It all started when suddenly some curious people began to take their photos with a digital camera instead of the tried and tested SLR camera. Or was it first the music fans who switched to mp3 instead of listening to their music on vinyl and CD?
This phenomenon should be repeated several times over the next few years: ”Early adopters” use new technologies that are smaller, simpler or cheaper than established brands. They arise in niche markets where product performance (which is weaker than the established performance) can develop well and then emerge from the niche. Suddenly, the ”new technology” overtakes the ”old technology” and finally displaces the established companies from the market. This did not only happen to the camera or the CD, even the SMS, which itself was already an innovation of the New Market, was pushed to the edge of insignificance by real-time messaging services such as WhatsApp.
Clayton M. Christensen from the Harvard Business School described this phenomenon as disruptive technologies in 1997 and established a term that still characterizes the discussion about innovation today. His ”innovator’s dilemma” describes the inability of established brands to make the right decision in critical situations: ”Doing the right thing is doing the wrong thing.”
However, the discussion has developed further: It is no longer just a matter of which new technology on the market has become obsolete. And why. Or that many an industry dinosaur has to worry about his strategy if they want to survive on the market.
Digital transformation: Opportunity through change
No, it is about much more fundamental questions. It is a question of what challenges and opportunities this change brings with it and how we meet these opportunities. It is about the question of what new mechanisms industry 4.0 is subject to. It’s about how the ”Internet of Things” is fundamentally changing our lives. Because that is already happening today! The main point is that the digital transformation will bring an incredible variety of changes. We are on the verge of the 4th industrial revolution, and the worst thing is: We have no idea how best to deal with it!
Industrial Revolution (s)
It began with the first industrial revolution about 200 years ago, when the newly invented steam engine replaced craftsmen and manufacturers. The invention of the railway enabled mankind to achieve mobility that was never imagined before. One hundred years later, electricity and assembly lines (car production at Ford!) laid the foundations for industrial mass production. In the 1970s, and not so long ago, man developed the computer, made it suitable for everyday use and made automation possible. The invention of the internet in the 1990s provided for a worldwide and multifunctional network, of course everything is digital. You are experiencing the result of this: In your hand, in front of your eyes, on your desk. Always and everywhere, actually.
There are many experts who believe that digital transformation is not the greatest revolution of all time, but only the beginning of it. The beginning of a monumental paradigm shift in which fundamentally new laws apply. Why? Because it is likely that you will shake the foundations of our economic and social life. Purchasing decisions, production processes, value-added chains, delivery processes, payment transactions and much, much more are turned upside down. But not only that: The way we live, work, interact with each other, define a community is called into question.
How do we want to live in the future?
The question that results from this: How do we want to live and work in the future? The possibilities range from dark utopias such as George Orwell’s novel in 1984 to futuristic visions on Gene Roddenberry’s Spaceship Enterprise, from scientists like Stephen Hawking to Michio Kaku.
In the coming weeks we would like to shed light on this question from many quarters. Because the topic is so incredibly versatile and in order to identify possible focal points, we are very much looking forward to ideas and suggestions for topics. Which aspect interests, fascinates or offends you most? And what will be the effects on telecommunications? I would be very pleased to exchange thoughts with you!