The past year marked the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Internet. It was back in 1969 when the first message was sent via ARPANET from the computer science laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to a second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). Four years later, Martin Cooper, a Motorola engineer, made the first handheld cellular mobile phone call. 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade and 20 years since the entire economy was changed by technology. The so-feared Millennium Bug should have been called the Technology Bug. After all, e-commerce, mobility, social media and the sharing economy have all created mega technology companies and changed the way we live. Today, there is virtually nothing you can’t do with an app (sorry, all 25 million of them) and imagining a world without Google, smart phones, social media, or Amazon, among others, is hard to do. Yet, all these advancements happened within the last two decades.
So, what will the next decade of technology bring? Undeniably, the pace of innovation and adoption of new technologies will continue to accelerate, creating demand for even newer technologies and giving birth to unicorn start-ups and companies that will continue to disrupt markets and sectors. But what can we really expect in the new decade – 10 years of innovation and technological disruption? For sure. But, for me, after much deliberation, conversations with clients, analysts and industry experts, it comes down to these two words: accelerated infoconnectivity.
Accelerated Infoconnectivity is what every human being and machine will experience in the next 10 years. Think about it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes information faster and smarter to learn our habits and help us; big data and analytics harnesses data for smarter business; IoT connects any object with an IP address to the Internet; Cloud technology allows you instant access to data anywhere/anytime; and 5G will provide constant connection at lightning speed. Device proliferation and smarter technology all merge to provide us with accelerated infoconnectivity.
Augmented reality, the interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, is another example of accelerated infoconnectivity. It allows us to see and receive information and data in real-time. Take other technology breakthroughs like autonomous vehicles or smarter energy grids. They have in common the ability to read, interact, exchange, and update us with data (infoconnectivity) in a fast, real-time mode (accelerated), ultimately allowing us or the machine we are driving to make intelligent decisions. This trend will only become more mainstream in the next decade.
Supporting this is a myriad of data points from the industry, but my favorites are three key statistics. First, today the global digital population is 4.5 billion out of a world population of 7.2 billion, so only 58% of the world is connected. By 2030, 90% of the world population will be connected, approximately 7.7 billion out of a forecast world population of 8.6 billion. As we near the World Economic Forum at Davos, it’s unsurprisingly that a key theme for this event focuses on the 3.6 billion young people below age 35. For this new generation, the world is changing faster than ever before, with accelerated infoconnectivity being the main driver. Secondly, the number of devices we own and use will continue to increase; the number of IoT devices is expected to increase to 125 billion by 2030, which will put about 15 connected devices into the hands of every consumer. Yep, you heard right: 15 devices per head!
Finally, it is a well-known statistic that 90% of the world’s data was generated over the last two years alone, but the big difference is that most of this information is now readily available, readily accessible in many instances in real-time from the device of your choice. As mankind continues to exponentially grow the amount of data created, we will undoubtedly be able to access it, store it, question it, stick it in clever algorithms and, most importantly, be connected to it at all times. This, after all, is accelerated infoconnectivity, a trend that will grow and define the next decade of technological evolution and innovation. Unsurprisingly, at H+K, we are experts at accelerated infoconnectivity.