Those who are involved with technology beat the same drum on a daily basis. Technology is great, technology changed the world, the future is here; but are we really aware of how much technology has changed the world, and what will the future of this be?

To me, I only ever realise the true effects of technology when I look at what advancements will shape its future.


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Connectivity and important hogwash

One of the trends which has been threatening to make an impact for a while is the internet of things (IoT). We all know what this is, fridges that sense what temperature they need to produce depending on the environment that they are in, coffee machines that make coffee when your alarm clock goes off in the morning, those frightful moments when you turn to your smartphone to control the television because the dog has ate the remote. We experience the internet of things every day.

And yet, there are still a number of ways in which this can make an impact on society. but will its impact be meaningful? I recently read an article on Forbes.com which rightly points out that there are a number of companies who are rushing to get onto the IoT bandwagon, but there is very little collaboration to tie together all of the aspects of IoT into one seamless process.

There are tons of appliances that have smart capabilities, and there are a number of apps to optimise this, but there is precious little being done to marry the two.

It’s a bit like the whole app discussion when it was a trending subject in the industry. it probably went a bit like this:

We need an app.

Why?

Because it is essential to our digital strategy.

What is the strategy?

To improve business via our app.

So, we need an app.

Building the an app just for the sake of having one is kind of like owning a Porsche Cayenne without having any intention of taking it off-roading in Mozambique or Wilderness. What is the point? Apps and IoT are game changes if you have a specific purpose for them.

IoT has the ability to simplify our lives immeasurably, and the company that can streamline the process and make all the aspects of IoT to talk to each other will make major profits. You heard it here first.

A reality check

Speaking of apps, one of the biggest cashcows of 2016 had to be Pokemon GO. Building an app which made people interact with their own world through a virtual world was ingenious and you just know it was thought up by some Japanese guy drunk on a bottle and a half of warmed Sake.

But we digress. If anything, Pokemon GO showed us that the world is ready for augmented reality (AR). The whole surreal of living in one world while experiencing another is a reality and people will pay big money to engage with this.

Linked to this is virtual reality (VR). Google cottoned on to this a number of years ago with their Google Glass project, but couldn’t make the connection from vision to reality.

Perhaps a reason for this is that while the world is ready for VR and AR, they are not ready for the security aspects surrounding this. When Pokemon GO came out, people whose houses were located in the same place as Pokemon GO Gyms had creepo’s parked outside their houses, and in some cases these people had to deal with mouthy teenagers jumping their fences to battle with each other. If we can find a way to experience two worlds at the same time in the safest way, who knows where AR will take us.

I suspect the same thing occurred with Google Glass. Having text messages and emails appear on a lens of your glasses while driving or sitting at a lunch meeting across from your boss is intrusive to the point that it is just downright distracting. Apple and Samsung’s answer to this – while not VR in the true sense of the word – was more practicable. Smart watches are steps in the right direction, but all is not lost for Google; all that needs to be done is for Google to find a way to make Google Glass safer and possibly less intrusive.

Machine learning

This is an aspect which was first started by Google who placed adds on your computer browsing pages based on your search history. From humble beginnings, this has grown immeasurably to the point where Google Maps can now predict the route you will be driving home from work or from your home to work based on the time of day.

I spoke about this at length in January pointing out the value that Big Data will add to businesses. But are we truly aware of how this will evolve. Imagine having the ability to call Pizza Hut, stating your name (and only you name), and those two simple actions will result in the preparation of one large Margarita and one large Hawaiian pizza. For the consumer, it is the simplicity of not having to talk to a human who probably can’t understand you when you talk anyway. For the company, it is the ability to tailor make a product that specifically caters for a need that your client wants. It also gives you the opportunity to do what every business needs to aim for…upselling.

How is this done you may ask? Feel your pockets or look at your smartphone lying on your desk. Now is that the only smartphone you have, or do you have two? Is that the only smart device you have, or is there a tablet floating around somewhere? Research shows that by 2030, 500 billion devices and objects will be connected to the internet. If the global population grows to 8.5 billion by 2030 (UN predictions), it will mean that there will be about 60 devices per person that will have the ability to connect to the internet.

Doing business better

All of the above allow us to do business better. We can achieve this by sticking to principles that we may have forgotten about in the attempt to make our businesses fancier or seemingly more relevant.

  • Go back to basics. Think back to what inspired you to start your business. Some of you may have started it because you acquired a taste for Mercedes Benz’s or Aston Martins, but the majority of you started your business to change the world or make an impact. Think about it, don’t you think the idiots at Pokemon Go or Google Glass would fight each other to enter into a business partnership with a company that wants to improve their product and in essence change the world;
  • Focus on core capabilities. Very few companies are all things to all people. And in that negative comment comes the epiphany, there is a space in the world for companies that cannot fulfil the unreachable. Look at what your company can do and do it well;
  • Streamline processes. If you don’t need something, turf it out. You don’t need to do something or acquire something just because every other company is doing it. Keeping your company simple can translate into profits. Sometimes the bells and whistles just make noise and add little to no value; and
  • You are in the people business. Whether it is serving a client or engaging with your staff. You provide a product or service that caters for a demand that your client has. And you do it in the most pleasant and efficient way possible. Further, managers and owners of businesses need to remember that they are nothing without their staff. Some people may think that Sir Richard Branson is a self righteous git, but there is a reason that people call it the Virgin Empire rather than just a company. Branson knows how to look after his staff. Loyalty, be it from clients or staff is the heartbeat of any business, not technology.

If we can remember these things, and marry them with the advances in technology that I spoke about earlier in the post, success is guaranteed.

 

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