Convergence of Industries and Technologies

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AgePersonalizationFountainBlue’s February 5 VIP roundtable was on the topic of Convergence of Industries and Technologies! Below are notes from the conversation. Please join us in thanking our execs for sharing their insights and to our gracious hosts at Applied Materials.

  1. There are more similarities between ostensibly disparate industries within and outside tech than we think. Being open to conversations with leaders from other sectors will help build synergies, ideas and relationships.
  2. The leaders around the table represent a wide range of industries from telephony to semiconductor, from storage to software of many ilks. Their stories reflected the emergence and evolution of tech within Silicon Valley over the last 40 years, but the greatest convergence stories were from only the last five years – an indication of how quickly things are emerging and evolving, and how ripe the opportunities are right now.
  3. Tech companies from across the valley are generally involved in many industry sectors, leveraging the business process, IT, big data and others successes from tech and serving customers across the globe, across industries with services and products. 
  4. With the consolidations in the market and the commoditization of specific hardware and networks, and the sophistication of cloud-based services such as Amazon and Google, tech companies and their leaders need to look beyond the infrastructure level for the opportunities to provide consultations, services and customizations.  
  5. Social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC, see Geoffrey Moore’s article, with credit to Malcom Grant of Cognizant for the acronym) will be an integral element to creating opportunities as technologies converge. Companies need to leverage social communication patterns of today’s customers, provide solutions which work on the preferred devices of their customers, leverage big data to better understand and even predict preferences and behaviors, and provide solutions on the cloud which keep information and data secure, safe, scalable, and reliable. 
  6. Technology will affect every industry, every sector, every company. Adoption rates may be slower for some people/companies/countries, but it’s a question of when, not whether tech will be adopted.
  7. Technology solutions in one sector are interesting opportunities for those in other sectors.
  8. Leaders who are open to change, open to adopting new technologies through development and M&A will remain leaders.
  9. There are many levels of resistance around privacy. Some people are OK sharing aggregated information and some people are very private indeed. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, expect that it’s a given that many will know what you do/what you’ve done, others will want to do something you wouldn’t approve once they have that information, and still others will try to protect you from that second class of people.
  10. Leaders, companies, governments are all struggling with that privacy and security question, working hard to get what customers want – secure and broad yet private access.

Below are some predictions for opportunities ahead.

  1. There is a tremendous opportunity to bring tech into low-tech companies and industries – from updating and automating manufacturing processes to providing rapid-prototyping and design capabilities.
  2. Tech companies could help bring aging infrastructure up-to-date, working in partnership with local, state and federal governments. 
  3. IoT opportunities will continue to explode, and everyday objects in everyday industries will be ‘intelligent’, sharing usage and location data, and also touch almost everyone.
  4. Standardizations around platforms, protocols and interfaces will evolve, and once they do, IoT opportunities will further abound.
  5. Watch especially for consumer wearables, mobile apps in all areas, including telehealth and localization.
  6. Tech companies and Biopharma and medical device companies will partner with communities of patients to develop personalized diagnostics and treatments and even cures. 
  7. Hospitals will work with tech and healthcare IT and biopharma companies to better serve the needs of the patients and the community.

In the end, it’s about leaders with the vision to see what’s next in the industry, what would better serve the customer. Choose a company and a leader you can work with and for, and do your share to shape the future. Surround yourself with others with a similar mind set.

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