My latest presentation is apparently a polemic.
That’s what my colleague said yesterday, when I said that my new presentation has three themes:
- Mobile is irrelevant;
- Money is meaningless; and
- Capitalism is dead.
I wondered what she meant by polemic, so checked out the definitions online and Wikipedia defines it quite well: a polemic is “a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific belief and the falsity of the contrary belief. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about very controversial topics.”
I also found another definition I prefer from Merriam-Webster which is that a polemic is “an aggressive controversialist”.
So why am I presenting these themes, and how can I justify such radical statements?
If you read the blog regularly you will already know the answer, but if you haven’t caught my latest drift then here is the first of three parts discussing the new truth of technology, money and capitalism.
First, mobile is irrelevant.
Surprisingly, everyone thinks mobile is the hot space today, which it is. But it won’t be in the future. Very rapidly, the device focused dialogue will move on to the internet of things as everything gets intel inside.
This is the major disruption on the technology landscape I talked about in my 2013 outlook, and here are the facts:
- The volume of internet traffic doubles every 18 months and is currently running at around two zetabytes, which is a trillion gigabytes, and most of it is video
- The actual size of the internet doubles every 5.32 years
- By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet, compared with 17 billion today
- By 2020, there will be 6.58 devices per person using the internet, compared with 2.5 today
- Nanotech is already here, with computers and cameras at sub-1mm sizes
- Over 100,000 telephone masts are being built every year
- The number of wifi units shipped has quadrupled in the last five years
- Under IPv6, everyone on the planet can have up to 52 thousand trillion trillion web addresses
Well, this year’s CES showed it well and so, rather than rewriting TIME’s article that articulated the outcome well, there’s what TIME Magazine reported about the show:
Two things stood out to me as major themes at CES this year.
The Internet of Things on Display
We have talked about the concept of the Internet of Things for several years now. The Internet of Things is the idea that the vast majority of our electronics will be connected to the Internet and/or other nearby devices.
A refrigerator, for example, may have a touch screen on the door and be connected to the Internet, allowing you to remotely access information — things like inventory, temperature, whether or not you have what you need to make a certain recipe. Another example is the Nest thermostat, which is a connected thermostat that allows you to remotely manage your thermostat from your smartphone, tablet or PC. The high-level view of the Internet of Things is a world where nearly every electronic device we own will be connected to something.
In years past, this idea was just an idea — something we said was coming. This year, however, was the first year when I could actually say the Internet of Things was on display. I saw examples of nearly every type of electronics device — from coffee makers, ovens, fridges, cars, clocks, stereos, exercise equipment, and my personal favorite: an LED lightbulb with a wireless speaker built in. All of these devices were connected to the Internet and allowed you to interact with them, store data, access data and more. This was the first year I could see the Internet of Things becoming reality, and it is very exciting for us industry observers.
I’m half-joking but I can’t wait for the year when we see a connected toilet and companion app.
Hardware with Software Accessories
The reality of the Internet of Things coming to fruition brings with it perhaps one of the most interesting developments: the role of software. What become increasingly evident with all the connected devices I saw and played with at CES was that nearly all of them were made significantly more usable and valuable through the use of companion apps for smartphones or tablets.
Some I have spoken with position devices such as connected watches or even the Nest thermostat as accessories to your smartphone. The logic is that because your smartphone is the terminal that all these devices leverage to really make them smart, then the phone must have the more important role. This is true to some degree, because there is no point of having all these connected devices if the experiences are limited to the hardware itself. However, I would still position the hardware as the stand-alone device adding value, while the app on your smartphone is actually the accessory.
At CES, this hardware-software model was on full display in the area of smart health and personal sensors. I wrote a column on this subject last year, and I believe the smart health industry is about to launch into the stratosphere if this year’s CES was any indication. On the show floor, the pavilion for the smart/connected health area was the biggest I have ever seen it: Several dozen vendors were there showing off the latest in smart health. Every single smart health and body sensor product I got a demo of or gathered info on had a companion app that ran on a smartphone, making the hardware more than just hardware.
This is the world we are headed toward. Because of the unrivaled momentum and rapid worldwide adoption of devices like smartphones and tablets, we have smart devices with us at all times. They perfectly function as the platform to drive the interaction with the hardware around us.
All hardware will be made smarter through not just the use of connected chipsets and next-generation parts, but rather through the applications that add to their value.
The net:net (or internet:net) of all of this is that banks and all firms will soon be focused upon wireless transaction processing through the net.
In other words rather than mobile payments and mobile banking., we should be talking about wireless payments and wireless banking.
Tomorrow's blog will talk a little bit more about why money is (still) meaningless.
This is part one of a three part series:
- Part One: Mobile is not important;
- Part Two: Money is meaningless; and
- Part Three: Capitalism is Dead