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Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Digital 2.0 World: The Future Of Technology Nay Business

Listening to the podcast of a powerful panel on digital 2.0 in the world economic forum titled, the future of the technology sector, the panel chaired by Geoffrey Moore with participation by Bill Gates, John Chambers, Eric Schmidt & Niklaus Zinnstorm is a dream come true –perhaps the best panel that can ever be assembled. While we have earlier covered the big bang effect of digitization, the discussions in the WEF panel clearly took things to a different plane.
Geoff Moore set the framework for discussions on two fronts:
- Technology issues now transcend technology companies and are now nearly all pervasive across the industries & sectors.
- Gordon Moore’s law predicting technology capability improvements 10x to 100x improvements in about 5-7 years is probably losing what Geoffrey calls as its exploratory power whereas the impact of the internet is shifting( read my note on the impact on enterprise software )the focus towards service models – this means that Moore’s law is still relevant but more or equally powerful other forces are shaping the growth of the tech industry and by extension all industries & sectors.
What followed was one of the most illuminating discussions about the future/opportunities that technology would be creating for the business/society in general. Some of the points that came out in the discussions:
- Bill Gates who was invited first to talk, spoke about the almost near zero cost of computing, storage and bandwidth and admitted when asked about aligning Microsoft to the changing reality that catching up in some areas is also an important strategy that it follows while trying to create the future in the PC related arenas.
- John Chambers came with the notion that the shift now is from transactions to interactivity bringing about huge increase in productivity and means to reaching and delighting customers
- Eric Schmidt spoke about the how the various tech advances have really come together and created a perceptible critical mass – redefining rate of growth in driving new markets and new business segments. His point of increasing rate of adoption & the dawn of new service models creating new customers was quite insightful
- A point that Niklaus Zinnstorm built on – Skype has built up a customer base of 75 million in 3 ½ years & pointed out that ARPU costs are not relevant and the only the ecosystem matters more as the incremental cost of scaling up is virtually zero.
- The new metric now becomes the ratio of active users vs customers( right now it stands at single digit ) – this is applicable to Skype, Google & Microsoft as well.
- Eric Schmidt drove the points out the shift from technology enabling strategy to technology driving/determining strategy in the emerging world.
- As the internet becomes so ubiquitous and stable and with integration technologies getting simpler and open, small companies/startups anywhere in the world can focus on a chosen thing and create a huge impact – this is really a phenomenon that we shall see increasingly become significant in future. Talking of ubiquity of the internet, Gates added, "with ubiquitous connectivity “you can eventually even get rid of telephone numbers".
- The impact of all these in the business model changes across industries is what John Chambers highlighted, one that would be increasingly felt and amidst all these things what about the telco’s who have invested in the infrastructure wanting to get a share of the new pie – while John felt that net-net bandwidth shall become free and Bill spelt out the infrastructure players shall focus on new biz models centered around video rendering and related services opening up a new revenue stream. More is available in the podcast that includes Microsoft’s/Google’s digitization strategies.
- A lot more insightful, interesting and humorous discussions followed
In a nutshell the conclusions veered around:
- Free infrastructure- computing,storage & bandwidth
- More value shall be derived from IT enabling transactions to enabling interactions
- Digitization of all possible things, and make them available over the net – this would push for greater value creation through related services
In Dealing With Darwin, Geoff Moore outlined the need for companies to innovate in various phases of its evolution, here he has more or less set the tone for the need of the business ecosystem to focus on the need to innovate and adopt in its evolution as well. Clearly the vision, readiness, availability and early success /demonstrations are happening - the key would be to see how things rapidly/deeply/innovatively shape the various business around the world in the Digital 2.0 world.

Category :,, .

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