Continuing thru 2014 and over the next 3-10 years – we may well see an extended period of hyper growth and unprecedented revenue creation in the information and communication technology (ICT) space. But unlike any other capital generating explosion we’ve seen since maybe the Industrial Revolution – this expansion will spill out of the ICT trough and flood the global landscape by several orders of magnitudes greater than any thing we have seen to date.
Noted author, futurist, inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil is quoted as saying “the 21st Century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate – about 1,000 times greater than the 20th Century.”
Kurzweil’s accuracy is uncanny and while controversial he has been rewarded for his writing, receiving the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990 award by the Association of American Publishers. He goes on to say in the award winning book “The Age of Intelligent Machines” (1990), that the Internet would become a reliable means of worldwide use, have explosive growth in users and content – be accessible by wireless devices/systems which would be widespread and practical for use by the 21st Century.
So what does our “Interconnectedness Future” (our term – which we claim) look like … envision the concentric circles of an expanding pool of water – created by the forceful injection of a cataclysmic rock, the resulting ripples radiating outward – illustrate the intersection of the “Internet of Things (IoT)”, Cisco terms it the “Internet of Everything (IoE)” an all inclusive device/process/people connectedness, also encompassing the Machine to Machine (M2M) segment.
This mashup is destined to be a global phenomenon that will leave no individual, company or nation untouched. Applications, use cases and services will be legendary and monetizable.
We’re seeing numbers projected from Cisco of 50 billion devices (things) connected by 2020 – over $14.4 trillion of value (net profit) at stake – which Cisco defines as “the potential bottom-line value that can be created, or that will migrate among private – sector companies and industries based on their ability to harness the IoE over the next decade”. Cisco has even created an IoE value index.
A recent Network World article says “the Internet of Things will continue to creep into consumers’ homes in 2014, but the real growth in the next year is likely to be in the enterprise”.
We believe our “Interconnectedness Future” will have four foundational, distinct and identifiable pillars – all interconnected & inter-reliant:
- The Data Acquisition Pillar – this is where the devices, processes and technologies are interconnected and transmit, receive and gather data. Companies, businesses and services landing here can and will in some cases operate in this pillar only. They will provide data to the other pillars as a service – with or without interpretation.
- The Information Extraction Pillar – where acquired data becomes intelligent information. Accessible, actionable, meaningful, interpreted, categorized, stored and secured. There will be a host of players here – big money will be made in this pillar. Governmental regulation will be required and privacy will be challenged. This could be the next battleground of the fight between the forces of good & evil, nation vs. nation …
- The Revenue Recognition Pillar – another sweet spot for the entrepreneurial types and problem solvers. Here is where corporate business challenges and consumer opportunities will be identified, solutions will be architected, companies will be birthed and perhaps the largest dollars will be made. This may be the widest ripple created and may take the most time to be realized/actualized, but money will be made for a long, long time in this pillar.
- The Relationship Sustainability Pillar – the lifetime value of a customer/consumer/client … will be the defining mission statement of those who play here. The harvest is repeat business, distinguishable by its customer-centric service approach with low cost of sale attributes and high value propositions. Probably highly automated and extremely profitable. Pillars 1-3 become one time only opportunities if this pillar is missing or is not handled properly. Outsourcing is a strong possibility here – which could signal an opportunity to return to American soil.
Conclusion – It is beyond the scope of this primer to “project or slot” companies into the areas we have architected. Although some companies that exist today, can obviously fit in one or more pillars. What’s more exciting are the companies, services, products and solutions that don’t exist yet – the new creations that will emerge and entrants that will come from all over the world.