This decade has always promised to be interesting, if not exciting for those of us following technology trends and building scenarios that could develop based on their integration, specifically enabled by digitalisation.
Digital innovation seems to be presented in an intuitive simplified way making acceptance and use high. We see adoption across the spectrum of consumers whether young or old.
Engaging with digital data on mobile devices that mesh audio, video, and text-based content have profoundly impacted society. Questions related to privacy, security, information ownership, and information expiry have all been debated. Now there is a realisation that cloud-based software and services providers own the data. With their in-memory analytical processing capabilities, these providers are able to dissect and correlate data in a way that was unthinkable a few years ago.
Analytics and up-selling are interwoven into digital engagement and influence purchase behaviour. It has become the norm to ‘like’ something online, indicating a preference and adding to the societal pool of information or product acceptance, enabling automated content suggestion to influence the purchase decision.
This not only opens opportunities and increases expectations of individuals, as product marketing can be done to the individual market segment, but also impacts how individuals see themselves and their roles in contributing to society. It is said that, in general, the online persona is more than 50 percent aspiration and therefore largely fabricated, susceptible to influence and to creating a society that loses sight of true individuality.
Potentially disruptive digital technology meshing could come from embedded sensors, loosely termed the ‘internet of things’. For example, this could create opportunities for up-selling to connect more ‘things’ with sensors providing predictive analytics to identify failures before they occur. Here we see artificial intelligence, sensors, and big data analytics being combined into a new business model.
Unfortunately the digital experience in South Africa lags more developed countries mainly due to inconsistent network service provision with the cellular providers seeming to focus on voice at the expense of high access data provision. The lack of the latter influences the desire to engage with the medium.
Public Wi-Fi seems to be on the increase but still offers inconsistent performance for content consumption. The world of information can be accessed from a mobile device, with adoption and use enabling a myriad of services, but is being stymied by our poorly performing infrastructures and the lack of urgency to get it more generally accessible.
Competition between the mobile operators will significantly influence what happens next in the local digital landscape. Just look at the recent debates around mobile termination rates to appreciate the importance these operators play in all our digital experiences.
This decade is going to be one of disruption, by the end of which significant changes would have taken place. It is going to be one of the most exciting times to be in technology and to be a CIO leading the digital strategy. Opportunities are only limited by our own creativity. A good start will be in the digital business strategy.