The internet of ‘we’: 5 digital trends that will impact your future

business ipads

business ipads

We live in the age of narcissism and social media’s only making it worse. That’s a fairly common sentiment among media pundits and one which, on the face of it, has plenty of evidence to back it up. After all, they’ll argue, there’s a reason “selfie” the Oxford Dictionaries Online word of the year in 2013. And think about how we tailor the content we put out on social media. It’s meant to portray the best possible version of ourselves rather than anything accurate. Thing is, that may all be about to change.

According to global management consulting company Accenture we’re about to enter the “We Economy” and are like to re-shape markets and change the way we work and live.

The basis for this assertion is a survey conducted by Accenture of more than 2 000 IT and business executives, which found that four out of five respondents believe that in the future, industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems.

One example of this new inter-connectedness is Home Depot, which is working with manufacturers to ensure that all of the connected home products it sells are compatible with the Wink connected home system — thereby creating its own connected home ecosystem and developing potential new services and unique experiences for Wink customers.

Philips is taking a similar approach, teaming with Salesforce to build a platform to reshape and optimize the way healthcare is delivered.

Read more: 6 predictions for the future of tech from Google exec Eric Schmidt

Accenture has identified five trends which will drive this new interconnected economy.

1. The Internet of Me: Our highly personalized world

As everyday objects are going online, so too are experiences — creating an abundance of digital channels that reach deep into every aspect of individuals’ lives. Companies are using wearables (cited by 62% of survey respondents), connected TVs (68%), connected cars (59%) and smart objects (64%) to interact with their customers. Forward-thinking businesses are also changing the way they build new applications, products and services, and reaping benefits as a result.

To gain control over these technologies businesses are creating highly personalised experiences which both engage and exhilarate customers. It’s crucial however that they do so without violating customer trust. The majority (60%) are seeing a positive return on their investment in personalization technologies. Companies that succeed in this new “Internet of Me” will become the next generation of household names.

2. Outcome Economy: Hardware producing hard results

Intelligent hardware is bridging the last mile between the digital enterprise and the physical world. As leading enterprises come face-to-face with the Industrial Internet of Things, they are uncovering opportunities to embed hardware and sensors in their digital toolboxes and using these highly connected hardware components to give customers what they really want: not more products or services, but more meaningful outcomes.

In fact, 87% of survey respondents acknowledged a greater use of more intelligent hardware, sensors and devices on the edge of networks, leading organizations to increasingly shift from selling products or services to selling outcomes. And 84% of respondents touted a deeper level of understanding of how products are being used and outcomes customers want resulting from embedded intelligence in products. These “digital disrupters” know that getting ahead is no longer about selling things, but about selling results. This is the new “outcome economy.”

Read more: Screw the robot apocalypse, our tech future is all about doing good

3. The Platform (R)evolution: Defining ecosystems, redefining industries

Digital industry platforms and ecosystems are fueling the next wave of breakthrough innovation and disruptive growth. Increasingly, platform-based companies are capturing more of the digital economy’s opportunities for growth and profitability.

In fact, 75% of survey respondents believe the next generation of platforms will be led not by large tech companies but by industr­­y players and leaders. And nearly three-quarters (74%) are using or experimenting with industry platforms to integrate data with digital business partners. Rapid advances in cloud and mobility are not only eliminating the cost and technology barriers associated with such platforms, but opening up this new playing field to enterprises across industries and geographies. In short, platform-based ecosystems are the new plane of competition.

4. Intelligent Enterprise: Huge data + smarter systems = better business

Until now, advanced software has been geared to help employees make better and faster decisions. But with an influx of big data — and advances in processing power, data science and cognitive technology — software intelligence is helping machines make even better-informed decisions.

This is the era of software intelligence where applications and tools will take on more human-like intelligence, according to 80% of our respondents. And 78% of respondents believe software will soon be able to learn and adapt to our changing world and make decisions based on learned experiences.

Read more: Big Data is changing the future of insight: here’s how

5. Workforce Reimagined: Collaboration at the intersection of humans and machines

The push to go digital is amplifying the need for humans and machines to do more, together. The majority of survey respondent companies (57%) say they are adopting technologies that enable business users to complete tasks that previously required IT experts, such as data visualization.

Advances in natural interfaces, wearable devices and smart machines are presenting new opportunities for companies to empower their workers through technology. This will also raise new challenges in managing a collaborative workforce of people and machines.

Seventy-eight percent of the executives surveyed agree successful businesses will manage employees alongside intelligent machines—ensuring collaboration between the two. And 77%t of respondents believe that within three years, companies will need to focus on training their machines as much as they do on training their employees (e.g., using intelligent software, algorithms and machine learning). Successful businesses will recognize the benefits of human talent and intelligent technology collaborating side by side — and will embrace both as critical members of the reimagined workforce.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.