What's lurking on the horizon? What can businesses expect at a time when so much is in flux? I've gleaned some insight from unexpected, diverse sources recently.
I don't often experience déjà vu, and even more rarely does it occur in two different domains.
I recently read The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. In the book, Schwab writes:
This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.
And have you read Origin, the latest masterpiece from Dan Brown? When I did, it was kind of apocalyptic. In particular, this paragraph stood out:
Human beings are evolving into something different. We are becoming hybrid species -- a fusion of biology and technology. The same tool that live outside our bodies -- smartphones, hearing aids, reading glasses, most pharmaceuticals -- in fifty years will be incorporated in our bodies to such an extent that we will no longer be able to consider ourselves Homo Sapiens.
See what I mean by déjà vu? I can vouch; these quotes do the best job of paraphrasing what lurks on the horizon in terms of the socio-business environment. So what does that mean for us as professionals? How can we use this insight to become better service providers, better business people?
Today's digital landscape
There are several salient features of today's digital landscape that define the basic rules of business in the digital era:
Digital technology is widespread and spreading fast: Cross-border flows of digitally transmitted data accounted for one-third of the increase of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 and it is increasing, 2017 research found. This creates outsize influence for some nations and companies, altering the world order.
Digital players wield outsize market power: In 2017, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook were the five most valuable companies, far outpacing their brick-and-mortar brethren.
Digital technologies are poised to change the future of work: This is what often being produced as evidence as the "Second Machine Age," when businesses apply automation, big data and artificial intelligence to digital technologies and ultimately impact about half the world's economy.
This direction is characterized by speed and accuracy. In this age, many pundits predict customer experience management will be a game changer for a business -- no longer lingering on the periphery as it has done in the past.
Yin and yang of broadband
Broadband penetration is directly linked to each country's development. A 10% increase in broadband penetration increases that nation's per capita GDP by 1.38%, the World Bank's Economic Impact of Broadband report finds. Specifically, the paper finds, broadband has a "significant impact on growth and deserves a central role in country development and competitiveness strategies" for developing nations." The infrastructure also is vital to developed countries, too, for continued advances and success, the report says.
Having broadband is not enough, though. When you're talking about a broadband continuum based on speed, users can conduct only basic browsing and email at 1Mbit/s or lower rates. However, for high-end applications like virtual reality, people need speeds of about 1 Gbit/s to 10 Gbit/s, according to the World Bank Report.
By attaining high speeds some providers unfortunately believe they've attained their goal and now can overlook the importance of customers' experience management. What more can subscribers want, they may ask, now they can zip around the Internet using virtual and augmented reality, watching movies with no lag time and playing games with zero buffering? It is, however, imperative to remember that overall broadband performance is like yin and yang. It's a blend of technology and experience management.
It faces an uphill climb, but Viasat is exploring a plan to build 300 low-earth orbit satellites that could deliver low-latency broadband service and qualify for the US Rural Digital Opportunities Fund.
Over the next two years, approximately 60% of service providers (both large and small) will adopt virtualization on a wide scale across their networks, according to the latest survey report from Ovum. Why are providers making these moves? Is there an easy way to start?
Learn how and why service providers are using virtualization to transform their networks. This webinar will look at how providers are leveraging virtualization to create more flexible and agile networks while also providing a better customer experience. Expert speakers from netElastic and Heavy Reading will address the industry drivers for network virtualization, the benefits that can be realized, the challenges to face and the results of virtualization being achieved by providers today.
Key topics will include:
Current network infrastructure and the move to virtualization
Benefits and challenges of network virtualization
How providers can get started
Service provider success stories: the decision to virtualize, the solution, and results