Changing sectors at the Edge

Changing sectors at the Edge

Changing sectors at the Edge

Published on November 8, 2019

David Smith
Chief Executive of Global Futures and Foresight, Futurist, Strategist and Keynote Speaker

The coming volume of data will have a range of impacts. It will challenge current tech models and architectures – by 2025, nearly 30 percent of data generated will be real-time[i] and more than 50 percent of data is forecast to be managed autonomously[ii]. It will also force industries to collide, whether through new data models, third party data arbitrage or even more direct partnerships and collaborations.

The edge could also reshape what it is that industries do. Take insurance, for example; at present the industry adheres to its higher purpose of ‘protection,’ by compensating after loss and allowing people to take on risk that is otherwise too large. Edge powered IoT devices will likely shift the nature of the insurance industry from ‘compensation,’ to ‘prevention,’ and in doing so draw new players into the space. If insurers do not use their natural comparative advantage of rigour and distribution to help distinguish such a strategy, the space is likely to be explored by utilities and even big tech companies with footholds in the smart home environment. 

It is not the only industry likely to undergo profound change in purpose or practice thanks to the edge. As-a-service models, exemplified by Rolls Royce selling outcomes as opposed to engines to a range of aviation customers, is likely to spread into whole new sectors once data regarding the use of a whole range of objects becomes made available in real time. Retailers, for example, could move beyond just providing augmented reality mirrors, to providing a personalised selection for customers to peruse based on real-time, contextual information. Fast, better, real time data could also enable financial services to in-built into products and services or offered in an on-demand basis, while logistics could decentralize into P2P type services.

Healthcare, like insurance could also move into a more preventative realm, with real-time recommendations and feedback likely shifting elements of the industry into a life-coach role. How this could interplay with others – from insurers to sportswear manufacturers – will likely spread the opportunities and challenges of such changes way beyond the confines of traditional industry barriers.

This will render traditional planning obsolete – today’s strengths can rapidly morph into irrelevance once the rules of the game are changed. The edge, combined with 5G, will force every organisation to reaffirm and perhaps redress the question of just what business they are in and what it is they do to achieve their higher purpose. Mental models, the nature of competition, talent requirements and the competencies needed to play in future spaces will all change.

[i] Source: ZDNet, 2018

[ii] Source: Oracle, 2019

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