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10 questions you need to ask about the future of digital

Clash Royale has been downloaded by some 75 million people, and many of us are addicted to continuously opening the “chests” that hold free cards that give us extra characters and power. If you are not always opening a chest (they take either three, eight or 12 hours to open) then you are wasting precious time, and the game will not work on your behalf while you are doing other things.
10 questions you need to ask about the future of digital

So, how do you get a chest in Clash Royale? Well, you need to beat a real opponent among the other 74,999,999 players out there.

So, imagine the scenario in the attached screenshot: after dominating a game, I was moving in to finish off the opponent. But just at the critical moment, I got the red “no network connectivity” warning sign. So I sat and waited… and waited.

Network disconnect spells disaster in Clash Royale

The game designers have implemented a particularly cruel feature: when you regain network connectivity, the game shows you what happened while you were disconnected – on a fast forward playback display. And so, I watched helplessly as my offense was wiped out, and my castles were then destroyed before my eyes as I was unable to defend them. I’d lost the game. I was devastated.

But then I thought, “Thank goodness that wasn’t my car!”

With Clash Royale, I can always play another game. But it would be altogether different if I were to lose network connectivity in a self-driving car (which I may even have forgotten how to drive myself).

A new approach to networking, compute and storage

This is why we need a new approach to networking, compute and storage. I’m not suggesting that cars will only be designed to work if they have network connectivity or that my concern is totally realistic, as I’m sure cars will have many safe modes. Nevertheless, they will need to work as they have been designed to, which illustrates my key point with Clash Royale and my immediate emotion.

Read about how Intel’s latest platform release is key to the future of cloud infrastructure

The game needs to work in a certain way and if it doesn’t, the results are “catastrophic” – because in the gaming world, no game designer can afford a bad game experience. However, the stakes will be exponentially greater in the future, as no society will be able to afford a rogue train, bus or car, an out of control power station or a pacemaker that chooses to obey somebody else… In such cases, the results really would be catastrophic.

This is why we need a totally new approach. Ericsson does not have all the answers, but we do feel we have the right questions. Collective answers need to come from a number of people and organizations with different roles – from industries, governments and technologists. We have seen a similar situation before: with the advent of mobile communication. And communication bears many similarities to data: the fuel behind all connected devices. Both communication and data need to be understood in real time and must be secure and trusted. It also has to be possible to share and interoperate them across very difference cultures and governance structures.

It is hard to imagine how to design such a system, but that is exactly what exists in the world of mobile communications, where people from any country (except one: North Korea) can call anyone in another country, without breaking the law by doing so. So, I would much prefer my future car to work more like my automated phone than the manual laptop I have today.

Not all the questions that require answers have to do with technology, but technology is the enabler that makes all this possible.

How do we define the future of digital?

Here are some of the most important questions – the 10 steps to digital enlightenment:

  1. What are the business reasons driving a “need for change”?
  2. What are the defining aspects of the system that will be needed in the future?
  3. Which companies are collaborating and how are they working?
  4. Which technologies are required to meet future needs?
  5. How can different performance levels be guaranteed to meet different needs while enabling the required agility to create?
  6. Who are the key partners that are also building and participating in the next generation infrastructure approach?
  7. How can the systems be designed in a way that that facilitates ever increasing financial gain?
  8. How can real-time data governance be implemented?
  9. How is data privacy handled?
  10. How are data security and data discrimination handled? (For the best introduction to this discussion, read 3 Massive Big Data Problems Everyone Should Know About – Bernard Marr, Forbes.)

How comfortable do you feel answering these questions? Which others are missing?

If you'd like to discuss these questions further, just get in touch with me via Twitter, LinkedIn, or the comments field below.

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