When James Cameron released The Terminator in 1984, I was obsessed. It was in a sense a glimpse into our future. While we are not seeing giant robots running around trying to kill each other, machines are taking over our lives in more ways than we think.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the Internet of Things (IoT), has changed the way that we interact with our world. Because of this, it has also fundamentally changed the way that we are required to approach business.
We are now presented with the same conundrum. However, it is on a much larger scale. Digitisation is proving to be a major influencer in the industry and requires all of us to take a step back and ask: what does it mean for my business?
Trends we should know about
In order to answer this question, we need to establish what needs to be done to drive our business forward in order to remain relevant.
The one thing that is changing in the industry is that everybody is talking about Big Data. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world, and we need to see how we get the information from these devises and use them to our advantage. Sensors in these connected devises will determine how you interact with the world and can tell you a lot about your client’s habits.
Internet through things
The broad term to describe the devices described above is IoT. However, we need to stop referring to IoT and rather refer to the Internet Through Things because connectivity permeates everything we do in the world.
This is becoming possible through Artificial Intelligence which is taking over the world one small step at a time. By the end of the year, the United Arab Emirates will be launching passenger drones which will pick people up and transport them from one location to another.
Day to day jobs will be taken over by robots. Statistics show that by 2057, 47% of the jobs that are currently in the industry will not be available. This will possibly affect rules based jobs the most.
We need to start selling client experiences. Technology, through Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, are changing the game.
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input. Gamify your products and services to show clients what they want and sell products accordingly.
Virtual reality typically refers to computer technologies that uses virtual reality headsets to generate the realistic images. Again, gamify your product offering and sell accordingly.
Humans need to work alongside technology in order to make products and services creative enough to entice clients. It allows us to maximise our offerings and to explain complex things in simple ways.
The daily grind
The growth of technology has enabled criminals who find that they now have an easy and anonymous launch pad to commit crimes unseen and often unnoticed until it’s too late.
In 2015 alone, there were over 3930 incidents. In terms of protection against cyber crime, those preventing it need to be as busy – and sometimes busier – than those perpetrating the crimes. In terms of the establishment of legal frameworks to prevent these crimes, the US and UK are leaps ahead of the rest of the world.
The true cost of cyber crime impacts companies more than they realise. Business costs which are not immediately considered include reputational costs, day-to-day business costs, investigation costs, contractual costs, notification costs as well as regulatory and litigation costs.
A useful yardstick
One of the biggest things that cyber criminals target is sensitive client information. The protection of this information is central to any business and is protected by law in most global destinations.
The same will ring true for South Africa once the Protection of Private Information (POPI) Act is promulgated in its entirety. As of now, Pansy Tlakula has been appointed the regulator of the organisation that will enforce the POPI Act. She has in the past indicated that it would take two years from the time of her appointment to get all proper procedures in place, so we are looking at the full implementation of the Act at the end of 2018.
It is most likely that POPI will look similar to the UK Data Protection Act when it comes to best principles. This would not be a bad thing.
UK best practice principles point out that inventory of the collected information needs to be taken. Following this, risk assessment of the information needs to be conducted. Technological measures need to be implemented and employees need to be made aware of the sensitive nature of the information. The system administrator then needs to make sure that there is limited access and password protection and that audit logs to be put in place. This may seem like a very involved process, but it is necessary and has worked for Britain.
There is also a strong possibility that POPI will be guided by the Cyber Crimes Securities Bill.
This bill is extensive in nature and leaves perpetrators in no doubt about the seriousness of the offence that they committed.
Cybercrimes will be defined as, among other definitions, as :
Punitive measures for such offences are also significant. Measures include a fine and/or imprisonment of between 5 and 15 years.
Cyber offences will be defined as, among other definitions, as:
Punitive measures include fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.
The business response
While technology leads business, it falls on us – as business owners – to lead our clients. We need to get closer to our clients, so close that we will anticipate their need before they are even aware of it.
Humans are unpredictable by nature. What the Fourth Industrial Revolution has done is that it has provided business with predictive modelling (though IoT and Big Data) to gain key insights into our clients and their behaviour. It makes it possible to anticipate what our clients want or need and then act accordingly.