The Connected Planet and the Future of Business

September 11, 2015
We are living in an entirely new world that is being created in this minute, by the global connectivity of mobile and digital networks. Connectivity is the new asset class. Connectivity to customers, networks, markets, suppliers, producers and employees is a game-changing strategy for businesses and nations. Embrace it and win.

Welcome to the Connected Planet and the future of business.

Smart leaders who are agile and fast to adapt, will use connectivity to transform their business models. The connectivity impact on health care, education, commerce, finance, manufacturing and media will be huge. Business leaders that embrace the Connected Planet trend will be the winners in this fast emerging future. Connectivity will become a competitive advantage of individuals, companies and nations. Innovating to embrace this future will pay off handsomely. Resistance is futile.

Last week I was working in Cartagena, Colombia advising government and industry on the future of smart cities. The leaders of Colombia, as in all nations, are concerned about the carrying capacity of their cities, to meet the needs of their citizens as more of them move into cities. This is the case throughout the world which is straining cities to keep up with increasingly larger urban populations. Smart cities should be designed to embrace digital technologies to improve the effectiveness of health care, education, security, transportation, commerce and jobs. Every city must become smarter in how it uses its digital technology to plan for the future. If not they many cities will not be able to manage a sustainable future.

Huge challenges are coming in Colombia and in every nation, as populations surge into cities. Will cities be able to ready for this future? I advised my Colombian friends that planning today for the future of cities, by harnessing the connectivity of networks, seeing data as a currency, building systems where digital connectivity such as sensors and mobile networks can help predict demand and deliver services is a smart way to plan for the future.

I feel the same way about my enterprise clients who are limited often by legacy thinking and miss innovation opportunities because they cannot see the Connected Planet trend playing out. I am on a mission to help them see this future and to prepare them for being a game-changer in this emerging future. Digital connectivity technologies that level the playing field cut both ways, enabling disruptors to enter new markets and frustrate existing players to adapt fast.

Understanding the connectivity of event data, finding the links, analyzing the patterns, becoming predictive, is vital to harnessing the resources of the Connected Planet. We must all learn to understand how digital connectivity can be used in business to interpret the stories that data tell us. Identifying big data patterns helps point the way. Connectivity as a shaper of the future economy has emerged as a clear signal in my forecasts.

There will those that learn from the connectivity data about insights that will lead to fundamental new business ideas that may delight customers. Uber's delivering ice cream and package delivery. Amazon's planning on using drones. Apple's TV. Google's medical data company seeks to change health care. Coinbase leverages the Bitcoin and the block chain. Facebook forges ahead with virtual reality. Samsung breaks into retail. Connectivity will open new markets and disrupt others. Are you ready for the Connected Planet?

The forecast that keeps on surfacing larger and deeper is what's driving the Connected Planet. The convergence of data points brought by economic, tech, health care, demographic and lifestyle jump off the screen at me. Over 8 billion of Internet of Things and M2M, machines connected to machines is not the future but today. Artificial intelligence accounts for 80% of the stock market trading worldwide today. Over 60% of global trade and supply chains are connected increasingly to real-time sensor and financial systems today.

One marker of the Connected Planet is about the mobile economy. Mobile technology generated almost 3.8% of Global GDP or $3 Trillion US in 2014 of economic value across 236 nations. This is forecasted to grow to 4.2% of global GDP by 2020 according to the GSMA, an industry group. This is one data point of a much larger more comprehensive trend--how business and government must be transformed by digital technology that connects people, machines, markets, economies, communications and media in fundamentally new ways to take advantage of this connectivity.

The power of the Connected Planet is coming fast. When you hear more about cloud computing, analytics, big data, mobile and apps, this is not about technology but really about the fundamental business models that are changing our cities, businesses and our world. We need to harness the connectivity innovations that can deliver value. Lots of room for experiments here.

The bottom line is that the interconnectedness of markets, currencies, trade, supply chains and economies is creating more meaning, data usage, transparency and an ability to become predictive. Being predictive will lead to anticipating the needs of customers and citizens. Connectivity may offer new advantages then at any other time in the history of our civilization.

Answer these following questions and you may find you have a new business model, strategy, new product or service that may benefit from the Connected Planet. Be careful, you may be disrupting yourself by answering these questions. Then again. You maybe waiting to become a Game-Changer of the Future.

How does connectivity create new business or career opportunities for you? How might you capitalize on connectivity-as-a-business model to start up a new venture? Is there a disruptive new idea you have to transform your career or business? How might connectivity bring new markets and customers closer because now you can get access? How might you leverage the connectivity of supply chains and producers to make something new or achieve an innovation? How can you leverage connectivity as a game changing innovation? What do you want to change that connectivity might enable?

Being a game-changer of the future, to disrupt and change an event, problem or to introduce the new requires many things. The capacity to think different about the business of connectivity as an innovation, may become a powerful empowerment strategy. Consider that by 2020 there will be over 80% of the planet's population that will be connected by mobile phone networks, services and business that is connected by mobile solutions. Consider what new solutions to health care, education, globalization, prosperity and commerce might come.

If you have a game-changing idea that capitalizes on the Connected Planet trend share it with us. Game-changers of the future unite.

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