Surfers catch waves by paddling towards the shore. Their timing matched to the speed of the wave, they make their move from prone to upright and ride the crest of the wave with their board just ahead of the breaking water. Jumping on a wave too early leads nowhere and jumping on too late can cause a wipeout.
Similarly, when timed perfectly, catching the momentum associated with emerging technologies can generate amazing opportunities for both new and existing companies. But allowing an important new technology to peak without adopting a strategy to embrace and capitalize on it can result in being outpaced by competition, losing revenue opportunities, or even business failure. The challenge is in differentiating between unrealistic hype and important technology trends.
As an example, the digital media revolution has created its share of winners and losers in both new and existing organizations. Companies like Netflix, Hulu and Zynga found their niche and rode the wave from small upstart to entertainment industry leader. Historic powerhouse media companies like Yahoo and Apple invested heavily in paid content distribution and reaped the rewards of well-timed adoption.
When evaluating emerging technologies, it’s helpful to understand them in the context of the typical technology life cycle below:
- Research & Development
- Early Adoption or Abandonment
- Maturity/Mainstream (Peak Interest)
- Decline and/or Replacement
Keeping a close eye on market trends and monitoring those technologies that move beyond the Concept and R&D phase and into the Early Adoption phase is likely to produce the strongest opportunity with acceptable risk. When evaluating the impact the proposed technology will have on existing business, companies should be asking themselves the following questions:
- Will the technology enhance or threaten our market share?
- Does the technology create new competition?
- Has the technology moved beyond the hype and into the mainstream?
While looking back can help companies understand the impact past technology innovations have had on their industry and competition, looking forward and constantly evaluating emerging technologies is an essential part of staying relevant. Some trends to watch in the coming years that are likely to have major impact across industries include:
- The Internet of Things
- Big Data & Predictive Analytics
- Robotic Automation & Artificial Intelligence
It is likely that some, if not all, of these technologies will drive new markets, create new opportunities, and ultimately decide the winners and losers across multiple industries.
John Collins | Senior Consultant | TayganPoint Consulting Group | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanuj Pandey | Consultant | TayganPoint Consulting Group | email@example.com
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