CSC today announced that a wave of disruptive technologies is reshaping industry, triggering new business models and altering consumer and employee behaviors, according to a report issued by CSC's Leading Edge Forum (LEF).
The report identifies seven "digital disruptions" that 21st century businesses must understand to position themselves for success in an emerging economy that places value predominantly in the production, enhancement and sharing of information and cultural content.
These disruptions represent the next phase in the information revolution precipitated by the launch of the Internet toward the end of the 20th century. They will stimulate the formation of new industries, extend the tremendous gains in productivity brought about by the Internet and challenge existing social, economic, political and cultural norms.
"The ‘Networked Information Economy,' to use Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler's term, will come to be defined by waves of digital disruptions that continue to reshape the way we work, the way we socialize and what we value," said Alex Fuss, LEF associate and the report's lead researcher. "The latest disruptions are powering the formation of this new economy and may be the greatest challenge to the status quo the world has ever seen, and ultimately the greatest driver of productivity."
The seven digital disruptions that will reshape business are:
- New Media: media is becoming increasingly consumer-driven, interactive, social, customized and personal. Today's consumer is a "proviewer," a source of new content and potential threat to traditional media.
- Living in a New Reality: we increasingly live in a blended reality that combines physical and virtual reality, improving both. Augmented reality helps businesses manage data centers virtually, students learn about weather patterns by "flying" through them, and consumers shop for clothes by building, and fitting, virtual selves. Social Power: social sites are becoming the starting point or hub of our cyber experience. In the enterprise, social power has revenue power, enabling businesses to quickly tap into expertise to make more informed decisions faster.
- Information Transparency: information that was once not available now is, shedding light on previously opaque people, places and things. Businesses will be able to "see" all their assets, bringing new levels of safety, efficiency and innovation. Consumers will benefit from highly tailored services such as, eventually, personalized medicine.
- New Wave of Waves: new hardware and software tools are refining our ability to control radio wave signals. Old business models, like traditional broadcast AM/FM radio, are becoming obsolete. Technologies such as software defined radio and cognitive radio are shattering the need for spectrum allocation. New opportunities and architectures are emerging, such as "viral radio," enabling infinitely scalable networks with no central backbone.
- Platform Makeover: virtualization and cloud computing are changing today's computing model, enabling anytime, anywhere accessibility for users and applications. Nanotechnology, molecular computing, quantum computing and optical computing will take us beyond silicon, providing greatly increased speed and bringing new applications, opportunities and challenges.
- Smart(er) World: technology is becoming smarter, gradually approaching and eventually overtaking human ability to appreciate the meaning of patterns, proactively associate and correlate data, reason and make decisions. The future will bring us lifelike virtual assistants, semantic Web search, enterprise applications that identify relationships across data and information technology (IT) systems that give end users the ability to define business processes. Additionally, predictive behavioral software is improving employee performance, safety and productivity, and software that senses brain wave activity is leading to improved lie detection and, eventually, to mind reading.
While these disruptions represent distinct technology developments, many of them overlap, triggering new and more powerful disruptions. Virtual worlds are the next frontier for social networks. Social networks have a strong influence on new media. Information transparency is a prerequisite for a smart(er) world. Innovations with radio waves and wireless applications enhance information transparency. New platforms will turbo-charge the other disruptions.
"Forewarned is forearmed; businesses must be aware of these disruptive technologies if they are to successfully navigate the unprecedented changes we anticipate over the next several years and beyond," said Fuss. "These disruptions will transform the marketplace and society so completely that businesses cannot afford to wait for developments to transpire. They need to dive in head first and begin experimenting with all these technologies have to offer."
The report provides in-depth analysis of each disruption, offering specific examples of how they are shaping the marketplace, and is available for free at URL http://www.csc.com/features/2008/333.shtml.
To learn more about these "digital disruptions" join the conversation with lead researcher Alex Fuss at the Digital Disruptions blog: www.csc.com/ee/lef/C20/.
Part of CSC's Office of Innovation, the Leading Edge Forum provides clients with access to a powerful knowledge base and global network of innovative thought leaders who engage technology and business executives on the current and future role of IT. Focusing on the practical use of technology, the LEF offers a CSC point of view on technology trends to help clients understand what will happen in the future and how to benefit from change.