In the blink of an eye, technology is moving forward at an ever increasing rate.
From theory to concept, from the first Turing-complete digital computer in 1946, to that reprogrammed to look for the answer in “a large class of numerical problems”.
Whichever way you look at it, technology has helped us focus outside of our own planet to the moon and beyond. It has come so far in the blink of an eye, arguably with more evidence in support of a theory that it is now outstripping even this minute and rapid movement.
As wires have been replaced by fibre and data consumption has exploded, over the last decade things have got smaller, things have got cheaper, things have got faster and consumers have become more demanding, less forgiving and a little less loyal. Business have had to respond in order to survive.
Celebrating ten years in this fluid and unpredictable marketplace, the Piran Partners’ team has taken a look at the impact of the last decade and the absolute requirement for businesses to leap the chasm and adapt to survive the next ten.
Technologies that were considered forward-thinking – often rewarded with long term contracts – are now disappearing. Their replacements are faster, more effective and more easily deployed.
There is no doubt that cheap computing, cheap cloud storage and ubiquitous connectivity means, quite simply, that the rule book has been torn up with the rise of over-the-top services and the new internet superstars with their multi-leaf cheque-books (themselves a thing of the past) to match.
Witness the disappearance of Motorola, the Nokia handset division, Alcatel-Lucent, Cable & Wireless and others, ongoing mobile operator consolidation and freemium pricing models. Multi-billions of investment, revenues and thousands of employees, overtaken and out-thought by nimbler competitors.
Who owns the customer?
With the pace of technological change accelerating, and with digital natives leading this transformation, our tech-culture has become an open source mash-up, and perhaps even more interestingly, has led to a visible power shift in terms of “who owns the customer?”
Unlike a decade ago, you can now own this relationship without actually owning the infrastructure. Throw in software app development, plus a service wrap, and getting to market has never been easier.
Alongside well reported declines in the high street and ownership of physical media – because of the public’s changing consumption habits – mobile and telecoms has also seen as big a shift, with the power traditionally held by these networks declining year-on-year.
The market for voice minutes has been waning steadily for a number of years. And now, with the growth of data-hungry applications, the same is taking place in the mobile market, with operators being squeezed and hemmed in by net-neutrality rules, regulated roaming and termination rates and data-hungry applications.
Device manufacturers are increasingly dictating the customer relationship. Witness Apple with its eco-system of iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iWatch, iWin) – plus Samsung, Xiaomi and others – and the likes of Vodafone, Telefonica, AT&T or T-Mobile increasingly playing second fiddle as data carriers.
Networks take heed. Sectors take heed. The advice is clear, evolve or die.
Live by the customer, die by the customer
Banking and payments is one such rapidly evolving market, coerced by tech advances.
When was the last time you walked into a bank, walked in off the street, choosing to speak to someone behind a counter? Weeks, months, years perhaps? Peer-to-peer lending, mobile payments and the mobile wallet are driving our banking interactions and are now forcing an evolution of the relationships we have within other sectors, transport being a key example – all hail the rise of contactless payment.
With the public now having had access to the internet for more than two decades, most people under the age of 40 will never have experienced social or working life without it. A direct result is that younger consumers come to the market with different, higher expectations. Technology is changing alongside the consumption habits of the gadget and data-hungry Millennials.
In the next decade mobile will come to dominate and be all pervasive: whether for work, shopping, socialising, banking, travelling and even occasionally speaking. No business can afford to ignore this. The last ten years saw the rise of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), now it’s the turn of the Chief Mobile Officer.
Just over 50% of the world’s 7bn people have a mobile today (GSMA unique mobile subscribers) – by 2025 how many will remain unconnected despite the world’s population growing by another 1bn? Blink and you might miss it.