5 Digital Transformation Trends to Leverage This Year

by April 19, 2016 0 comments

The times have truly changed, with so many successful examples of digitally led organizations showing traditional businesses how to truly leverage digital technologies. There’s an interesting observation doing rounds on various social media sites, that the world’s largest taxi service, Uber, owns no taxis; the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no real estate; the largest phone company, Skype, owns no telecom infrastructure; the world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, has no inventory; the most popular media owner, Facebook creates no content; and the world’s largest movie house, Netflix owns no cinemas!

These companies don’t need any introduction. We use their (and many others like them) services regularly. They’ve clearly proven how to do business digital successfully, by using all the hot technologies we have been talking of over the past few years—social media, mobility, analytics, cloud computing, and IoT.

The learning here is that today, everyone has access to affordable technology. Small organizations can make it big if they have a compelling business idea, while large organizations need to put a digital transformation strategy in place (if not done already), and then start leveraging digital technologies.

Here are a few noteworthy developments in these digital technologies to be aware of:

Mobile payments and on-demand services: This one technology dominates all others, thanks to its spread. Several key trends in mobility are picking up this year, especially mobile payments and on-demand services. You could today for instance, order grocery by taking a snap of your list and sending it by WhatsApp to a vendor. Now that’s really on-demand! Likewise, you could ask for medical advice from your doctor, order popcorn in a movie theatre, ask for a plumber or electrician, and so on. Increasingly, payments are shifting on the mobile, thanks to all the new age FinTech companies. It’s a trend definitely worth watching.

Rise of IoT and Sensors: This is another tech to watch out for. According to Gartner, there will be 6.4 billion connected things in 2016, with 5.5 million new ones getting connected every day. These will get into just about every object you can think of, including what you wear, even clothes! Imagine going to a store with payment enabled wearable devices. Companies like MasterCard and Visa have already demonstrated this and are making every gadget, wearable, and accessory payment enabled.  According to research firm Tractica, there will be $501 billion of wearable payment transactions by 2020. You’ll have to see how it impacts your industry. If you’re from banking or retail, you’ll have to integrate these payment methods. Google Pay and Apple Pay have already tied up with MasterCard and Visa programs for enabling payments through various devices. Wearable electronics market is expected to reach USD 70 billion by 2025 from the current 20 USD billion, and healthcare will be the dominant sector, according to IDTechEx.

3D Printing: I covered why this technology is the future of manufacturing in my last column. In short, this technology has the potential to allow every company to do localized manufacturing. As a result, PWC estimates that 40% of air and shipping cargo is under threat, as manufacturers won’t need to import raw material from suppliers. They’ll 3D print everything instead. 3D bio-printing is a sub-trend that has the potential to reshape healthcare, while nano printing could fuel e-textiles. According to research firm Canalysis, 3D printing could become a $16.2 billion industry by 2018.

Intelligent Security and compliance solutions: Amidst all these technologies, security and compliance become critical, as in a connected world, the number of doors for security threats to come from will grow multi-fold. Companies need to be aware of this and the new-age security solutions to combat them. Next-Gen firewalls with layer 7 protection for instance, is one such solution.

Rise of Next-Gen Traffic: More mobile devices, IoT sensors, wearables, home security systems and appliances, vending machines, etc. will drive traditional networks to the breaking point. What will be required is to re-think network design and management strategies. Integration of WiFi with wired network with common management is one thing companies will have to do. Adoption of Software Defined Networking or SDN will become another necessity.

These are just a few key technologies and trends to watch this year, understand them ahead of time, and be more agile in leveraging them to set up prototypes of new solutions. Companies are already doing that and reaping benefits. Those who’re not are likely to get disrupted.

The impact of digital transformation is happening on every industry, so who knows, given the way things are moving, long before you realize it, the world’s largest banker may not have any branches, healthcare providers may not have any hospitals, and manufacturers may not have large factories.

The possibilities are endless, so take the risk before someone else does and disrupts your business!

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