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Convergence? You ain't seen nothing yet

Convergence? You ain't seen nothing yet

"The journey to visionary innovation begins by understanding new areas of convergence," says research firm Frost & Sullivan. It claims to have identified four types of convergence—products, technologies, industries and competition—and says: "An integral factor for growth for companies is to understand the landscape of new convergence areas and subsequent opportunities that could be generated in the future."

The F&S press release announcing these insights goes on to give some examples of these new convergences. "Intelligent mobility platforms and services, for example will need integration of players from transport, banking, mobile phone/telecom, financial to converge and form a singular intelligent solution for cities."

Archana Amarnath, global director, of F&S's Visionary Innovation Group, is quoted saying: "A lot of this convergence will be driven by connectivity. Key aspects such as proliferation of connected devices, smart city solutions, and social factors would also drive convergence. Social trends, like aging societies for example, would demand specific solutions around assisted living."

The elephant in the room here is something not specifically mentioned in F&S's press release: it is the Internet of Things. A growing area of IT that some industry figures are tipping to become a major future disrupter.

David Mann, Accenture Australia’s strategy lead, was reported recently saying “The Internet of Things is going to shake a lot of things up in a very different way than the Internet did, which was about information and the ability use information. The Internet was important, but it did not tap into the real fabric of how businesses work and operate in the same way that the Internet of Things will."

Sachin Mittal, vice president, Equity Research with DBS, argues that smartphone and Internet-driven disruption represent just the first phase. "The second wave of disruption – that of big data analytics – has just begun and will have far-reaching implications over the next few years. The Internet of Things is the third wave of the digital disruption. We are not quite there yet, but when in full swing, this may be the most disruptive wave of all."

Mann suggests that IoT-driven disruption will, in part, result from IoT requiring new levels of collaboration and communication between organisations that have in the past had little need of close interaction.

F&S says something similar. "Connectivity and convergence will have a massive impact on business, society and personal lives. ... The future of all industries [will] be defined by the impact and adoption of connectivity. As connectivity continues to drive convergence, companies [will] need to identify those adjacent, periphery products and services that could be added as a part of their portfolio in the future. This [will] define new solutions, new customers and even new partnerships and competition."

In short, everything will change, and probably in ways that we cannot yet fully appreciate. Get ready to ride the wave, or be swamped by it!