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Einstein said, 'Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal'.
Albert Einstein died in 1955, the year before the videocassette recorder was even invented.
While technology covers a plethora of tools, machines, techniques, crafts and systems. I wonder if even the smartest of cookies like Mr Einstein, would be as surprised as I am with the progression of digital technology, the associated hardware tools and marketing techniques that make up the world today, as we now know it.
It was only ten years, post Einstein, that Moore’s law was documented and the accuracy of Moore’s predictive observation is uncanny. Moore stated that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.
The law over time has been applied to the semiconductor industry, digital electronic devices, processing speed, memory capacity, pixels in digital cameras and most things digital.
The trend was predicted to continue for a decade or so. Nearly fifty years later, progression has not slowed, a single bit. In the modern world of saturated markets, technology progress is now like an axe in the hands of an army of narcissistic, pathological, psychopathic criminals.
Where for the first time the expectations are set in the consumer world and brought in to enterprise world, meaning that ‘consumerisation’ is driving change in the organization, and it’s happening faster than most can keep up with.
Contemporary organizations need to predict the future to gain market share and remain competitive, let alone to prosper over the long term. The expectation of a seamless, ubiquitous customer experience has forced us to become ever so connected; anytime - anywhere, instant scale, agile, automated, predictive, relationship based and technology as a service entities.
If executives of business, the CEOs, CIOs and CMOs haven’t changed their attitudes yesterday, then the ships they are in control of, are headed for the ocean floor, to become nothing but nutrition for the bottom feeders.
So what is happening in the future? Well I can’t tell you for your own industry vertical, but I can do my best to make some founded decisions on what is happening in my own as well as the digital landscape around it.
Most importantly I can share the underlining value that your prediction should be built on. Declarations made in advance are best created if you apply available technology to the methods of your organization, in order to solve a customer’s problem, improve a preexisting solution to a customer’s problem, achieve a customer’s goal or perform a specific function that satisfies a customer’s need.
Exponential improvement in each industry has dramatically enhanced the impact of digital technologies across the globe. The biggest consequence of such change is the remodeling of social sciences that go with it. The current digital environment is ripe with possibilities.
I work in the tyre industry, yeah boring black circles of rubber, the ultimate grudge purchase for a product that everyone who drives, unfortunately needs. So at the beginning of my marketing plan, at the start of each financial year I predict the tyre replacement market 10 years down the track.
The future of tyre replacement (shopping experience) 2020+
- Cars (onboard diagnostics) will alert you to tyre pressures, tread depth, wear and wheel balancing and then notify you when you have something that needs attention
- Car GPS or phone maps will inform you of the location of nearby Tyreright stores
- Your smartphone application will instantly log you in to your Tyreright retail account, review fitting times or available spare bays, give you all the contact details (if needed) and provide suggested actions to place an order, make a booking or request emergency assistance
- Driving into the service centre, the store man / woman (greeting you by name) will instantly know (even if you haven’t booked in) why you are here, what tyres are on your car, when you were last in, what alternative tyres are in stock and then on approach hand you your ‘extra hot skim cappuccino with one’, exactly how you like it.
- If you need new tyres and you requested them before approach, the same ones will be made available and be at your bay (bay number texted through) as you approach
- You will have them fitted and drive off within 15 minutes, through a mobile checkout; you will be billed (reward system and points deducted off the price) by email with an electronic receipt as you pull out of the drive (that is if you didn’t choose to swipe your mobile phone for payment)
- In store: With your phone, you can scan images and codes for tyre various options and receive instant reviews so you compare your own thoughts and peruse alternatives based on previous driving results such as; handling, wet weather, comfort, durability and fuel economy
- Smartphone enabled video product demonstrations can stream in real-time as requested
All of the above technology is practically available today; it’s just a matter of how much pressure the consumer puts on the industry to implement the infrastructure or which organisation rolls out the technology first to disrupt the market.
Now that I have predicted the future, there is one problem, pointed out by Alvin Toffler:
The future always arrives too fast and in the wrong order.
So how do we get from here to there?
You can go mad and waste vast tracts of money trying to build the perfect solution for that vision of the future. You may even get it all built and working perfectly, but even if you do as Alvin Toffler has stated, the future’s not going to work out like you always predict.
It’s going to be different; some of that technology won’t catch on. Some will be superseded and other new things will be invented.
But there is one theme that ties all of those ideas that we see in the future together and helps us draw a direct line from our present to the future that we want to create. And that is, making our customers’ lives easier.
As we move into an era of the Internet of things, wearable technology, the escalation of social recommendation, virtual currency, 3D printing, geo targeted services, big data analytics, accurate personalization and localization.
You have to predict the future and capitalize on opportunity, be prepared to fail, learn and respond. You do this by adopting a simple philosophy of consistently and rigorously asking yourselves, how does this make our customers’ lives easier?
Does anyone else attempt to predict his or her market? What underlining principles do you ensure are the ingredient for crystal gazing?