by Patrick Nelson
The combination of products with “built-in smart technology” with consumers’ expectations of a “best-in-class experience” means mundane, manually performed tasks will be replaced by new “exciting and indispensable services,” says Accenture innovation division Fjord in two reports. Fjord reckons we’re on the cusp of a new way of doing things. That includes the fact that user requirements will be addressed dynamically, contextually, and in real-time—more so than ever before.
A “vast network” will link the components, Fjord says on its website. The consultancy explains that a number of digital trends forecast that these “next generation” experiences will come to fruition. Those trends include that devices now listen and respond to the user. Fjord says it’s not just wearables and smartphones, either. Data streams are learning and “responding in real-time through intent-driven, increasingly effortless, ‘micromoments,'” it says in a report.
Digitization is “flattening” privilege, it says. People like that. Democratized luxury, such as personal driver services like Lyft and virtual assistants like Facebook M, are “elevating our standard of living” and bringing luxury to the everyman. And we want more of it. Also, newly “empowered consumers” are monitoring their own health through devices, as one example. Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer a “futuristic fantasy” but is close to becoming a mainstream tool for immersive learning and entertainment. Additionally, Fjord says that services that can anticipate needs by “suggesting options or automating low-maintenance decisions, such as found in Google Now.”
Now, you may well be thinking to yourself: Haven’t we been promised a better life through technology in the past? And, did it actually happen? Well, Fjord, lists the waves of technological progress that have led to this transformation to “responsive Living Services” that it says are now deliverable “at scale.” The report says the 1990’s brought us “early social media and the dawn of desktop web.” The second wave was the “mobile revolution” of the Naughties, with “mass smartphone penetration; app ecosystems; cloud storage; geo-location and real-time contextual services.” Then we see the 2010’s bringing these ‘Rise of Living‘ services, Fjord says, made up of connected environments and contextual data moving beyond IoT, with consumer expectations driving demand. For the first time, it’s all about to gel, Fjord thinks.
How it will eventually happen
Now, Fjord is talking about 2016 for its “exciting and indispensable services” deliverable. However, I’m going to argue that even if Fjord is off by a few years, by 2020 we are going to be seeing something close to what it’s talking about in these two reports. The reasons: Firstly, we’ll likely have 5G mobile wireless in 2020, and along with that will come significantly more bandwidth. That bandwidth will be needed to transmit and receive the massive amounts of data needed for true connected intelligence. Secondly, we may have quantum computing by then. Quantum computing, with its gate-driven processing, has seen recent advances, although it is still largely theoretical. Quantum computers could be a 100-million times speedier than conventional computers, an Extreme Tech article claims about Google’s version. This would enable faster algorithm writing and processing for more seamless digitization. And thirdly, we’ll likely see faster IoT chips that use less power than today’s. Combine that with new materials like highly conductive graphene, plus expected improvements in battery tech, and a major hindrance in the ‘sensors everywhere’ idea is removed. So, whether it’s in 2016 or 2020 and beyond, the digitization of everything will eventually happen.