Connected Intelligence Era: Golden Age of Mobile

By the end of 2014, there will be approximately two times the connected devices as there are humans on the planet. With a steady flow of sensors, gadgets, and tools, we can expect this number to keep climbing for the next few decades. The world that Mark Weiser envisioned back in 1991 is indeed coming true. The ubiquity of wireless network means that the benefits of mobility are become more pervasive than ever. We clearly need to keep working as an industry to get this basic tool in the hands of as many people as possible. However, we are clearly laying the foundations of the next technology evolution cycle that will have impact on the global economy even more than what the phones, smartphones, and tablets have had on how we work and play, how economic activity takes place, and how the global pulse ticks.

Mobile is the connective tissue of the global economy. The industry is going to be worth $1.7 trillion by the end of the year.[1] However, mobile’s impact is being felt far and wide. It is enabling new business models that are empowering startups to transform entrenched industries. Stodgy verticals like taxi, transportation, utility, and retail have become exciting again.

All of the above is going to be possible because of “connected intelligence” enabled by mobile and empowered by the data. With the power to rethink the environment around us, we will be able to personalize the daily flow of activities in the life an individual and the enterprise. The miniaturization of electronics, the ability to convert data into knowledge, and the pervasive nature of mobility is putting us at the dawn of the Connected Intelligence Era. There is evidence all around us that this is happening already.

Consumers spend is shifting in discernable ways that could have a lasting impact on the trillion dollar industries. Companies like Uber could render car ownership a thing of a past. Algorithms that process medical data could reduce the dependence on doctors and nurses for mundane tasks. The hospital itself will get transformed a medical data processing center vs. a treadmill of sick patients. Retailers can loose a substantial portion of the retail footprint and augment the shopping experience using virtual reality, data, and apps. Autonomous vehicles will be able to reduce injuries, death, and negative economic impact to the tune of a trillion dollars every year just in the US alone.

Mobile commerce is booming around the globe but especially in US and China – the G2 markets of the mobile industry. Digital only retailers are taking a large share of the mobile commerce revenue. If we compare the top 25 digital players with top 25 traditional retailers, the digital only players will have 75% share of the mobile commerce revenue. US and China combined will have 95% revenue amongst the top 25 retailers by revenue. Apple and Amazon combined will generate more mobile commerce revenue than the next 30 players combined. The number of retail players generating a billion or more mobile commerce revenue will jump from 5 to 8 in 2014.[2]

Similarly, we are making significant progress in other verticals like health and energy. The success and the speed of adoption will largely depend on how the industry comes together to knock off the hurdles that help invite other industries to mobile. Everyone, whether they are in retail, energy, transportation, manufacturing or education, is looking to improve their operations, better understanding of their ecosystem, supply chain, and customers, and put that intelligence back to work to drive real gains that move the financials.

The real test of any new technology cycle is the level of economic activity that takes place and the number of net jobs it can create to bring more citizens into the fold. Media and economists have been grappling with the question of the impact of automation on jobs. While there will be some turbulent times in the short-term, in the long-term, the opportunities will have a net-positive impact on society. However, a lot depends on how the policy makers, the corporations, and the individuals react to the opportunity and how fast.

The twelve thought-pieces in this book paint a picture of the evolving ecosystem. The authors are deeply involved in major initiatives that are changing our industry. We hope that you will find essays useful and inspiring in helping you transform your own strategy and place in the new technology cycle.