest floor - later used 20 percent fewer paper napkins. In one experiment conducted with another scholar, Sun Joo Anh, Bailenson explored what would happen if companies started grabbing images of consumers and incorporating them into tailored advertisements. ‘When you see yourself in advertising using a product you’ve never touched, and loving it - we call this ‘self- endorsing’ - does that make you like the product later on?,’ Bailenson asks. ‘We found the answer to be yes.’ Holograms l PFSK describes holograms as ‘...essentially recorded moving images that are etched into a medium with lasers split by mirrors, then projected onto a special transparent film angled such that it appears to the audience that the image is floating on its own, and creating the effect of a person standing in front of them lxxxiii .’ l Although highly visual, the true value perhaps lies in the technology as a communications medium. l The International Olympic Committee has already commissioned a report lxxxiv on how holograms of events could be projected from one stadium to another at the 2024 Olympic Games. l The report ‘...predict(s) that it will be possible to show holograms in a stadium within 10 to 15 years and the concept of a ‘live’ event being projected via holograms into other stadiums filled with spectators to be a realistic prediction.’ l According to the report, if a viewer is watching a running final at home, they will see a speedometer on the screen showing how fast the athletes are running. l Scientists at HP’s Large-Scale Integrated Photonics lab have demonstrated (March 2012) a cheap way to project colourful, no- glasses-required 3D images and video on small screens. l HP’s prototype works from a variety of angles, using so-called directional pixels that offer different views as you move. Project a globe on this screen, for example, and new continents will come into view as you circle it. It’s a full-motion hologram effect. “It has been noted thatVR headsets have been around for decades, but mass adoption has been hindered by their bulky size and cost.”
  11. 11. Future OfTechnology 11 l HP lab head Raymond Beausoleil, emphasizing that the technology is still in the prototype stage suggests that applications could be wide ranging. ‘We envision people using it for new graphical user interfaces, interactive visualizations, mapping, and pharmaceutical models lxxxv .’ l Research suggests that by 2025 ‘...holographic teleconferencing and virtual ‘dry runs’ of projects will consign old office templates to the dustbin lxxxvi .’ l ‘In their place, multiple surfaces in the home, or shared work hub, will be coated with digitally enabled smart paint that will project 3D avatars of colleagues at a single touch.’ Interfaces It has been remarked that the future is already here, but is not evenly distributed. One possible reading of this is that developments in the lab will take several years to hit commercial maturity. l The advent of graphene brings forth the premise of folding flexible screens on our devices lxxxvii . l The MIT Media Lab’s Recompose project is already looking at how a physical surface can change in response to gesture-based commands lxxxviii . l Daniel Burrus a leading futurist on tech trends and innovation suggests that such interfaces will appear on smartphones as a matter of course. ‘Your smartphone will have a 3D display and a 3D web browser, and you won’t need special glasses to view it. So instead of just viewing web pages on your smart phone, you’ll be able to go into environments (or stores or showrooms) and manoeuvre around in them, just as you do on devices like the Xbox lxxxix .’ l Mr Burrus also believes that some smartphones will be screen-less. Not only does it have utility in reducing the need for a battery, but advances in voice activation make it a potentially user friendlier interface. l With Apple’s Siri and Google Voice Actions and Voice Search, early versions of voice- controlled devices are already here. l The screen-less smartphone will be touch and voice activated, with a connection to a personalised ultra intelligent agent, able to verbally give you the information, such as turn-by-turn directions, reading your email to you and so on. l The repercussions of a screen-less smartphone would be considerable, especially for app developers xc . l Future smartphones may have the ability to be used in biometric security. l Future smartphones may also have the ability to ‘ with smart surfaces just by putting them beside each other. The smartphone will be able to connect with voice operated, touch screen devices like desktop computers, allowing you to control the device using your phone xci .’ Immersive technologies A panel representing Imperial College London, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Washington, and the UK government, concluded that by 2025, technology will allow us to conjure workspaces out of thin air by using interactive surfaces xcii . l Leah Buechley, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab suggests that within a decade or two, interfaces will be ubiquitous and increasingly immersive xciii . l One example is her team’s 2010 project, electronic wallpaper. The wallpaper’s electronic components are painted on, so they look and feel like wallpaper, but they are actually giant interactive screens. l Putting a hand on a papered wall will send a wireless signal to a computer, tablet or smartphone, which can then play bird sounds or dim or brighten lights on the wall. Indeed, our wired environment is set to become both more interactive and more immersive. IBM, in its annual 5 in 5 technology forecast, predicts that by 2018 we will see computers with xciv : “With Apple’s Siri and Google Voice Actions andVoice Search, early versions of voice- controlled devices are already here.”
  12. 12. Future OfTechnology 12 l A sense of touch l ‘Texture data fed into a machine’s piezoelectric drivers can re-create vibrations and temperature on a touch screen can simulate that feel.’ Some of this capability is available now in rudimentary form in computer games where the controller shakes to indicate an on-screen car collision. l A sense of contextual awareness l If a computer can instead really see and understand a given image for what it represents, it can accelerate the whole process of analysis, which could be of value to the medical industry, security and marketing. l Audible capabilities l Just as computers need to see images as whole entities, IBM thinks they also need to hear total sounds including ambient noise, words, or music to get the full story. ‘It’s not necessarily just hearing words, hearing is also background noise …If a cell phone caller is in a car with an engine running at 2,000 rpm, you might even be able to tell if the driver is stuck in traffic or moving smoothly,’ notes IBM. l Digitised taste buds l An understanding of the chemical elements of food could help people improve their health outlook by substituting in healthier options with similar flavour and texture profiles to popular but unhealthy foods. l A sense of smell l IBM believes it possible that computers will be able to tell from your breath your health situation, and whether, for example, you are likely to get a cold. Likewise, this technology could detect contaminants and toxins before they hit unacceptable levels, potentially reconfiguring elements of public health into prevention rather than cure. Robotics Robots have the curious distinction, along with flying cars, as being consigned to a ‘history of the future’ in many people’s imaginations. That is to say that they have remained, prediction after failed prediction as something for the future. Although our current reality may not match our preconceived ideas, the industry has been growing exponentially, ‘...with numerous endeavours focused on integrating robots into the home. Future robots will assist with chores, provide entertainment, enhance telepresence, become companions, and assist with health and elder care xcv .’ l Roboticist Hans Moravec believes that by mid-2020s, we will create humanoid robots that can express reasoning, emotion, and are eager to perform household tasks xcvi . l Experts predict computer power could match the ability of human brains by 2029; and then surpass us during the 2030s xcvii . l The South Korean Ministry of Information and Communication has predicted that every household will have a robot by 2020 xcviii . l According to the U.S. Department of Labor, robotics are the future, and will comprise 60 percent of all science, mathematics, and engineering jobs by 2018 xcix . l A review of news headlines from 2012 reveals editorials concerning a robot stand-up comedian, robot prison guards in South Korea, and even robot sex workers. These stories tend to suggest that robots are perhaps evolving into what we had originally conceived them asc. l During a TED conference, Baxter (a robot aimed to assist, rather than replace human workers) was cited as a leading indicator of the potential for machine learning to augment the human experience ci . l Launched in 2012 and priced at $22,000, Baxter can be trained to do assembly-line tasks without programming. It’s animated eyes reveal where its attention is focussed, so as not to surprise humans with its movement and it is also spatially aware cii . “Experts predict computer power could match the ability of human brains by 2029; and then surpass us during the 2030s xcvii .”
  13. 13. Batteries l Jeff Chamberlain of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research believes it may still be possible to double the amount of energy a regular lithium-ion battery of given weight can store, and also reduce its cost by 30-40 percent ciii . l McKinsey estimates that lithium-ion batteries might be competitive in electric cars (vs conventional internal-combustion engines) by 2020 civ . l Waste sulphur, common at oil sands extraction sites, is being transformed into lightweight plastic for use in electric batteries. The plastic created is used to manufacture lithium-sulphur (Li-S) batteries cv . l Li-S batteries are lighter than current lithium- ion batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles today making them an attractive option for the transportation industry to consider. l Prof Donald Sadoway, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been working on one technology designed to sequester electricity and then releasing it on demand (something the Grid does not do well). This technology is in the form of liquid metal batteries cvi . l A commercial prototype should be ready by 2014. l Liquid metal batteries could find uses within a variety of electricity markets. Grid storage could be to help make renewables such as wind, wave and solar power competitive with traditional energy sources. l The BBC reports that ‘...Sadoway’s group has also looked at one model in which liquid metal batteries are installed in the basements of skyscrapers in Manhattan. Experts estimate that within three years (by 2015), the ability to get electricity in Manhattan is going to be exceeded by demand from the islandcvii.’ l In addition to liquid metal, other battery technologies for grid-scale storage include redox flow, lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. What could be the impact Evolution of the internet Whilst an ‘end point’ for the ongoing evolution of the internet is impossible to predict, Cisco cviii (2013) proffers that ‘The Internet of Everything’, a term it uses to describe the confluence of people, processes, data and physical things, could be an intermediate platform. l Cisco believes the IoE could create $14.4 trillion of value for companies and industries over the next 10 years. l Even if this forecast proves to even only half accurate, the impact would still be profound. l $14.4 trillion represents 21 percent of aggregate growth in the profits of all the companies in the world. Challenges of technology for the organisation l McKinsey suggests that, as with earlier waves of IT innovation, it could take years for the benefits to be realised as management and organisational innovation must accompany technological innovation cix . l Bain acknowledges that many organisations possess ‘ IT environment that is a patchwork of legacy systems and ill-suited technologies.’ l It continues by noting that ‘ most companies, the pressure to create new IT- enabled functionality usually takes precedence over fixing what’s broken or underperforming.’ l ‘The perverse result of piling new capabilities on top of an increasingly rickety foundation is to add unnecessary complexity and drive up costs, making it harder for IT to serve even basic business requests in a timely manner.’ l As a result of this unnecessary complexity, 85 percent or more of total IT outlays are focused on maintaining existing systems, leaving just 15 percent for new initiatives. Future OfTechnology 13 “$14.4 trillion represents 21 percent of aggregate growth in the profits of all the companies in the world.”
  14. 14. Future OfTechnology 14 l There can be little doubt that such an approach not only makes work more difficult to complete effectively, but also constricts innovation and leaves value locked away and unrealised. l There also remains the possibility that a new big bang style implementation meant to rid the old complexity and replace with a single new version of the truth becomes increasingly alluring. l In some cases this could have a catastrophic effect. Bent Flyvbjerg and Alexander Budzier at the University of Oxford believe that a botched IT project will destroy a major corporation in the near future cx . l They suggest that calculating the risk associated with an IT project using the average cost overrun is like creating building standards using the average size of earthquakes in that both are bound to be inadequate. l ‘IT projects are now so big, and they touch so many aspects of an organization, that they pose a singular new risk….They have sunk whole corporations. Even cities and nations are in peril,’ state the academics. l IT problems with Hong Kong’s new airport in the late 1990s reportedly cost the local economy some $600 million. l They conclude that it’s only a matter of time before something much more dramatic occurs. ‘It will be no surprise if a large, established company fails in the coming years because of an out-of-control IT project. In fact, the data suggest that one or more will.’ l Perhaps the biggest area of concern lies between ‘...disconnected systems (for example, between front and back-office functions), and technologies evolving faster than the processes developed to use them cxi .’ l As a result of these technological changes, workforces will probably become far more dispersed. Workers will have diverse careers in many different locations, working for shorter periods on projects. l PwC even predicts that the number of host locations a company uses will increase 50% by 2020 cxii . Challenges of technology for individuals l 82 percent of respondents to an EIU survey cxiii suggest that the time they spend using e-mail has increased in the past three years, and over half say the increase has been substantial. l ‘While acknowledging the hugely beneficial effects technology has had on their employees’ productivity, efficiency and communication, little more than one-third say it’s freed up employees’ time to be more innovative.’ l ‘The concerns also extend to a broader plane: while eight in ten believe that human- technology interaction will prove hugely productive for society, about the same number also insist that it will also pose profound societal questions about their respective roles in the workplace.’ Ubiquity l John Villasenorcxiv, an electrical engineer at the University of California has studied the plummeting cost of computer data storage and concluded that ‘ will soon be technically feasible and affordable to record and store everything that can be recorded about what everyone in a country says or does.’ l Mr. Villasenor estimates that to store the audio from telephone calls made by an average person in the course of a year would require about 3.3 gigabytes and cost just 17 cents to store, a price that is expected to fall to 2 cents by 2015. l Storing video takes far more space, but the price is dropping steadily. l With costs dropping and data volumes increasing, implicit opportunities arise for organisations but also a significant challenge in organising sufficient analytical talent to extract value from this data and doing so in a cooperative way with consumers. l A pilot project by the Chinese municipality of Chongqing to blanket the city of 12 million with 500,000 video cameras currently costs $300 million in annual storage, but this price is forecast drop to $3 million by 2020 cxv . “IT problems with Hong Kong’s new airport in the late 1990s reportedly cost the local economy some $600 million.”
  15. 15. Future OfTechnology 15 Evolving role of IT l Gartner analyst Laura McLellan predicts that ‘ 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO cxvi .’ l The emergence of an increasingly democratised technology infrastructure is a direct response to technological maturity ‘...and the emergence of solutions designed for functional managers without IT dependencies cxvii .’ l ‘Today, non-IT people, including business executives and consumers, are either making decisions or involved in the decision-making process,’ says Didier Bonnet, senior vice president for Capgemini Consulting cxviii . l It is likely that increasing numbers of current IT roles, systems and services will migrate off- premises such as cloud service providers. l The demand for data analysts and their strategic use is likely to form the core future function of IT. Also likely to be important is the servicing of existing on-premise infrastructure and the strategic demarcation of core technological projects, which may in itself necessitate a new set of skills for the CIO and those immediately below in the organisation. A new business paradigm l PwC says the days of just ‘keeping up’ with advances in mobile technology are over for firms cxix . l As our environment becomes increasingly digital, and 50 billion devices are connected to the internet, billions of cognitive assistants will be collecting information, monitoring people’s behaviour and taking predictive actions based on their preferences cxx . Like never before there is an opportunity to make technology work for humans, although the danger remains, and is perhaps accentuated, that the reverse will be true. l McKinsey suggests that closely aligning technological choices with structural and organisational forms will have the greatest impact on the future of work. ‘The next leap forward in the productivity of knowledge workers will come from interactive technologies combined with complementary investments in process innovations and training. Strategic choices, such as whether to extend collaboration networks to customers and suppliers, will be important cxxi .’ l In essence ‘...the change will be more about the business model, and how technology is used to change an organisation and its interaction with customers, rather than some major technology change on its own cxxii .’ Jack Bergstrand, the founder of Brand Velocity( consultancy) and the former CIO of Coca-Cola Leadership l The Future of Work Research Consortium’s Lynda Gratton suggests that, somewhat paradoxically, the rise of technology will accentuate the human dimension of business. l She believes that full transparency and the revealing of information that is today considered sensitive is a logical progression of using the array of technologies open to organisations. l As a result ‘...there will be no place for leaders to hide, so their authenticity and capacity to be themselves will be crucial. This demand for authenticity is new, and our top leaders will need coaching to learn to be comfortable with being themselves cxxiii .’ The impact on the SME l Business insurers Hiscox reports that ‘...89 percent of SMEs have mastered the use of technology cxxiv .’ l However it found that, whether due to preference or capital constraints, only10 percent of SMEs were found to relish new technology and generally upgrade equipment as soon as it becomes available. l In an Australian survey conducted by Small Business Technology Institute (SBTI) and Small Business Technology Magazine, managers from more than 3,000 companies reported that after health care, managing the evolving technologies available is proving to be a major concern cxxv . “It is likely that increasing numbers of current IT roles, systems and services will migrate off-premises such as cloud service providers.”
  16. 16. Future OfTechnology 16 l The report also indicated that small businesses tend to allocate very limited human and financial resources and that small businesses approach IT support on a reactive basis and reply heavily on tactical support by product lenders. l The combination of falling costs and increasing democratisation of technology means that many small businesses have, for the first time, the opportunity to implement business technology and level the playing field with larger organisations. Benefits include: l Reducing business costs l Improving communication l Potential increase in business l Analysts have suggested that the Cloud is a great match for small business owners. ’Done right, it brings speed, convenience, ease of access, collaborative qualities, low costs, and scalability. Firms that are already 100% Cloud invested have a competitive advantage over their more traditional competitors cxxvi .’ l Mobile technologies, used correctly, hold the prospect of allowing small business owners to significantly streamline their work flow and work smarter. l SaaS sometimes referred to as on-demand software, is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the Cloud. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, with one of the biggest selling points being the reduction of necessary in- house IT costs. l Gartner estimates that SaaS revenue will be more than double its 2010 numbers by 2015 and will reach a projected $21.3 billion cxxvii . An interesting proposition for leveraging technology to redraw a shifting business landscape that favours SME’s is also emerging l Some 37 percent of UK SMEs ‘...believe that in 50 years, traditional business centres will disappear and advanced telepresence could replicate many of the benefits of walking into a traditional shop cxxviii .’ l ‘Indeed, robotics and augmented reality may open the possibility for hybrid High Streets, which exist in both physical and digital spaces simultaneously. l A small business operating without a fixed location could rent empty property on a street that it then occupies with virtual products and services. What does this mean for you Technology will enable and indeed enforce organisations to reassess their business models as well as initiate the appearance of truly radical technologically grounded organisations. The ubiquity and scope of emerging technologies will demand a greater attention to the strategic use of technologies in their implementation for employees, for and to customers and ultimately in how they align to the goals and visions of an organisation. l IT’s talent needs – especially relating to data analysis, need to be developed with a long term view and in collaboration with key players within the organisation. l Technology, in the abstract sense, is at the heart of complexity, but several developments hold the promise of significantly reducing it within organisations. l Technology will necessitate a shift in how we view work and will validate (and perhaps even demand) several alternative ways of working. l Data will enable ever greater micro segmentation of customers, increased personalisation for customers and a more effective search for new customers. l Data will have a transformational role to play within HR assuming its broad use is seen to benefit employees in their efforts to reach their goals, both professional and personal. l Radically and rapidly redrawing business “Gartner estimates that SaaS revenue will be more than double its 2010 numbers by 2015 and will reach a projected $21.3 billion cxxvii .”
  17. 17. Future OfTechnology 17 models, purpose and organisational structures on an ongoing basis will be possible for those with the greatest access to data, the ability to analyse it, and integrate the outcomes into actionable insights. l Several technologies, from social networks to data analytics promise to form the basic infrastructure on which successful future organisations are based. l Choosing the right technology at the right time will increasingly become a critical differentiator for organisations. Specifically, Forbes suggests the following possible impacts from implementing various technologies cxxix : l Leaders may profit from ubiquitous workplace data by opting to rebalance the work environment to support greater collaboration and informal knowledge flows. l Ambient technology and big data may enable the discovery of optimal, and perhaps even personalised, working patterns. l Using smart data analytics, digital screens and surfaces in the work environment will automatically display updates, goals and contextual information, whether it be in a meeting or in the middle of a project. l Social platforms could enable employees a real time feedback mechanism. Alternatively this may be gathered by their digital footprint, or behaviour or else their mobile devices. l Mobile devices will interact with our physical environments, allowing far greater collaboration and information capture for both managers and employees. l ‘Organisations will learn at a faster rate as social platforms will be querying and aggregating social information from ERP systems, CRM solutions, enterprise apps, and mobile devices to provide employees with relevant information.’ l Companies are beginning to understand the power to solve a variety of business problems by using gamification principles. l Technologies that automatically introduce employees to employees, partners and suppliers and help build relationships will appear. l The future workplace will feature flexible spaces. Such adaptive work spaces will adjust to its intended purpose. It should be noted, above all, that the key requirement for the successful implementation and realisation of these technologies and their benefits, flows from cultural and structural change within an organisation. What can you do about this today l Invest in researching emerging technologies – both those that impact internal operations and those that could impact and redraw the wider business environment. l Identify the gaps in your current IT and technology provision for both your employees and customers. How far from best practice are you, both within your industry and in relation to pacesetters in other industries? l Develop metrics to measure the impact of technology implementations. l Develop the capability of IT personnel (and even those who perform their roles but are external to the department) to enable strategic views and a greater sense of how, where, when and why certain technologies can be used and to what effect. l Develop a radar for scanning the wider external environment – including analyst reports, whitepapers and thought leadership pieces. Watch for so called ‘break’ technologies – ones that break supply chains and value networks in at least one industry. l Develop policies, frameworks and strategies for dealing with the four core technologies as well as BYOD and the cloud. l Integrate the goals and visions of IT with the greater organisational view. l Develop a culture open to new ideas, “The future workplace will feature flexible spaces. Such adaptive work spaces will adjust to its intended purpose.”
  18. 18. Future OfTechnology 18 practices and an organisation wide view of change. l Assess your value chain, and attempt to map it out. Harvard Business Review notes that ‘...your value chain is big and it’s complex. It’s been developed to satisfy your customers given the technological landscape of the day. But the technological landscape is constantly changing cxxx .’ l HBR also suggests that you ‘...outline, in detail, how you create and deliver the products and services your customers value. Know each step up the value chain distinctly and understand that the chain will have to evolve over time.’ l Lastly, be prepared to deal with the prospect of deciding how and when to disrupt your own business. New technologies will usher in successful new business models and backcasting from your envisaged future to the present may help in taking the first step. Questions l What is the state of your current technological infrastructure, or ecosystem? l Is it aligned and does it deliver results for your customers and employees? l Have you identified technological trends that may soon present challenges for your organisation? Conversely, have you explored how you could turn these challenges into opportunities? l Do you have policies for planning, software/systems acquisition, software/systems maintenance, disposal, systems management, data management, operations, support, monitoring and evaluation cxxxi ? l Is your organisation well versed in technology, especially at C-suite levels? l Does your organisation have an IT/Business aligned strategic plan? l Does IT have the potential or the current ability to act as a strategic partner? l What are the roadblocks in your organisation to successfully implementing technologies that may benefit you. l Do you have an agile organisational culture that can handle rapid change? References i Source: Internet World Stats, 2013 ii Source: Anson Alex, 2012 communications-good-bad-society/ iii Source: MIT Technology Review, 2013 mobile/ iv Source: International Telecommunication Union, 2013 v Source: NewYork Daily News, 2-12 style/addicted-phones-84-worldwide-couldn-single-day-mobile-device -hand-article-1.1137811 vi Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, management Thinking, 2013 s/EIU_Humans%20&%20machines_FINAL_WEB.pdf vii Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013 /138007/?cid=cr viii Source: Pew Internet, March 2012 Web/Overview.aspx ix Source: Heidi Cohen, 2012 one-thing-seventy-percent-of-brands-do-wrong-research/ x Source: ZdNet, October 2011 next-half-decade-mobile-social-cloud-consumerization-and-big-data/1 811 xi Source: McKinsey Global Institute pdf, July 2012, ‘The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies.’ xii Source: USA Today, May 2012 media-economy-companies/55029088/1 xiii Source: Computing, February 2010 “Develop policies, frameworks and strategies for dealing with the four core technologies as well as BYOD and the cloud.”
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