- Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
- Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form.
I am a big fan of automation as it enables reassignment of human effort to more creative tasks. Machines however become increasingly intelligent and creative as well – now they can write music, books, poems and scientific articles. As my kids grow older and I help them navigate their educational efforts, I cannot stop wondering about the highest-impact educational path in the changing job landscape. High-quality original content such as music, books and artwork has always been highly valued. Delivery methods, however, change radically. As guys from Markscheider Kunst said, “everything in this world changes, apart from musicians’ desire to create new albums”. One has however to be very talented to devote his/her life to creation of original content. “At some point in life I realised that I didn’t have talent, but I had good taste, and good taste could also be sold”, – a phrase from one of my favourite comedies, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which I like a lot. Those who have good taste wrt original content and learn how to sell it, have good chances not to be disrupted by industrial transformation.
Then there are of course other human needs that will not go anywhere, such as food, health, housing and communication. The end-product will always maintain its value for the consumers, but creation and delivery methods are changing. Science and technology around life-cycle management, all the way from creation to decommissioning, will constantly evolve. Those who love technology should navigate wisely, look out for novel developments and combinations of those, and make sure to become experts in more than one area – so-called T-shaped, or π-shaped engineers – to increase the chances of staying relevant. And with the increasing digitalisation of industries and propagation of IoT and machine intelligence into safety-critical applications such as health and transportation, the consequences of being hacked reach the new level, making safety and security a safe bet when choosing one of the legs of you T- or π-shape.
It’s easier for us, geeks, to capture thoughts. “You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one.” Albert Einstein.
It does not take long to change people’s behaviour. Couple of years ago it became illegal to smoke inside bars and restaurants in Sweden, and smoking outside is quite often uncomfortable due to the Swedish weather. As a result of this inconvenience I barely see any smokers any more. Similarly, making it slightly more difficult to use old technology, companies like Apple can easily steer us away from cables, file systems, locally stored files, and bought content, towards wireless, cloud and rented content.
|Junior & I|
Now I’m on my way home from US. The visit to IBM was short and sweet. Really fun to see the heart of their research lab where magic happens and coolest ideas are being created by coolest people. But now that meetings are finished I realize that I caught cold, thanks to all that air conditioning. And luckily it’s US and the selection of pills to fight any disease is wide. So I search for a super-pill at Walmart and will for sure be recovered soon. Getting medication in Sweden is much more restrictive – one needs an ordination from a doctor. And our doctor is not extremely bright. Last time I visited him with my newborn Paul Jr who started to develop some rush on his skin the doctor had no clue. What he had was a lot of authority, but absolutely no clue about the reason of the skin rush. So he suggested that Junior may be intolerant to lactose. What? This does not make sense, especially since Junior never had stomach problems. And surely a mother of a small kid does not come unprepared to a doctor’s appointment in the era of big data, social networks and efficient search engines. Of course I had a number of possible diagnoses figured out that I presented to the incompetent doctor. And indeed, he liked my suggestions and prescribed the suggested medicines.
Another cool example is Car2Go – a service where you can grab and drop off a Smart car anywhere in a city, that you control from an application on your phone. And if something is not working for you – just check that application – it has the answer. The state of all the car sensors is monitored by the cloud application, and if you try to end your rental while the trunk is open or when the car is parked a forbidden area the application will complain.
And what about the stage for Eurovision Song Contest? Last years’ performance of Måns Zelmerlöw started a trend, and this year every second artist used the cool animations provided by that stage. Did they get an API for that?
And the most interesting innovations will come with cross-domain interactions. IoT breaks the verticals and allows application developers to build their services across domains, which in its turn opens up a lot of new business values. Can the mood that I choose for my hotel room stretch to the car that I rent? I have been working with connected embedded systems for many years and still I get mind-blown when I see them in practice – it’s actually happening!