The rapid rise of digitalization has placed technology at the heart of how our society is run, from working to banking and even healthcare. The digital age isn’t just creating new trends in technology; it’s also impacting society.
Trend #1: Power of the individual
It’s a common opinion that the significance of people will decrease as technology advances, with some even predicting we’ll be replaced by robots in most aspects of life. I’m going to start by saying that this just isn’t true, and that people will be at the forefront of the digitalization of society. This brings me to the first society trend listed by NTT Data in its study: the power of the individual.
Businesses rely on humans for success, either to work there or to buy their goods and services. The role of individuals is more important than ever in the digital age. Social media enables companies to reach a much wider range of potential customers. However, this also increases the competition. Companies must understand what consumers want and inform them. This even branches out to hyper-personalized products that are tailored to a customer’s wishes. The power really is in the hands of the individual in the digital economy, and businesses must understand purchasing trends and behavior.
Trend #2: Decentralized collaboration
The conventional, vertical hierarchy is likely to become a thing of the past. The networked world enables higher levels of automation and replaces traditional models for numerous tasks, such as manufacturing, shopping, and transportation. So how does this all work? Basically, more devices can now be connected to the Internet in what is known as the Internet of Things. This creates a network whereby everything within this network can interact. An example of this would be a smart home that runs itself. This includes lighting, locks, appliances, and even power consumption. Humanity reaps the rewards while having to perform fewer tasks.
Alongside the Internet of Things, blockchain has an important role to play in decentralized collaboration. A prime example of this is cryptocurrency. Not that long ago, almost all payments were completed with cash or checks. Now, a huge amount of shopping is done online, some of it without official forms of currency, such as bitcoin. Blockchain technology enables payments and refunds to be completed without the need for third-party interaction – streamlining and accelerating an important everyday task.
Trend #3: The new data-driven economy
Next on NTT Data’s list of trends based on the digitalization of society is the role of data in our economy. The key is, however, to convert this data into a useful format. Real-time and predictive data have already enhanced analytics capabilities and enabled new business models. This is just the start, though. We are yet to truly unlock the potential of data, but huge leaps have been taken toward a data-driven economy. Examples of this include predicting trends in the stock market, election results, and even how fashion will change.
Gathered information is also changing transportation. Even a couple of decades ago, the idea of autonomous vehicles seemed like a distant and possibly unrealistic concept. Data is now making this a reality. Analysis of real-time location and traffic data has led to the introduction of autonomous cars on our roads. How long until these become the standard? Simply put, data is the most important resource of our time and is going to be the catalyst for revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our society.
Trend #4: Physical digital convergence
The last trend is physical digital convergence. This is the fusion of the digital and physical world – a vital step for the digitalization of society. But what does this entail? Coexisting with artificial intelligence (AI) is key to achieving this step, and it has already begun. AI-enabled devices are already in millions of homes around the world. Examples include virtual assistants on smartphones and smart speaker interfaces. The quality of AI will only improve, though, meaning we could even automate all shopping orders with a digital assistant in the future, thus simplifying aspects of everyday life.
Our interaction with other people may also change. Once AI becomes more advanced, it is likely that customer service centers will be automated. We will also probably see a change to typical user interfaces. Will the conventional computer be replaced with more efficient tools and interfaces that only require voice commands? It’s completely possible. The convergence of the physical and digital world is likely to accelerate many features of human activity.
And that’s the rundown of NTT Data’s trends for the digitalization of society. The rise of digitalization is only going to change how our society works more as technology becomes more sophisticated. What will we be talking about in a year’s time? We’ll have to wait and see.
This article originally appeared on itelligence.com and is republished by permission. itelligence is an SAP platinum partner.