Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You Say You Want a Revolution?

By Mike Smith
Director of Strategy
Sprint Business

Most people alive today have lived through, and benefited from, three technology revolutions. And we’re just getting started on a fourth one.

The way I see it, the first one was the Digital Revolution, which essentially started with the proliferation of personal computing in the 1980s. You could argue that it started earlier than that, with some of the first computers in the 1960s, but let’s be realistic; it really didn’t crank up until the 80s. This revolution essentially began the process of digitizing the “real world” as data that could be captured, processed, manipulated, and reproduced –  increasingly efficiently.

Which was followed by the Internet Revolution, starting in the 1990s, which began the massive shift in which content could be easily accessed, shared, and moved across traditional physical and organizational boundaries.

And then there was the Mobility Revolution, which also started in the 1990s and skyrocketed soon after that. It has enabled virtually all people, things, and content to be connected all the time and everywhere.

The impact of these three revolutions on our lives, both at home and at the office, has been fantastic. We are now vastly more productive, both personally and professionally. We could no more turn back the technology clock 35 years than we could stop the universe from expanding; the resulting jolt would probably be similar in each case.

We are now embarking on the fourth phase, the Intelligence Revolution. This shift will enhance knowledge, well-being, and happiness thanks to the correlation and analysis of data from the intersection of people, things, and content.

How? Well, it will inter-relate data from individuals, from machines and sensors, and content across the three key segments that the Internet has evolved into: the Content Web, the Internet of Things, and the Personal Web. With everything digitized, it can move freely across all three of these sub-Internets.

Each individual today, whether at work or off the clock, has become a data factory. Our device creates data to move and store from traditional voice calls, from texts, website visits, searches, apps, social networking, photos, music, scanned items, and location and presence information.

Strap on a fitness watch or a medical monitor of some kind, and then that individual generates data reflecting his or her heart rate, skin temperature, perspiration levels, sleep or activity times, and walking pace.

Add a Google Glass, and you’ve just added image, sound, video, and facial recognition data.

That’s one person. Then you’ve got all those Things connected through the Internet of Things, generating massive amounts of data. As a point of reference, a single engine on a single Boeing jet generates 10 terabytes of information every 30 minutes of flight, according to Stephen Brobst, CTO of Teradata. Big data analytics has clearly arrived just at the right moment.

There is no better time than right now to start asking the tough questions about your business. Like the existential question of why is your company here? What is its purpose, how do you create customer value, and how can data enable that? And once you have answers to those questions, you can move on to how to invest in technology, and in the skilled people – most likely data scientists, who are already in short supply – who can leverage the data you generate and obtain to benefit your company and your customers.

To learn more, visit sprint.com/officefuel.

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