Posts Tagged ‘Digital Renaissance’

2014: The Year of Digital Renaissance?

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Digi Renaissance firework 2013As fireworks fill the skies tonight and 2013 comes to a close, it seems a good time to reflect on the current state of the telecoms and ICT industries, and what has changed in the last five years. Having just participated in the 2013 ITU Telecom World Conference in Bangkok, this gave me the opportunity to assess whether the Digital Renaissance that we at KeySo Global have being predicting has in fact transpired.

In 2009 the world was reeling from 12 months of global financial turbulence and anxiety levels were high. WiMAX was causing angst for U.S. carriers and the iPhone was forcing the rethinking of how Wi-Fi and cellular could effectively inter-operate. Data congestion on overloaded 3G networks designed for voice was reaching critical levels as operators adjusted to the realities of YouTube video upload and downloads. The European markets and technology suppliers were firmly in control of the industry, with Nokia the dominant handset supplier controlling 38% of the 1.1 billion phones sold that year. Apple, on the other hand, was gaining credibility and achieved a respectable 2%. ICT was the main theme of the conference as cellular held center stage with 67% market penetration, having enabled 4.6 billion people globally to have access to personal communication capability. In 2009 the prime discussion, therefore, was around internet connection and the role that mobile could play here.

graphic oneFast forward to the 2013 conference in Asia and the global economy, having experienced five years of unprecedented instability, is still in a volatile state where virtually every treasured economic rulebook has been proven ineffective in controlling a 24/7 interconnected digital world. This has been facilitated in part due to cellular penetration reaching 96% and 6.8 billon people having access to cellular – 3.5 billion of whom are in the Asia Pacific region. More significantly, the number of people now online has increased from 26% to 39%. The single biggest contributor to this has been mobile broadband access which has grown from below 10% in 2009 to 30% penetration this year. This growth is closely tied to smartphone growth as well as the availability of lower cost data packages.  In 2009 smartphonesgraphic 2 accounted for approximately 10% of handset shipments, whereas in the 3rd quarter of 2013 smartphones totaled 250 million units, over 55% of total phone shipments that quarter. The biggest loser in this dramatic shift in emphasis towards smartphones and operating systems has been Nokia, but others such as Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Sharp, Rim, HTC and Motorola have been damaged along the way, to greater or lesser degrees, by the shift to an Android world.

In conclusion, we are living in a far more connected world than we were five years ago. However, the extent to which the interconnection of this increasingly complex human digital and physical world is understood is limited and the ripple effects of these technologies on industry structures have only just started to appear. Telecoms and ICT are certainly not immune to these, as we have seen, but within the next five years we will see the boundary industries of automotive, medical, retail, utilities and manufacturing become increasingly subject to the transformative effects of the mobile internet.

Of greater interest will be the unanticipated consequences that will undoubtedly emerge from the mobile internet and Internet of Things blending with big data analytics, and the unavoidable impact this will have on digital life and behaviors. As an increasingly urbanized planet adopts these technologies to facilitate ever smarter cities, the opportunities for ICT to make a difference to societies are colossal – but the question is how to bring the people along with these changes, and instill trust in them that technology will be used for good and that ethical government will prevail? Clearly, the recent Snowden revelations on the NSA and other agencies have given everyone pause for thought.

As we enter 2014, it is clear that the Digital Renaissance is technically well underway but the structural and behavioral implications are only just beginning to emerge and, when they do surface, I suspect that the predominant challenges we face will be societal. In shaping the future of this brave new world we need to engage its citizens, understand their needs and manage the “Faustian bargain” that will be a fine balance between a surveillance state and the right to privacy. None of these challenges are unsurmountable but they are ones that will need careful monitoring, open conversations and perseverance on the part of governments, industry and citizens around the globe.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

How Networks and Components Have Forged the Growth of Mobile

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Mobility at the core of consumer electronics industry growth has been a predominant theme of 2013 International CES in Las Vegas. Keynotes given by both Verizon and Samsung emphasized that the foundation for the growth of mobile is based on two intersecting forces:  the power of the network to connect and deliver data, and the integration of components such as application processors, solid state memories and displays into ever more efficient devices.

Both Verizon and Samsung stressed the need for partnerships in order to continuously evolve the consumer experience. In the case of Verizon, they showcased how their partnerships with the NFL have created increasingly compelling and interactive sporting experiences, with Ford they have developed a more seamless driver experience via the SYNC project, and together with the healthcare industry they have blended network bandwidth, secure cloud capability and data analytics to root out fraud.

Samsung talked about their cooperative development partnership with ARM to develop the Exynos 5 Octa chip which increases performance twofold and reduces power consumption by 50%, which in turn enabled their partner Electronic Arts to develop better games, such as “Need for Speed”, for mobile devices. They showcased their solid state memory for servers that HP is using to reduce power consumption in data centers by combining 2800 servers in a single rack. This will help cut the estimated 167 billion kilowatt hours per year that the 34 million servers on the planet consume by approximately 20%. The final, and most dramatic, technology that Samsung unveiled at CES has the potential to change the reality of design for devices as we know it: their new flexible OLED display technology allows screens to be bent back and forth, and means that device size will no longer be determined by the display. With this new technology, flat surface devices made of glass could very soon be a thing of the past!

All of these keynotes were part message and branding, and part showmanship and one-upping the competition. Samsung concluded their presentation by talking about their Hope for Children Foundation that is currently working to help 2.5 million children in Africa receive technology-enabled education. They referenced their cooperation with the Clinton Foundation and then introduced President Clinton as guest speaker. In his powerful address Clinton urged the industry to embrace technology and to take a lead in helping solve global issues, such as climate change and inequality, by breaking down boundaries and creating opportunities for a better world. An inspiring close and one that shows the reality of the global Digital Renaissance we are living and experiencing.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Catalyst Technologies and their Global Impact

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

In this third blog we look at the implications of the catalyst technologies we identified in our last blog, and determine why they have become so important. In his book “What Technology Wants” Kevin Kelly identifies that “the ever thickening mix of existing technologies in a society create any supersaturated matrix charged with restless potential”. We have written extensively about the digital world which is the combination of technologies that are shaping our world and digital life which is the effect that these technologies are having on everyday life. Kelly again reinforces our perspective when he says that we as a society are “symbiotic with the technology” and that as fast as we invent technology, we change our behavior and become dependent upon it.

Instant Markets

The current global economic turmoil did not come about by accident, but is in fact a consequence of today’s society being able to instantly communicate and share information. In other words society has changed behaviors and has become increasingly dependent on converged technologies. The use of internet trading platforms, for example, with Twitter users virally sharing the latest snippet of information is compounding the application of sophisticated trading algorithms (flash trading). The fact that the U.S. is now leading the way in the deployment of 4G mobile Internet makes the realities of the 2008/2009 Wall Street collapse pale into insignificance as the next wave of technologies facilitate “anytime, anywhere, anyhow” trading and speculating based on viral information.

Controls Lag

More recently the global LIBOR banking scandal, on top of the Euro crisis, points to the fact that we as an international society are struggling to come to grips with and learn what control mechanisms will work in this volatile and real-time world. Compounding this is the problem that we have not yet come up with a common language to document the necessary global beliefs and values that are required to guide policy regulation, monitoring and correction of this 24/7 digitally trading world.

Inextricable Interdependence

The U.S. has struggled to interpret the current rapidly changing and unpredictable global situation, mainly because it finds it hard to accept the fundamental changes that have been occurring on its own soil. A recent Financial Times article identified that the U.S. is now significantly more interdependent on the global economy than it was 31 years ago, at the outset of the shift to Digital Renaissance 2.0.

At that time, in 1981, the U.S. was a relatively closed and self-sufficient economy as measured in terms of trade of goods (import/exports) as a percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product. U.S trade represented only 21% of GDP and was made up of 10% exports and 11% imports. By 2012 this had grown significantly to approximately 32% of GDP – exports accounted for 14% of this and imports 18% – putting the U.S. on a par with the global average as an open economy.

Consequently the U.S. belief in self-reliance and independence now needs to be replaced with the realization, not only in terms of stock market indices but also as an economic reality, that it is inextricably tied to the Euro crisis, the emergence of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the struggles in Africa.

Collaboration & Knowledge

The original Renaissance in Europe resulted in the disappearance of principalities and kingdoms, and ushered in the emergence of a nation state, which was followed during the industrial age with the emergence of overlapping market states. The question is how will the world evolve and will market states be the future societal organization? There are a number of theories about the organization of society going forward (Philip Bobbitt, David Ronfeldt, are two such theorists and this article compares their position with those of others). Regardless of which theory prevails, it is highly likely that in the world of Digital Renaissance 2.0 networking, collaboration and knowledge will be critical components of its underlying architecture. It also seems probable that global communities, digitally connected and potentially proactive, will coexist alongside and within hierarchical organizations, both in government and also in industry.

Ren 2.0 Man – Techno Artisan Craft Society

Digital Renaissance 2.0 was founded upon four enabling technologies and was exponentially accelerated by the catalyst technologies that released the restless potential of other technologies, such as cloud computing and Web 2.0. Ren 2.0 is now embracing a raft of emerging technologies, like NFC, voice recognition and kinetics, which are giving rise to business models not previously conceived. For instance 3-D printing is enabling designers / entrepreneurs to create new product concepts from digital files more rapidly and cost effectively than ever previously thought possible. Coupling this capability with global internet access and mobile commerce, Ren 2.0 now allows others to market this product concept globally.  Personalized products for the “market of one” are created by transmitting customized product specifications to printers anywhere on the planet and in close proximity to the consumer. To a large degree these hybrid technology and commerce systems facilitate the reincarnation of the craft society that got lost in the industrial age. These techno artisan craftsmen are in many respects the Digital Renaissance 2.0 men/women of the new digital era who are living, working and trading in global communities of trust, practice and purpose.

In prior blogs we have discussed the concept of “digital agents of change” and shown how critical this role has become in today’s digital business world. In some respects we all now need to become digital agents of change for the global society, or to use the words of Mohanda Gandhi “we must be the change we wish to see in the world”.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

What Spawned the New Digital Renaissance 2.0?

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

This article is the first of a trilogy in which we share some of the more intriguing aspects we have uncovered about digital technologies and the dynamic impact they are having on our business and personal lives. This first blog examines the unique origins of the new age Renaissance – what we call Digital Renaissance 2.0™ – and its impact on today’s global economy.

Previously, we identified the four “enabling technologies” (cell phone, PC, Internet, Walkman) that rocked the world and pointed out that they all emerged on the scene around the same time – 1981. We also pinpointed 2010 as a “year of convergence” when 3G, 4G and the Cloud all came together. It was only recently, however, that it became apparent to us that 2007 was the year that the “catalyst technologies” facilitated this convergence and, with it, the advent of the new digital age.

My colleague, Steve Benton, and I coined the expression Digital Renaissance 2.0™ (Ren 2.0™) to capture the concept that a fundamental shift is occurring in the way that information is now being accessed and shared. In the original Renaissance era, the enlightenment of Europe occurred due to the introduction of the printing press which led to the democratization of books.

During Ren 2.0™ the Internet has led to the democratization of information, now freely available to everyone – anywhere, anyhow and anytime – and as a result, the collective knowledge held by society is expanding exponentially, both actively and passively. The Internet has enabled information to become much more “transparent” as silos of data are shared between continents, countries and corporations, and on a significantly broader basis. This in turn has facilitated the global cross-pollination of ideas and concepts on a scale never seen before.

The four enabling technologies referred to above evolved rapidly and converged to facilitate the emergence of the Mobile Internet age. In our paper “Introduction to Digital Life Renaissance” (contact us to obtain a copy) we determine that this change is occurring at an unprecedented pace and show how it is touching all aspects of society, as well as governments and global economies.

The magnitude of these digital world changes in economic terms is captured in a chart we compiled that shows the global economy growing from less than $10 trillion in 1981 and accelerating to over $60 trillion by 2010. In a recent blog article in the Economist it was identified that between May 2011 and 2012 the global economy generated $65 trillion of trade (GDP), and that by September 2013 it will add a further $10 trillion to achieve a global GDP of $75 trillion.

The case can be made that global saturation of cellular and expanding penetration of mobile broadband access are primarily responsible for this rapid, worldwide distribution of information, which in turn is fueling economic growth at an unprecedented rate. Concurrently, this transformation is impacting the lives of individuals in developing and developed countries, and their awareness and expectations are growing as they become more exposed to vast amounts of new, previously inaccessible, information. As human behavioral patterns and methods of interaction change, so do their needs and requirements, which in turn are generating an abundance of new business and service opportunities.

It is our belief that the reinforcing cycle of continued innovation, based on the application of new digital technologies, is facilitating an increasingly interconnected planet which will, in turn, strengthen economic growth and favorably impact our digital lives.

Look out for our next two blogs in this series and find out exactly what the “catalyst technologies” are, what their significance is today and the powerful impact that they are going to have on our business and personal lives going forward.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

The Eve of Digital Transitions

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

In 2011 the digital world continued to evolve at an unprecedented pace as multiple developments compounded and converged on each other. Through this blog, Twitter, our Facebook page, specific reports we have written, presentations we have given, and our recently launched daily newspaper Digital Renaissance 2.0 we have attempted to weave together the digital world threads of change and share with our audience the impact these are having on the digital lives we lead.

Technologists by Osmosis

This year I have given numerous presentations reflecting our foresight into technology trends of the future. During these I’ve shared significant knowledge gained in hindsight over the last 30 years in order to give my audience the necessary insight into the impact and influence that four fundamental technologies introduced in the 1980’s have had on the world today.

The reason for doing this is that most people don’t realize the extent to which their lives have been affected by these technologies. As a very simple example, the evolution of digital recording (DVR) as a means of watching programs when you want to via TV or streaming to a computer has introduced the concept of “time shifting”. Time shifting enables you to enjoy the entertainment you want at a time that’s convenient to you. The awareness that we try to bring to our audience is that most people have become “technologists by osmosis” over the last 30 years as they have absorbed technology into every aspect of their personal lives.

Collective Movements

More significantly, we have witnessed the ability to use technology to create and support collective movements; for instance, in the early part of 2011 the world watched as the “Arab Spring” movement inEgyptchanged the course of democracy in theMiddle Eastin ways most didn’t think were possible. Equally the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in theUSwas copycatted around the world as an outrage against corporations and bankers’ excesses. These are examples of people being enabled by technology to challenge those aspects of society and politics that don’t resonate with the growing awareness of what’s right and good that the Internet and the associated openness of information have facilitated.

Double Edged Capability

The counterpoint to this was raised by several people in different sessions – the fact that technology enables people to be tracked, analyzed and targeted for advertising and promotions. It also facilitates the creation of “Big Brother” systems which not only impinge on our privacy but which enable governments or other entities to control our lives. The reality is that as we enter 2012 it’s becoming increasingly impossible to go completely “off grid”.

Global Destiny

Abusive use of technology is always a potential threat but as “Wiki leaks” has shown, the Internet and technology have also given people a mechanism to oppose abusive use of information. This capability coupled with the power of the collective, as demonstrated by Arab Spring and other smaller positive actions of collective activity, give reassurance to the ability of the global population to take charge of their own destiny.

Digital Agents of Change

As people become aware of the fact that they are “technologists by osmosis” and that they have both understood and absorbed technology into their personal lives, they can seize the opportunity to utilize this knowledge to observe, assess and determine how technology can be used to shape their community and business lives. As our eyes are opened and our curiosity becomes aroused, we see how technology can be leveraged to enhance, fulfill or simplify our lives. It is this that lies at the heart of the concept we at KeySo Global call “Digital Agents of Change”.

Engaging Change

In a previous blog we talked about the characteristics of a Digital Agent of Change, or that person who has the power to change business models from both inside and outside of the company. Over the last 12 months we have strongly advised companies to engage Digital Agents of Change as a necessity to facilitate the change and adaptation of their existing business models to the emerging requirements of digital life.

Sharing Knowledge

On the eve of 2012 I’m delighted to see indications that more and more business leaders now recognize that their businesses are being impacted by digital world technologies and digital life changes. Many, however, have little understanding of exactly what this means for their business models or how they need to be adapted. For the last two years we at KeySo Global have been researching, developing frameworks and working with leading-edge thinkers to evolve the solutions and approaches that can help you as executives – and Digital Agents of Change – to create the business models and change necessary to succeed in 2012 and beyond. We look forward to the opportunity of sharing our knowledge with you in the coming year.

To all of our clients, partners, friends and readers we wish you all a happy and abundantly successful 2012.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Is mobility a product or feature? Neither-it is an adopted way of life!

Monday, March 21st, 2011
Digital Life Renaisance

Digital Life Renaisance

You may wonder about this question – and more significantly the answer! The fact is that, unless you understand that change is occurring, you and your business are overlooking one of the most fundamental shifts occurring in the global market at this time – one that will radically reshape your industry’s business models.

We exist in an unprecedented emergent age of advancing and converging technologies. The Internet appears set to subsume consumer electronics, broadcast, wireline and wireless communications, enabling seamless “anytime anywhere” experiences.

Convergence of technology is also resulting in overlapping business models, which in turn results in blurring boundaries between traditional industries. We see convergence (and the changes in human behavior that accompany it) as an accelerating trend. Consumers, customers and enterprises are embracing this change; they are interacting and sharing knowledge and experiences with one another in new ways – and in near real-time.

At KeySo Global we have been studying the drastic changes brought about by these convergence technologies and have documented these in a research project we call “Digital Life Renaissance” or DLR.

As this convergence grows, a new capability is beginning to emerge as Internet-based cloud services collide with the 24/7, “always on”, high speed, advanced 3G and 4G wireless networks. This phenomenon is the mobile cloud and it is set to be to the Internet what cellular was to telephony; it will liberate consumers and enhance their everyday lives in ways that most of us could not have conceived a few years ago.

At the heart of the mobile cloud is the concept of online services (information & social networking updates for example) going mobile and offering “anywhere-anyhow-anytime” accessibility and availability. Increasingly, as GPS data and social networking are merging, these services will be personalized by location. As a result, consumers continue to rapidly absorb these services into their lives and adjust their behaviors accordingly. In the future, all lifestyle services will be available via the mobile cloud, addressing the mobile needs of businesses and consumers.

Markets, customers and employees of all companies are being shaped by these changes. The issue is that only a few companies recognize and are doing something about the pace and extent of the changes. At KeySo Global we recognize that traditional tools and methodologies do not adapt well to emerging Digital Life opportunities and threats, and that fresh perspectives and frames of thinking are necessary in order to create the new business and economic models required.

In order for businesses to succeed, it is imperative that a holistic, integrated and interconnected view of Digital Life is at the root of all their future enterprise strategies. Business strategies that are developed, without taking such things as mobility as a life style into consideration, will struggle to win against competition that understands how better to digitally adapt.

Based on our DLR research, we at KeySo Global have developed a process for understanding and addressing these changes utilizing unique tools that we have developed specifically for this purpose. We would be delighted to share our understanding of Digital Life with you and help you define strategies that will enable you to take advantage of these exciting new opportunities. To find out more about our research and capability, contact us at +1 847-478-1633 or visit our website at Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

Do you have the skills needed to be a Digital Life Facilitator?

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Digital Life refers to the new age of technology we currently live in and will live in for the foreseeable future. The democratization of information brought about by advancing technologies and their convergence with the Internet has created a new Renaissance age, or “Renaissance 2.0”, and with it a whole new set of opportunities for communities (both inside and outside of business) to come together to accomplish specific goals.

With the advent of these communities a brand new role has developed – that of Digital Life Facilitator. The basic skills and talents required of a traditional facilitator are the same – the ability to stimulate discussion and to guide and nurture diverse views to understanding and consensus – but the tools and approach of the Digital Life Facilitator are vastly different.

Where traditional facilitators thrive in real-world face time interactions with a group (or groups) of disparate individuals who gather to discuss, debate and explore a given set of topics, the Digital Life Facilitator has to extend this interaction into the Digital Life world.

A Digital Life Facilitator has to be a multi-tasker! Critical to their role is the ability to keep abreast of social networks, micro-blogs, blogs, discussion boards, group instant messaging, web and video conferencing, and many other channels of communication and social media. It is essential for someone in this position to reach all participants – contributors, debaters and listeners alike – while concurrently keeping interaction and discussion moving at an engaging pace and on target.

An enhanced set of human skills, as well as a talent for seeing beneath the surface of a community’s responses and contributions, is required for the Digital Life Facilitator to intuitively sense the intent of all participants. In addition, being able to monitor and modulate their levels of engagement is crucial to encouraging their contributions towards a successful outcome. Finally, capturing, nurturing and leveraging spin-off ideas and threads into incremental community critical projects will ensure a facilitator’s success in this new Digital Life.

Steve Benton
Principal Consultant

Digital life and freelancing

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Friday and Saturday look to be fascinating learning days! I have signed up to participate in the first International freelancer’s day. Not since Charles Handy wrote about the Portfolio life has something as revolutionary taken place. For 2 years I have been studying the impact of technology convergence on the digital lives of people and how boundaries and assumptions are crumbling in the wake of the relentless march of ever increasing connectedness. On Friday and Saturday I get to see and listen to people describe how to practically use the existing and emerging tools of the digital age as well as networking and collaboration skills to create a successful freelancing business.

Signup and participate in the Digital Renaissance