We’re heading a future that brings more change in almost every aspect of our life, faster than ever before. Technology dematerializes more than we can imagine in the upcoming years. This change is massive and often disruptive.
Dealing every day with innovative business topics, I hear people talking about digital transformation. Sometimes I stumble on my own thoughts.
Is it just a hype?
Is it just another bullshit bingo?
I get the impression that everyone who wants to be recognized as innovative, have to use words like digital disruption, digital transformation or Internet of Things. By checking the content, you often enough find nothing new, nothing sensational, nothing unexpected.
But don’t get it wrong, just because more and more people are talking about a topic to surf an innovation wave with „not new“ content, doesn’t mean there isn’t a wave. I see quite a few people and organizations who are connecting the dots and figuring out what’s ahead of us. Looking even closer you’ll see clear prove points that the world is changing massively. You could argue, it all the time did and you are right. But this time, the pace is astonishing.
Just think about the way we communicate today, compared to 15 years ago. You already see autonomous cars driving on real roads. Google alone drove one million miles between October 2016 and May 2017. The best selling article on the most recent amazon prime day was the amazon echo. The International Energy Agency says the electric vehicle market grow by 60% in 2016. Instagram doubled his monthly actives to 700million in just two years. Check this article (https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/26/instagram-700-million-users/) to get more details, on their growth curve.
Did you recognize that technology is dematerializing everything?
Let’s take a clock as example. It started with a sundial (3000 bc), followed by a water clock (1500 bc) and fire clocks or sand glasses to measure a certain timeframe. The greek invented the first clock using water and gear wheels around 300 bc. The first mechanical clocks have been invented in Europe around 1300. In the 17th century the first pocket watch came up. It took another 400 years to develop the first crystal clock followed by the atomic clock. The development of the crystal watch and establishing one at every train station was the end of regional local time.
In the following new technology enabled the creation of a watch so small that it can be worn on a wrist. Further technology improvements enabled a mass market manufactoring. In 1970 the first digital clocks for households became available. The „coordinated universal time“ was first introduced by 1972.
At the beginning of the 21st century, you probably got more and more rid of your wrist watch and replaced it by your mobile. The clock was finally dematerialized by software available for mass markets, highly adopted and free of charge.
In the last few years you see the rise of smart watches, but seriously spoken the intent to buy a smart watch is pretty seldom driven by the need to own a nice looking watch giving you the time.
It’s more a fully fledged computer on your wrist, what leads to another ongoing dematerialization. Currently you see more and more compute power becoming available in the cloud, so the dematerialization of PCs and servers, is on it’s way.
Other examples for dematerialization are music CDs today being replaced by online streaming services, or USB sticks being replaced by cloud based storage.
Do you have more examples of dematerialization? What is next to become dematerialized?