A fundamental shift – how technology is transforming industry
In a remarkably short time the internet has changed our world. Its impact has been more pervasive than that of electricity. The digital revolution has often been called the 3rd industrial revolution following previous ones driven by steam and electricity. While these earlier shifts were about creating efficiency and improvements in how products were manufactured, the ICT revolution is about a transformation of what is being processed. It’s redefining critical business assets, creating new economic models and transforming business in the process.
The ICT revolution has so far bred a vast number of new businesses that didn’t – and couldn’t – exist just a decade ago. Today’s innovative start-up companies and micro-multinationals – small companies that operate globally – are changing how we organize information, interact, learn, do business, and even how we think.
Right now, more or less all industrial systems are being “attacked” by new innovative companies that are based on technological developments and changes in end-user expectations and behavior. For example, in the banking industry, online consumer-payment products such as Square, enable merchants to accept payments — challenging traditional payment solutions. Contactless cards are already used in transport systems and are set to be introduced across retail as well. Transaction volumes are growing and merchants are happy about the speed and convenience.
The UK-based retailer Pret A Manger, for example, has seen a surge in the use of contactless cards and may account for up to 20 percent of all their transactions. New players are entering the financial ecosystem, increasing the pressure on traditional players. We all know about the success that mobile money services such M-Pesa have seen in Africa. The big picture here is about speed, simplicity, convenience and a changed ecosystem with radically new players entering the value system.
Development in ICT is enabling totally new processes and solutions like self-driving cars – something that was more or less technically impossible only 10 years ago. But with accurate data, powerful sensors and massive processing capacity, it’s now possible. Now a majority of car manufacturers are developing and testing self-driving cars. Five years ago, which car manufacturer could predict that Google would be a potential competitor or partner?
Internet technology is now ready to sweep through the industrial economy in much the same way that it transformed media, communications and advertising over the past decade. The business world is changing radically requiring its members to rethink processes, core assets and who their competition is; because when machines get connected the only limit is our imagination. The ICT revolution is transforming traditional industries, creating disruption and big changes in established ecosystems.
We are living in exciting times for sure.