The 10 Social and Tech Trends That Could Shape The Next Decade
A decade ago the idea of driverless fully electric cars, digital currencies and deep sea mining seemed like science fiction. It is testament to the rapid pace of social, economic and technological change that these concepts no longer seem impossible with Bitcoin trading at values that are best described as outlandish and the UN giving licenses away for companies to mine the sea beds. As such, a revolution is under way, where gadgets, large and small, are changing our society. And this stuff is not make-believe any more. In less than a decade, many of these trends will be embedded in our daily lives.
These revolutionary changes equate to great opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, and they can prosper from it if they are the first to spot and adapt to these major global societal and transformative forces, which I call “Mega Trends.” Knowledge of these Mega Trends is only a first step towards understanding future opportunities. The “macro to micro” exercise of translating the macro (Mega Trends) to micro opportunities at industry, country or even personal level is when the rubber hits the road in benefiting from these trends. Here are the top 10 Mega Trends and their micro implications.
1. Connectivity and Convergence: By 2020, there will be over billion internet users, with over half of them accessing the internet over handheld tablet devices, and billion connected devices worldwide. This connectivity will spread to our daily lives bringing the three silos of work, home and our surrounding environment into one seamless experience, termed by Frost & Sullivan as “connected living.” Connected living will involve digital assistants that guide our everyday lives, music that seamlessly moves from our homes to cars as soon as we shut the door to our house to start our commute, as everything will sit in a cloud that we can access anywhere, anytime. A new range of technology-enabled services such as smart lighting, mobile working solutions, and smart governance will define and shape our everyday experiences.
This connectivity will push other sub trends – big data, for instance – to create market opportunities for new products and services; some are already here today: social sentiment analysis, open innovation, new insurance business models and micro-personalized marketing and medicines.
2. “Bricks and Clicks” will become the retailing norm of the future, with every retailer expected to have an online identity as well as a brick and mortar presence by 2020. Nearly 19 percent of global B2C retail will happen online, with online retail sales expected to reach $ trillion by 2025, resulting in the emergence of virtual stores, virtual hypermarkets, interactive stores, and “Click and Collect” retailing models. B2B e-Retailing which has lagged so far is now ready to take off and we will see more IPOs from e-Commerce companies than from brick stores. Even car companies will start offering digital urban stores and selling more cars online, perhaps more in the developing world as protective policies and lobbyists will hold back this market’s potential in some developed countries, as in the United States.
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