Technology touches us all – in every aspect of our life. Our digital lives have been transformed in the past ten years. Computers have digital representations of our personal and work lives embedded in our emails and documents, cellphones connect us instantaneously with family and friends, and websites assist us in the search for information and to complete transactions. Technological change continues to accelerate, providing the visionaries with an opportunity for that little extra competitive advantage which can make all the difference between market leaders and the also-rans.
As we look at the various technology trends, it is important to understand the underlying forces of change and their evolution in the years to come. This is how new opportunities and business are created. Entrepreneurs need to make bets not on today, but the world of tomorrow. Since change is happening across many dimensions, it is also important to get a wholistic view of the world around us.
In addition, there is a need to develop a perspective that centres around emerging markets. These are the next big growth markets and need solutions which are likely to be different from the developed market. Increasingly, many of the worlds largest technology companies are looking to create specific emerging market groups and solutions. The developed world has seen computing and communications evolve through many sequential revolutions: personal computers, local area networks, client-server computing, enterprise software, Internet, mobile phones and broadband. In emerging markets like India, all these revolutions are taking place in parallel. What happened in the developed markets over two decades is being compressed in the emerging markets in a few years. This means that more than just technology innovation, there is a need for agility, speed and localisation to tap into the opportunities by technologys newest customers.
To put this context, take a look at India and the changes that are underway. Cellphone adoption is growing and the phone is morphing from just a voice device to both a possible alternative to a computer and is becoming a fashion statement. Computers are becoming a wee bit more affordable with the likes of AMD and VIA making inroads with cheaper processor. Broadband is starting to become available at reasonable price points. Open-source software creates an alternative to piracy and non-consumption. Internet e-commerce is starting to pick up with services like train ticket booking which remove a pain point in daily lives. As India develops, there is an opportunity to catalyse this change and capitalise on the millions of small businesses and hundreds of millions of people in rural India who will get integrated into the digital value chains.
Technology is no longer a decision to be just made by the elite or IT managers. It is increasingly going to get embedded in multiple aspects of our lives. It is a weapon that needs to be leveraged by top management not just in the marketplace, but also across the extended enterprise. In this context, it is helpful to step back and take a look at ten key technology trends that we are seeing around us and understand their impact for our personal and business lives. For each trend, we will also look at its impact and opportunities in the Indian context.