As a CTO, I get asked a lot about what my ‘vision’ is for the future in technology in the sectors I operate in. where are we going, what will happen is all part of the magic sauce… I thought for once I would share a summary minus all the super secret research and details by which this is based on about where I think the technology sector is going and how a company in that sector would position itself to take advantage of those trends.
As an industry, where are we going?
How is the market going to transform itself over the next 5 years?
What do we need to do to position us to take advantage of the situation?
When trying to understand these trends, and develop corporate strategy to take advantage of these trends, one needs to work with numerous complex variables. To start with, what trends have led us (as an industry) to this point? Or the point which we want to aim for? Or caused us to make the decision to head down the path we have selected?
Computers and Moore’s law… first computers filled buildings, then only rooms, then desktops and now what took up a complex can be done on a computer no bigger than a watch. Moore’s law along with our usage of computers has increased. We have stretched the technology to heights that couldn’t have been dreamed of a 100 years ago. Computers are increasing in power now and as each new type, or form factor, raises; it is supplanted by the next. The desktop by the laptop by the slate by the phone by Google Glass? The trend is and has been faster, smaller, easier to use; along with that whole series of trends is the fact that, from an engineering standpoint, save AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) every programming thing that can be done has been done… now it’s about doing it better; how companies are learning to differentiate is by making their systems easier to use, simpler to understand, making bigger amounts of data do more, in ways that were cost prohibitive even 5 or 10 years ago, with the advent of the cloud; which is not so much some new technology but the acknowledgement of our mastery and automation of it in the data center. I’ve quoted at least 10 trends that are so obvious I’m comfortable assuming you know I am correct.
Now, to take these trends to the next level, to predict where this will lead 5 years out and how we can take advantage of it, is more an art than a science but we can extrapolate a few trends out to 5 years to see where things might be.
As we go to devices beyond the smartphone and Augmented Reality we can be certain that 5 years out is likely to continue to see more powerful devices about the same size but also devices like glass being common. The facts…
- 4 companies are releasing devices more immersive and more robust than Google Glass over the next year.
- Interfaces focused on simple and elegant and voice driven are becoming possible and easier.
- Computers passed the Turing test finally (not that this is really all you think it is)
- If it makes life easier it generally gets adopted if it hits the consumer market.
- While the earlier adopter crowd in technology is more than 10% of the consumer demographic, their ideas will become the dominate thought pattern; so technology will likely filter down to the rest of the consumer demographic.
- Intel, mid FY15, will introduce Kinect like technology so small it’s hidden in laptops in place of the camera. This same push includes wireless docking and charging of small slates that can replace phones and traditional slates like IPads with computers that can run high end software.
This means in 5 years you might not have a computer at all in the traditional sense; but a glass and something like a smart phone driving huge super thin screens and being your work computer and home computer. Instead of a phone, the masses will use ‘contact’ lenses and glass like devices. Computers will drive our cars or be in the process of it and data will be king.
How do we position ourselves to take advantage of the trends?
We (as a company) know more or less where the technology is going; barring the ending of civilization by some accident. What we can do, then, is to make these trends easier for people to adopt. Make them fun and make them (the trends) sexy. Do this:
- While Big Data is a buzzword, really making ‘big data’ easy and fun and useful will drive interest in whatever you’re doing; so make that thing easier for people to understand and use.
- Content is still king, but make it intuitive and don’t make people think.
- Make things visually appealing to stand out. It’s all about the end user experience.
- Focus on ‘Experience Focused Engineering”
- Be first to market in a new way.
- Adopt the latest and greatest at the consumer level and allow business to connect with that consumer demographic.
- Build relationships with your clients, at all levels. The next 5 years is about high touch and creative relationships.
- Enable more power in mobile devices for users to get the most out of their devices and technologies purchases.
From a positioning standpoint these steps will set you (as a company) at the edge of the ‘wave’ of change as a business and in the mind of the consumer.